Wayfare Tavern's Fried Chicken

In this recipe, Chef Tyler Florence evolves his signature fried chicken recipe, using modern techniques like covering the bird in fresh herbs and roasting it low and slow before soaking it in buttermilk and then frying it in grapeseed oil. A squeeze of fresh lemon and sprinkle of more herbs before serving give this chicken its show stopping Northern California flavor.
By / Photography By John Lee | June 01, 2014


8 main-course servings (4 per bird)

Preheat oven to 200°F. For each chicken, roughly chop 1 bunch each of the rosemary, thyme and sage, along with half of the bay leaves and 3 cloves of garlic. Mix with the olive oil, and add 2 tablespoons pepper and 3 tablespoons salt. Rub the mixture on the birds so the herbs stick to the skin. Place the seasoned birds in a roasting pan (not touching) and place in the oven.

After 2.5 hours, remove the chickens from the oven. The internal temperature between the breast and the thigh near the bone should be 150°F.

At this stage, the chickens are cooked 75% of the way through.

Once the chickens are cool enough to handle, break each of the birds down into 10 pieces, with the breasts de-boned and cut in half. You will end up with a wing, leg, thigh and 2 pieces breast meat per half of each chicken.

In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk and season with the hot sauce and sugar. Submerge the chicken pieces in the buttermilk and let sit for 30 minutes.

Add the grapeseed oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Turn the heat on, and add the remaining rosemary, thyme, sage, bay leaves and the head of garlic, broken apart, to the oil. As the oil heats to 375°F, the herbs and garlic will perfume the oil. The crisp herbs will also serve as a garnish for the finished dish. Remove the herbs to a paper-towel-lined plate once they are crispy.

In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, rice flour, garlic powder, onion powder, 1/3 cup salt and 1/4 cup black pepper and mix thoroughly. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk (do not dry) and coat the chicken well in the flour mixture.

Without over-crowding the pot, fry the breaded chicken until all of the pieces are golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the chicken to a clean kitchen cloth and season with flaked salt and freshly ground pepper.

Use a paper bag, brown parchment paper or a clean napkin to line the bottom of a serving platter. Pile the chicken on the platter and top with the fried herbs and garlic.

Serve with fresh lemon wedges.

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  • 2 (3- to 3.5-pound) organic chickens
  • 2 bunches rosemary
  • 2 bunches thyme
  • 2 bunches sage
  • 10 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 head garlic plus 3 cloves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup onion powder
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon flaked salt (we use Maldon) to finish
  • 1 gallon grapeseed oil
  • 4 lemons, cut into wedges
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