Sweet Tea Fried Chicken
Bring 1 quart water to a boil and turn off the heat. Steep tea bags for 5 minutes and remove. While the tea is still hot stir in sugar and salt until thoroughly and allow to cool.
Place chicken in a plastic or glass dish and cover with the sweet tea brine. Lid or wrap tightly and place in the refrigerator for 8- hours. Rinse off the chicken and dish. Return the chicken to the dish and cover it with buttermilk. Let it rest covered in the refrigerator for another 8- hours. Remove the chicken and drain it on a wire rack.
While the chicken is draining place the lard or shortening butter celery and bacon pieces in a wide heavy stockpot and cook over low heat for 30-45 minutes until the butter stops foaming. Skim throughout as needed. Carefully discard celery remove bacon pieces and set aside for another .
Crush pita chips in a food processor or by running a rolling pin over a zipped plastic baggie.
Thoroughly mix together chips and cornstarch in a bowl and dredge the drained chicken pieces until all surfaces are covered. Lightly pat to set the coating and tap off excess flour.
Raise fat temperature to 360 F and carefully place several chicken pieces in the fat skin-side down taking care not to let them touch. Work in batches if necessary. Allow fat to return to 360 F between batches.
Fry for 8-10 minutes until skin is golden-brown and the meat is thoroughly cooked. Remove from pot drain on a wire rack or a crumpled brown paper bag and serve.
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