Growing up in the South, I always looked forward to fried chicken. ‘Cause Mama could really fry some chicken. Any good Southerner can tell you how to fry chicken. And of course, there are as many ways to make it as there are people who make it. With the exception of plenty of seasoning, everything else is pretty much up for grabs.
July 20, 2009 issue of Newsweek magazine had an article on southern fried chicken (http://www.newsweek.com/id/206027). The nerve of those Northerners; laying their hands on our fried chicken. The article does make for interesting reading and water fountain conversation. The article centers on a product, Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Kit, available from Williams Sonoma for $14.95. The kit contains two packages of brine mix and coating. And now, you’ve got to buy the chicken. Sorry, but that is too much money for chicken. However, the author does say it was good. Personally, I am going to stick with my cheaper mixture of buttermilk, seasonings and flour. However, if you are just dying to try the Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Kit, here is the link http://bit.ly/dzCc38.
Southern Fried Chicken
1 Tablespoon sweet paprika
2½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground red pepper, preferably cayenne
¾ teaspoon white pepper
¾ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
3 – 3½ pounds chicken or chicken parts
1 cup buttermilk
1cup all purpose flour
1quart vegetable or peanut oil
¼ cup bacon fat, optional
1. Make two batches of the spice mixture, one for the marinade and one for the flour coating.
2. If using a whole chicken, cut into serving size pieces.
3. Combine spice mixture and buttermilk. Add chicken and marinate for at least 24 hours. Drain buttermilk.
4. Combine flour and spices. Stir to combine. Coat chicken in flour mixture. Place chicken in hot oil. Fry until golden brown.
To the fat police out there, this is good fried chicken; I never claimed it was healthy. I do believe it may well be worth the occasional indulgence. Some people also add a little bacon fat, but that is a personal thing. And personally, I never pass up a chance to use a little pork fat.
For beginning fryers, I am including a few tips to help you make good fried food. First of all, I prefer peanut oil, because it allows one to fry at a slightly higher temperature. Pork fat is added for flavor. Preheat the skillet. You don’t want to heat the food and skillet at the same time. Preheat the oil. Preheating the oil allows your food to start cooking immediately and absorb less fat. To test your oil to see if it is hot enough, add one or two drops of water. If it sizzles, you are ready to fry.
For those of you serious about cutting fat, this recipe works well when making oven “fried” chicken. For best oven fried chicken, use dark meat.
If you want another recipe from two southerners, the late Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock, give this recipe a try http://bit.ly/b9fL2K.