Perfect Southern Fried Chicken
2 (3-pound) chicken fryers
2 cups all-purpose flour
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup milk
Crisco vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon bacon grease
Cut the chicken carefully and evenly into serving pieces, taking care to keep the skin of each piece intact. Rinse under running water.
In a heavy brown paper bag, combine the flour, salt and pepper and shake until well blended. Pour the milk into a soup bowl.
Set an electric fry pan at 375 degrees or place a large cast-iron skillet over moderate heat, fill half full of melted Crisco, and add the bacon grease.
When a drop of water flipped into the fat sputters, dip some of the chicken pieces into the milk, then place in the bag. Shake vigorously to coat evenly, shake the excess flour back into the bag, and arrange the pieces in the fat, making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
Fry the chicken until golden brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes, turn with tongs, reduce heat to 350 degrees and fry until golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. (Turn the chicken only once.)
Drain on another paper bag and repeat the procedure with the remaining chicken, adding a little more shortening and bacon grease if necessary and maintaining the heat at moderate.
Transfer the chicken to a large platter and do not cover. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Source: My Mother’s Southern Kitchen, James Villas
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