Cola Brined Chicken Thighs
5 cups Coca-Cola
1 tablespoon kosher salt
10 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
4 teaspoons mild hot sauce like Crystal
8 to 12 chicken thighs, preferably free-range, organic
Combine cola, salt, thyme, garlic and hot sauce in a large metal bowl and stir until the salt has dissolved. Add the chicken thighs, cover and refrigerate 3 to 5 hours.
In a wide, shallow bowl or pan, combine the flour, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put the peanut oil in a large heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until it reaches 375 degrees on a candy thermometer. While the oil heats, remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Dredge the thighs in the flour and shake to remove excess.
Working in batches of 2 or 3 at a time, carefully lower thighs into the hot oil. The oil temperature will plummet when the cold chicken goes into the pan; turn up the heat and carefully monitor the temperature. Cook for a little more than 3 minutes on one side, a little more than 3 minutes on the other, and then a final 3 minutes on the first side. Remove to a wire rack or paper towel to drain.
The juices should run clear when the chicken is poked with a knife. If necessary, transfer the browned chicken to a baking sheet and bake until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees on a instant-read thermometer. Serve hot or at room temperature with hot sauce.