Food & Drink

KC Restaurant Recipes: Rye’s Crispy Fried Chicken

Award-winning chef Colby Garrelts knows a thing or two about fried chicken – the Leawood restaurant he co-owns with his wife, pastry chef Megan, serves up 1,200 pounds of it each week. His recipe is a three-step process that requires several days’ advance preparation.


  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 each bay leaf
  • 15 each cloves
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons pepper
  • 1/3 each parsley, bunch
  • 1/3 each thyme, bunch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • One whole free-range chicken, cut into eight pieces

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepot and bring to a simmer. Then cool completely until below 40°F. Pour over the chicken and refrigerate for 24 hours. Then remove the chicken from the brine and rinse. Dry the chicken and leave uncovered in the refrigerator for 24 hours.


  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 ½ tablespoons baking powder
  • 4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 8 tablespoons salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cracked black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and let the chicken soak in the slurry for 5 minutes.

Flour mixture:

  • 6 cups flour
  • 5 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 5 tablespoons onion powder
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 teaspoons Kosher salt

Combine all the ingredients in a stainless steel bowl. Next dredge the chicken pieces in the flour, one by one and rest on a rack on a sheet pan.

In a large cast iron pan, pour about 1-½ inches of vegetable oil. The amount of oil depends on your pan size. It’s best to use a pan large enough to accommodate all of the chicken. If you don’t have one big enough, you’ll have to fry in batches. Heat the oil to 350° F. and carefully add the chicken. Beware, it can pop! Fry, turning the pieces as the chicken browns. Heavy parts such as breast, thighs, and legs will take 15 to 20 minutes, wings about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain chicken on paper towels.

And what better side dish to put with the Crispy Fried Chicken, than Rye’s Quick Pickles?

Rye’s Quick Pickles

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • Pinch of BBQ dry rub

In a medium saucepot, bring the water to a boil. In a medium bowl, toss the cucumbers with 1/2 tablespoon of the sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and set aside for five minutes.

In a large bowl, toss the onions with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon sugar and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and let sit for five minutes.

Thoroughly rinse the cucumbers under cold water and place in a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over the onions and stir to cook slightly. Once the onions have softened, about three minutes, rinse the onions under cold water to stop the cooking process. Add the onions to the bowl with the cucumbers and toss both together with the rice wine vinegar.

To serve, fill a serving bowl or medium jar with the pickles and sprinkle the barbecue rub over the top. Extra pickles may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days; after that the cucumbers will become too soft. Yields 4 cups of pickles.

More Kansas City Restaurant Recipes

Q39 BBQ Sides

Barrel 31′s Deviled Oysters

About the table settings: 

ABOVE: Marble pedestal cake stand, $65, from O’Home. Metal cake stand, $42.99; Wood bowl, $44.95, from Pryde’s Kitchen & Home. Table arrangements by Randy Neal Floral Design.

BELOW: Dining outdoors doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. Bright colors and bold patterns look extra special when given their moment in the sun. Tablecloth, $44.99; green plates, large, $18.50, small, $13.50; glasses, $8.99, all from Pryde’s Kitchen & Home. Wooden utensils, $6 per place setting, from George – a Lifestyle Store. Burlap-covered tealight, $4, from Studio Dan Meiners.