My Favorite Southern Fried Chicken…Perfection Every Time!

In the South, few things come even close to being as delicious as a perfectly crisp piece of fried chicken (well…maybe bacon!).  It is considered satisfyingly flavorful comfort food at its best and there are many recipes and techniques to choose from.  I have tried quite a few recipes but I always come back to this one adapted from Southern Living Magazine many years ago.

I pretty much kept the recipe in its original form with the exception of a couple of extra spices and the addition of allowing chicken to sit coated at room temperature.  Those tweaks helped turn a great recipe into an extraordinary one.  It is my family’s favorite and will become yours too!

Now let’s get this out of the way….this is NOT a healthy dish and we usually one have it a couple of times a year but oh, when I do make it, it doesn’t last long!  There are several important secrets to making perfectly fried chicken:

  • Brining the chicken in salt water
  • Allowing the chicken to sit out at room temperature an hour before frying just after coating it
  • Using some bacon grease in your skillet
  • Applying a combination of covered and uncovered cooking time

Those may seem like simple and insignificant tips but they truly do make a difference in the end product and definitely should not be skipped.  The end result will be a perfectly crispy outside crunch and juicy, tender bites of chicken on the inside.  Perfection every time…check it out!

Ingredients

3 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
1 (2- to 2 1/2-pound) broiler-fryer, cut up**
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable oil
1/4 cup bacon drippings
**Our family loves bone-in chicken thighs so that is what I used in the pictures used in this blog (6-8 thighs are perfect for this recipe)

Preparation

Combine water and 1 tablespoon salt in a large bowl; add chicken. Cover and chill 8 hours. Drain chicken; rinse with cold water, and pat dry.

Combine salt, pepper, onion powder and cayenne. Season both sides of chicken with one teaspoon of spice mixture.  Combine the remaining 3 teaspoons with flour in a large freezer bag. Place 2 pieces of chicken in bag; seal. Shake to evenly coat. Remove chicken, and repeat procedure with remaining chicken, 2 pieces at a time.  Allow to sit coated on kitchen counter for 45 minutes to an hour.

 

Combine vegetable oil and bacon drippings in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or chicken fryer (I used an electric skillet); heat to 360°. Add chicken, a few pieces at a time, skin side down. Cover and cook 6 minutes; uncover and cook 9 minutes.

Turn chicken pieces; cover and cook 6 minutes. Uncover and cook 5 to 9 minutes, turning pieces during the last 3 minutes for even browning, if necessary. Drain on paper towels.

Note: For best results, keep the oil temperature between 300° to 325° as you fry the chicken.

IMG_0288
I like to drain my chicken on a wire rack

Chicken is ready to be served with all your favorite sides!

IMG_0289
Crispy Fried Chicken served along side some mashed potatoes, pinto beans, freshly sliced garden tomatoes, and my awesome Turnip Greens recipe…I will blog on that soon!
IMG_0291
Look at that perfectly piece of crisp chicken….Makes you want to make it right now!

Bottom Line:  I love this recipe and again, it is always the one I keep coming back to.  Sometimes I kick up the heat a notch with some roasted red pepper flakes or add a little twist by adding in a little garlic and it still come out perfectly with just a little different flavoring.  The key is to follow the cover, uncover, and flip exactly and your fried chicken will turn out perfectly every single time!  I hope you try this recipe in your kitchen and let me know what you think and stay tuned for my delicious Southern Turnip Greens recipe.  Until then, I am Chef Frankie..always in the kitchen, having fun, and cooking with Wild Abandonment!

For the original Southern Living Recipe this blog is based on, please visit http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/our-best-southern-fried-chicken

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