Kirbie's Cravings

Ad Hoc Fried Chicken

photo of a plate of fried chicken
One of the best bites I had this year was the fried chicken I had at Thomas Keller’s Addendum, a small stand built behind his Ad Hoc restaurant which serves his famous fried chicken as boxed lunches.

I purchased the Ad Hoc cookbook shortly after it came out and after reading his recipe for his buttermilk fried chicken, it didn’t seem too bad. But like all Thomas Keller recipes, there are a lot of careful steps which can be a little time consuming.
close-up photo of fried chicken
When I finally got around to making the recipe, I couldn’t find my Ad Hoc book anywhere. I misplaced it during the massive cleaning right before my wedding and I’ve been searching for it for a few weeks now and still no luck. Hopefully, it will turn up soon. The recipe is readily shared on the internet, but I found that everyone’s recipe seem to be just a little different and so I don’t know which one is the one from the book exactly.

photo of a stack of chocolate chip cookies on a cookbook

I also felt nervous without the book. Beyond just a recipe, Keller always provides a lot of explanation into explaining why he is doing what he is doing and what it does for the recipe, which helps for you to understand and also to pinpoint errors.

The chicken fried up quite beautifully and the skin was super crisp, while the chicken itself was still quite moist. The biggest problem though was that mine came out way too salty. Both the inside and the outside of the chicken was salty. I think I had too little chicken for the amount of brine this recipe called for.

photo of a pile of fried chicken on a plate garnished with fresh rosemary

I do plan on trying it out again once I find my misplaced book. It isn’t too hard to make, but you do need to marinade the chicken in a brine overnight, which keeps the chicken moist and flavorful.
overhead photo of fried chicken

I used this version of the recipe here. When I find my book, I’ll try this again and write out the recipe from the book too.

More Chicken Recipes

Ad Hoc Fried Chicken

Servings: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
One of the best bites I had this year was the fried chicken I had at Thomas Keller's Addendum, a small stand built behind his Ad Hoc restaurant which serves his famous fried chicken as boxed lunches. Once I tried it I knew I had to try making it at home.


For the Brine

  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp honey
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 1 head garlic smashed but not peeled
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 3 large sprigs rosemary
  • 1 small bunch thyme
  • 1 small bunch parsley
  • juice and zest of two lemons
  • 2 (3-lb) chickens

For the Breading

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • rosemary and thyme sprigs for garnish


Brine the Chicken

  • Place a large pot, large enough to hold the two chickens, on the stovetop. Combine 1 quart of the water with 1 cup of the salt and the honey, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Add the lemon zest and juice and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Stir until the salt is dissolved.
  • Cool the brine completely before adding the rest of the cold water (3 quarts). Place the chickens in the brine so they are completely submerged and refrigerate it overnight.

Bread and Fry the Chicken

  • Drain the chickens and pat them dry, removing any herbs or peppercorns stuck on their skins. Cut each chicken into eight pieces (keep the breast meat on the bone).
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and 2 teaspoons of kocher salt. Pour the buttermilk into a separate large bowl.
  • Place a couple pieces of the chicken in the buttermilk and then dredge it in the flour mixture. Press the coating on the pieces to ensure it sticks. Place the breaded chicken on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
  • In a large, deep skillet heat one-inch of oil to 330°F. Fry the chicken in two to three batches for about 20 minutes, turning once. The chicken is done once it’s golden and crispy and it’s internal temperature is 160°F. Transfer the cooked chicken to paper towels to drain the excess oil. Keep the chicken warm in a low oven while you cook the rest of the chicken.
  • To serve, place the chicken on a platter and garnish with the fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs.


Recipe source: Food & Wine

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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10 comments on “Ad Hoc Fried Chicken”

  1. I’ve had the book for SO long but was intimidated by all the careful steps. Now that I’ve read how truly easy it is (from you) I will put on my “big girl apron” and give it a whirl this weekend! thanks for the nudge!

    • Yes, give it a try! It’s not too hard. The hardest part is actually just gathering all the herbs and spices for your chicken brine. But it’s just a matter of putting a bunch of stuff in a pot. Then you let the chicken marinade overnight. The chicken coating is super easy to mix together. You coat the chicken, fry, and you’re done!

  2. I have Ad Hoc at home, let me know if you want me to send you screenshots!

    • Ah, thanks for the offer! A friend of mine actually sent me screenshots. I actually did not even think to ask if someone could do that for me when I was turning my place upside down looking for the book. I will def do this again now that I have the recipe and directions from the book.

  3. I never had gourmet fried chicken. How is it different from Popeyes?

    • It’s kind of hard to describe. It’s just super moist chicken and a very thick, crunchy, flavorful coating. You can taste that it’s being made in small batches rather than the massive batches of a chain like Popeyes.

  4. Hey Kirbie – I’ve made this a couple of times…it’s pretty foolproof. I even made a knock-off with, what else….chicken wings which was nice.

    • Hi Kirk! This was one of the things I was attempting to bring to the pig roast. Someone sent me a pic from the Ad Hoc book and I compared it with this recipe I used, and it’s pretty different. So I think I just chose the wrong recipe variation to use. Also i think I had too much brine and not enough chicken. Now that I have the recipe from the book again I’m going to try again. I did like how the skin crisped up so well.

  5. this looks delish! thanks for the marinating overnight in brine tip!

    • The brine gives the chicken a good flavor and keeps it moist. The coating is pretty delicious too. It’s not too hard to make, but you do have to prep overnight.