250 gm(1 cup) fine salt80 gm(½ cup) honey50 gm(¾ cup) black peppercorns2½lemons, halved1 bunchflat-leaf parsley½ bunchthyme12fresh bay leaves½ headgarlic, halved horizontally2chickens (about 1.5kg each)For deep-frying:vegetable oil600 mlbuttermilk To serve:Japanese mayonnaiseBarbecue sauce1onion, coarsely chopped10garlic cloves2small red chillies40 mlolive oil10 eachthyme sprigs and rosemary sprigs½ bunchcoriander30 gm (¼ cup)smoked paprika2 tbspfennel seeds10bay leaves1 tspcumin seeds6cloves200 gmbrown sugar200 mltomato ketchup200 mlapple juice120 mlbalsamic vinegar2 tbspWorcestershire sauceThinlypeeled rind and juice of 1 orange2 tsphot English mustardSpiced flour375 gm (2½ cups)plain flour150 gm (1½ cups)cornflakes, finely crushed60 gm (½ cup)rice flour2 tbsp eachgarlic powder and onion powder1 tbspsea salt1 tbspsweet paprika¾ tspcayenne pepper½ tspground black pepper
Stir salt, honey, peppercorns, lemon, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, garlic and 8 litres water in a large stockpot over medium-high heat until salt dissolves, bring to the boil then cool completely.
Meanwhile, remove wings and legs from chicken, then halve legs through the joint and set aside. Remove breasts from chicken, discard skin, halve breasts and set aside. Add chicken pieces to brine and refrigerate to brine for 8 hours.
Drain chicken then rinse under cold running water for 5 minutes.
Place chicken in a single layer in a large steamer basket, cover with a lid, place over a large saucepan of simmering water and steam breast meat for 10 minutes and leg meat for 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack placed on a tray and refrigerate, uncovered, until chilled.
Meanwhile, for barbecue sauce, process onion, garlic and chilli in a food processor to a smooth paste. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion mixture and stir occasionally until tender (4-5 minutes). Meanwhile, process herbs and spices in a food processor to a smooth paste, add to pan and stir occasionally until fragrant (8-10 minutes). Add sugar, stir to dissolve, add 250ml water and simmer until reduced by half (10 minutes). Add remaining ingredients, bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through a coarse sieve into a clean pan, simmer until thick (18-20 minutes), season to taste and refrigerate to cool completely. Makes 500ml. Barbecue sauce will keep refrigerated in a sterile container for 1 month.
For spiced flour, combine ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven to 150C. Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan or deep-fryer to 180C. Dust chicken pieces in spiced flour, dip in buttermilk, dust again in spiced flour, shake off excess. Deep-fry in batches, turning occasionally, until dark golden and cooked through (5-6 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit). Drain on absorbent paper and keep warm in oven while cooking remaining chicken. Serve hot with barbecue sauce and Japanese mayonnaise.
This recipe is from the August 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.