Maryland Pan-Fried Chicken
1 frying chicken (3 to 4 pounds), cut into serving pieces
1 quart buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Chesapeake seasoning (such as Old Bay)
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
juice of 1 lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons Chesapeake seasoning
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon powdered thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
vegetable oil (and lard, optional, 3 parts oil to 1 part lard), for frying
Place the chicken pieces in a shallow dish. To prepare the marinade, pour the buttermilk in a bowl and add the salt, Chesapeake seasoning, cracked black pepper, Tabasco, garlic and lemon juice. Mix well and pour the mixture over the chicken to cover. Cover the dish and refrigerate overnight.
For the coating, put the flour in a bowl and add the salt, Chesapeake seasoning, ground black pepper, sage, thyme and cayenne. Mix together well and transfer to a strong paper bag or large, heavy-duty plastic bag. When ready to fry, remove the chicken from the buttermilk and wipe off the excess. Place the chicken in the bag of seasoned flour and shake to coat well. Pour vegetable oil into a large cast-iron skillet to a depth of about 1 1/4 inches. Heat until very hot but not smoking. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, turning frequently. Do not crowd the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cover the skillet.
Cook the chicken, turning occasionally, for about 25 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted utensil to paper towels to drain. Reserve the cooking fat. Serve with cream gravy.