Special equipment: a waffle iron and a deep-fry thermometer
For the chicken: Combine the buttermilk, hot sauce, thyme and lemon zest in a zip-top bag. Add the chicken pieces, making sure they are completely submerged. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
For the waffles: Prepare the waffle mix batter for 12 waffles according to the manufacturer's instructions. Cook the waffles using a waffle maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
For the jalapeno-honey mayo: Whisk together the mayonnaise honey, jalapeno, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small mixing bowl. Set aside. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the bacon: Lay the bacon strips flat in an even layer in a large, cold skillet. Over low heat, cook the bacon slowly, turning occasionally to prevent burning, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate to drain of excess fat.
To dredge the chicken: Combine the flour with the paprika, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk, allowing the excess to drip off, and drop into the flour mixture. Then dip the chicken back into the buttermilk and then back into flour mixture following the same procedure. Set aside on a cooling rack and allow the dredged chicken to set at least 10 minutes.
Heat the canola oil over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F.
Carefully fry the chicken cooked through and golden brown (or until the internal temperature on a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F), 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oil onto a cooking rack, allowing the excess oil to drain. Salt the chicken when still hot.
To assemble: Dress each waffle with a spread of the jalapeno-honey mayo. Lay a leaf of lettuce down, followed by a couple of tomato slices. Some fried chicken on the tomatoes and then top with a slice of bacon and a second waffle; cut in half.
Recipe courtesy of Dean McDermott and Tori Spelling