1 (5-pound) whole fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces or boneless chicken breast 
4 cups water
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
6 lemons, halved
6 cloves garlic, smashed
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh thyme
4 cups ice
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs

Peanut, canola, or vegetable oil for frying

1. If chicken breasts are large, cut them in half. In a large pot, combine 4 cups water, salt, sugar, lemons, garlic, bay leaves, pepper, and thyme for brine. Bring to a boil, and remove from heat. Add ice, and let cool completely.
2. Add chicken pieces to brine, and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Remove chicken from brine, and pat dry with paper towels.
3. Preheat oven to 350°
4. In a large shallow dish, stir together flour, garlic salt, onion powder, and pepper for breading. In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk and eggs.
5. Heat a large cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Fill about halfway with peanut oil; heat to 360° on a deep-frying thermometer.
6. Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, then dip in buttermilk and dredge in flour mixture again. Coat and fry larger pieces first so they can continue to cook in the oven. Lower chicken into oil, and fry in batches until brown and crisp, approximately 6 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet with a cooling rack set over it, and place in the oven to continue cooking. Chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of breasts registers 165°, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.


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