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CT LIVE!: Celebrating New Haven Restaurant Week

Chef John Brennan's "Fancy" Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken


  • 6 chicken drum-sticks
  • 3 quarts of duck fat
  • 1 quart all purpose flour
  • 3 cups corn starch
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 3 quarts peanut oil
  • 1 tbsp truffle honey 

Pickled Watermelon


  • 1 small watermelon peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ dried cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp salt

Sweet Yam Mash


  • 5 sweet yams
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp olive oil


1. Take your chicken drum sticks, place them on a ½ sheet tray, gently coat with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. Wrap in plastic wrap and set in your refrigerator over-night.

2. Take your peeled and cut watermelon and place in a large bowl. Take the remainder of the ingredients under pickled watermelon, add them to a small pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, take off heat and pour over watermelon in the bowl. Let cool to room temperature, then cover in plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator overnight.

3. Heat your oven for 400F. While the oven is heating take your chicken and evenly place it in a ½ hotel pan or large braising pan, top with duck fat, wrap in plastic wrap & tin foil and braise at 400F for 3 hours.

4. While your chicken is cooking it's time to make the remainder of the dish. Combine your flour with the remainder of dry ingredients under the fried chicken ingredients list to make your dredging flour for frying. Combine your hot sauce and buttermilk, refrigerate and set aside.

5. Wrap your sweet potatoes in tin foil, roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 400F. Once soft to the touch remove from the oven, slice open sweet potatoes and remove the now mashed core. Place in a small pot, add the remainder of ingredients and whisky together. Wrap the top of the pot in plastic wrap and tin foil and set aside.

6. Once your chicken is cooked remove from the oven, let cool, gently remove the tender chicken from the duck fat, place on a sheet tray with parchment paper and let cool for two hours.

7. In a fryer or large pot add the peanut oil and heat on medium to high. For home frying a candy thermometer is great to gauge the temperature of your oil, you are shooting for 350F.

8. Take your chicken drumsticks and dredge them in the seasoned flour, then dip gently in buttermilk, back in the flour and then drop carefully into your fry oil.

9. Let cook for 4-6 minutes, carefully remove from oil and season with salt & pepper. To plate scoop sweet yam mash in the center of the plate, offset by the pickled watermelon, place chicken on the mash and drizzle truffle honey.

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