In a large mixing bowl, hand whisk together buttermilk, paprika, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Gently place the chicken pieces into the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4 hours.
To make the flour breading combine the flour, black pepper, red pepper, paprika, onion powder, thyme, and salt in a large bowl and hand whisk together.
When you're ready to fry the chicken prepare 5-6 quart pot by filling with oil deep enough to submerge chicken pieces. This is usually about 1-2 inches deep. Heat oil to 350 F (176 C) degrees.
Prepare chicken drying station by lining a large rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Place a rectangular cooling rack over the baking sheet and set near your frying station.
Working with one piece of chicken at a time, remove a chicken piece from the buttermilk marinade. Set the piece into the flour mixture and rotate to coat thoroughly then place the breaded piece of chicken onto a clean baking tray to rest for 3-5 minutes. This gives the breading time to absorb to the wet chicken skin. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken.
Now, slowly lower 3 to 4 pieces of the breaded chicken into the 350 F (176 C) oil. Keep an eye on your oil temperature as the cold chicken may cause it to drop. Adjust the temperature accordingly. Fry the chicken pieces until rich golden brown and crispy. This can be anywhere from 10 minutes for wings and up to 14 minutes for thighs or breasts. So keep an eye on your chicken and check internal temperature with a meat thermometer to read 165 F &73 C) for cooked chicken.
**If you chose to use ¾ -1 inch deep oil, you will need to rotate your chicken halfway through cooking to prevent sticking to bottom of the pot. I use a little deeper oil at 2-3 inches and gently rotate with wire skimmer.**
Once chicken is done cooking scoop from oil with skimmer allowing excess oil to drip into pot then place on cooling rack set over paper towel lined tray.
Let chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.