Southern Fried Chicken Thighs with Pecan Waffles and Peachy Keen Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Lauren Zilberman
Show: Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off Episode: Barbecue Bonanza
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 5 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: 15 min
Cook: 35 min
YIELD: 4 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate


  • 1/4 cup seasoning salt, such as Lawry's
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
    • 1/2 cup cornmeal
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • Pinch of ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 chop chopped pecans
        PEACH SAUCE:
        • 1 cup good quality maple syrup
        • 1/4 cup peach preserves
        • 2 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Frank's
        recipe tools


        Special equipment: a waffle iron and a deep fryer or large pot

        For the brine: Stir the seasoning salt into the buttermilk in a large bowl or baking dish. Add the chicken, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for 15 minutes.

        For the waffles: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Combine the milk, eggs and 1/3 cup melted butter in a blender and blend until frothy. Pour the egg mixture into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and nutmeg. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Stir in the pecans.

        Heat a waffle iron. Brush both sides of the waffle iron with butter. Cook the batter in the waffle iron according to the manufacturer's directions. Place the waffles in the oven to keep them warm.

        For the chicken: Fill a deep fryer or large pot with oil. (If using a pot, fill just less than halfway with oil.) Heat the oil to 350 degrees F.

        In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, onion powder, chili powder, sweet paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper and stir well. Remove the chicken from the brine, shake off excess liquid, and then dip each piece in the flour mixture, coating each piece fully.

        Fry the chicken in batches until browned and crispy and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Before each batch, make sure the oil has returned to 350 degrees F.

        For the peach sauce: In small saucepan, warm the maple syrup. Remove from the heat and stir in the peach preserves and hot sauce.

        To serve: Place a waffle on each plate, top with 2 chicken thighs and drizzle syrup over top. Serve extra peach syrup on the side.

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