Adding pickle brine to a traditional buttermilk marinade helps infuse every bite with flavor and a gentle sweetness. Bonus? You can serve the pickles left in the jar alongside the fried chicken. Patience is essential to guarantee the crunchiest, juiciest results, so be sure to marinate the chicken for at least 8 hours so it has a chance to fully permeate the bird, and allow the breaded chicken to rest before frying so that coating adheres to the skin.
3 cups whole or low-fat buttermilk
1 1/2 cups dill pickle juice, plus drained pickles for serving (from a 16-ounce jar dill pickle chips)
2 tablespoons hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
2 teaspoons, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided, plus more for sprinkling
3 bone-in, skin-on chicken split breasts (12 ounces total)
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (6 ounces total)
4 chicken drumsticks (about 1 1/4 pounds total)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons paprika
Peanut oil, for frying
Whisk together buttermilk, pickle juice, hot sauce, and 2 teaspoons of the salt in a very large bowl or a large pot. Place chicken breasts, thighs, and drumsticks in mixture; cover with plastic wrap, and chill at least 8 hours (or up to 12).
Set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Stir together flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons salt in a large bowl. Remove a chicken piece from buttermilk brine, letting excess drip back into bowl. Place chicken in flour mixture, and toss well to coat. Transfer breaded chicken to wire rack. Repeat process with remaining chicken. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200°F; set a clean wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet and place alongside stove. When chicken is ready to fry, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches in a large Dutch oven, and heat over medium-high until oil reaches 350°F on a thermometer.
Working in three batches, carefully add four chicken pieces to hot oil; fry until deeply browned and a thermometer inserted into thickest portion of meat (avoiding bone) registers 165°F, about 12 minutes for drumsticks and thighs and 15 minutes for breasts, turning chicken once halfway through cook time. (Adjust heat as needed to maintain oil temperature between 300°F and 320°F.) Remove chicken from oil, and place on the prepared wire rack. Sprinkle all over with salt. Place baking sheet in oven to keep warm while repeating frying process with remaining chicken. Serve fried chicken with pickles.
My oldest son Joshua is obsessed with LEGOs, so when his birthday was coming up, I thought the perfect present would be a trip to LEGOLAND Florida. I set up a whole trip around it and already shared our experience at the Nick Hotel in Orlando. He was ecstatic of course and started watching videos of the theme park on the computer in preparation for our trip. LEGOLAND Florida is a LEGO-lovers dream come true and is geared towards children 2-12 with over 50 family friendly rides, shows and attractions. In addition to the park itself, they have recently added a water park as well, which is the perfect way to cool down after a day in the sun!
The Entrance and Admission
We have pretty much been to every theme park in Orlando, so I was not sure what to expect at the entrance and admission section of LEGOLAND Florida. As soon as you walk up to the park, you are greeted with an enormous welcome and LEGOLAND sign, both of which are of course made from LEGOs and really set the tone for the excitement that is waiting on the other side of the gates. Admission into the park costs $75 for an adult and $65 for a child, but a second day can be added for only $15 more. Even though we went on a summer weekday, there was no wait to get into the park, which was a welcomed relief.
The LEGOLAND park itself is divided into 10 main sections or lands, each with their own unique set of attractions, rides and restaurants. The first that we came to was Fun Town. This is a great place to explore and holds attractions like the LEGO Factory Tour, where you can actually see how LEGOs are made! There is also the Fun Town Theater that features 4D movies at set times throughout the day, so be sure to pick up a times guide when you enter the park.
This is one of the coolest areas of the park and you definitely do not want to skip it. Although it has no rides, it is an incredible display of creativity and skill using nothing but LEGOs and Joshua never wanted to leave. There are various displays setup depicting large scenes from cities including, Washington D.C., New York, Las Vegas, as well as other cities in Florida like Daytona and Key West. Be sure to take a turn pressing the various buttons in the area, as they will all lead to a special surprise within the displays!
The DUPLO Village features play areas and rides for younger visitors. Since I only brought my oldest, we skipped over this area, but the DUPLO farm was adorable and there were rides that are safe for small toddlers, so I would definitely recommend it if you are bringing a little one along.
A great medieval themed area within the park, there is an air of excitement here. One of the things I love most about LEGOLAND is that in each area there are a mixture of activities and rides for children of all ages. The LEGO Kingdom land is a perfect example of this. There is a larger roller coaster called The Dragon that while it can be ridden by younger children, is enjoyed by older children and adults too. Similarly, there is the Royal Joust, where smaller kids can take turns riding around on jousting horses.
Merlin’s Challenge is similar to a slightly speedy fair ride and is great for both younger and older children alike.
Land of Adventure
The Land of Adventure holds plenty of action for children of all ages too. From the big wooden Coastersaurus to the indoor shooting Lost Kingdom Adventure, there is plenty to keep kids busy. The Safari Trek is packed full of interactive safari animals made of nothing but of course, LEGOs.
If your kids love to learn new skills, this is the area for them. Full of interactive “school” areas like driving, boating and even flying school, children get a chance to do things that they see grown-ups do each day. As a tip, if you want to do the driving school for older children, you may want to head here first thing in the morning. This had a the longest line we saw all day and who can blame the kids, they get the chance to drive through a city in LEGO cars, complete with actual stop signs. Flying school provides probably the most thrilling ride in the park and was one of Joshua’s favorites.
Imagination Zone and LEGO TECHNIC
I am combining these two areas because they are pretty much presented together in the park. The Imagination Zone provides the perfect place to go indoors, build, create and catch a break from the sun and excitement outside. Children can build to their heart’s content and even try out some pretty new things. LEGO TECHNIC features a variety of thrilling rides, including the exciting LEGO TECHNIC Coaster and the AUQAZONE Wave Racers, which may just get you a little wet!
Pirate Cove is at the back of the park and is home to the best show LEGOLAND has to offer. The Live Water Ski Show takes place at scheduled times throughout the day and features a live stage show mixed with the adventure of water skiing stunts. I won’t give anything away, but you definitely don’t want to miss this exciting show!
Need to rest? Don’t worry! There are plenty of benches in shady areas throughout the park. Trust me, I was 34 weeks pregnant and was able to find a seat whenever I needed one. Restrooms were a little harder to come by, so check out the map ahead of time if they are going to be a priority. There are not an abundance of indoor restaurants, in fact, there are only three in the whole park. If you want to eat in air conditioning, plan out your day ahead of time to be in one of those areas by lunchtime. One of the coolest things we saw was minifig trading. If you bring a minifig with you or buy one there, you can trade with employees all over the park throughout the day for new ones!
LEGOLAND Florida is a must do for those of all ages who love LEGOs! There is plenty to see in a day and enough that you could go back again and still not see everything there is to see. Add on the water park pass for a small extra fee and you can relax in the lazy river and take a ride down the thrilling slides as a mid-day break as well. It is definitely a do not miss attraction when traveling to the area with kids!
* I was given two complimentary passes into the park, but all words thoughts and opinions above are entirely my own.