½ cup your favorite hot sauce, plus more for serving
½ cup smoked paprika, divided
½ cup Cajun seasoning, homemade or store-bought, divided
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
Vegetable oil, for frying
Sliced scallions, for garnish (optional)
1. Put the chicken pieces in a large pot and pour the sweet tea over them. The chicken
pieces should be completely submerged; if not, add more tea. Add the salt and herb sprigs
and cover the pot. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
2. Remove the chicken pieces from the pot (discard the brining liquid) and put them in a
large bowl. Pour the milk and hot sauce over them. Add ¼ cup of the smoked paprika and
¼ cup of the Cajun seasoning and turn the pieces over to evenly coat.
3. In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, remaining ¼ cup smoked paprika,
remaining ¼ cup Cajun seasoning, dried rosemary, dried thyme, crushed red pepper,
garlic powder, and onion powder.
4. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Working with one or two pieces at a time,
remove the chicken from the milk mixture and dredge in the seasoned flour. Place the
breaded chicken on the rack and allow to rest for 5–10 minutes.
5. In the meantime, pour vegetable oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pan or cast-iron skillet
to no more than halfway up the side. Prop or clip in a deep-fry thermometer so that the
bulb is submerged in the oil. Heat over medium-high heat until the thermometer registers
350 degrees F. (Alternatively, you can use a deep fryer.)
6. Working in batches to not crowd the pan, gently submerge some of the chicken pieces in
the hot oil. Fry for 7–10 minutes per side until the breading is golden brown and a
thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 165 degrees F. Continue
until all the chicken is fried.
7. Drizzle with additional hot sauce and garnish with sliced scallions, if you like.