My mom made the worlds best fried chicken. Or at least she did to me when I was a kid. I wonder sometimes if I would like as well the foods I enjoyed when I was a kid since my tastes are oh so sophisticated now *snorts and laughs*. But seriously, as our tastes mature and we try more, the things we loved as kids just don’t seem appealing anymore. In some cases, that’s a good thing. As much as I joke about Twinkies and Cheetos, I wouldn’t want a steady diet of them but when I was a kid, I could have happily eaten them for every meal. In other cases, maybe it’s not such a good thing. Like I said, I loved my mothers fried chicken. But now, as a middle aged mom, I make it my way and it’s what my family and I are used to. Would I like mothers now with it’s simple coating of flour, salt and pepper? I don’t know and that strikes me as kind of sad. She also made really good lasagna but I make that differently too. I remember once asking her, after I was married and made it myself, why hers always tasted like it had boiled eggs in it. She replied simply, “because it does.” I thought then and still wonder where she found a recipe for lasagna that used boiled eggs in the filling. And while I wouldn’t make it that way myself, I remember loving it when she made it. Maybe I didn’t know any better… maybe it was because it was a rare treat, maybe it was just because it was made by her.
This chicken is years in the making. For years, my coating was too heavy, too greasy, too hard. FINALLY though, I learned what I was doing wrong. Basically, I was trying too hard. I was trying to make fried chicken into something fancy when it’s not. It’s simple country food, homey and comforting. It’s fattening, it’s bad for you and it’s oh so good. Fried chicken can frighten so many people but if you don’t fall into the ‘trying to hard” trap, it’s easy as can be. Just watch your oil temp (buy an instant read thermometer if you don’t have one) and don’t overcoat. Contrary to what one would think, extra coating won’t make it crispier. It just makes the coating hard and tough.
You know the drill…
Country Fried Chicken
- 5 lbs chicken pieces (we like boneless skinless thighs and breasts and occasionally wings if I can find them on sale)
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons Janes Krazy Mized Up Salt (can be found in most grocery stores. I prefer this one because it uses larger salt pieces thus isn’t as “salty” tasting as other seasoned salts)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
- 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 2 to 5 tablespoons of franks Hot Sauce (optional and amount will vary depending on what level of heat you like)
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1 cup butter flavor Crisco (optional, but it gives a nice flavor)
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, herbs, spices and salt. Stir well.
- In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs and hot sauce. Beat until well combined.
- In a large pan or dutch oven (I use my 8 quart dutch oven and it works great. You can get a deep level of oil but with no worry of bubbling over and less splattering.), pour vegetable oil to a level of about 2 inches. Add in the Crisco if using (or another cup of oil) and over medium heat, heat oil to 340 degrees.
- While oil heats, take each piece of chicken and coat in this order- dredge first in the flour, then in the egg mixture, carefully shaking off excess liquid, then dredge again in the flour. Set each piece on a rack that is set over a piece of waxed paper for easier cleanup.
- When oil is hot, put chicken into pan carefully, starting with dark meat pieces like thighs and drumsticks. Turn the heat up to medium high for about 2 minutes, just long enough to bring the oil back up to temp, because adding the chicken can lower the temp drastically, causing the chicken to soak up too much oil. Don’t crowd your pan. Let the dark meat pieces cook for about 5 minutes, then if you have room in the pan, add a piece or two of the white meat.
- Cook the chicken, turning two or three times during cooking, until it is golden brown and an instant read thermometer inserted into a piece of chicken (NOT touching a bone if it’s not boneless chicken) reads at a temp of approximately 180 degrees. Remember that white meat cooks quicker than dark and that just because a thinner piece is done, that doesn’t mean a thick piece like a large breast will be. Make sure you check thicker pieces inner temps too.
- Drain on a paper towel covered plate and serve piping hot…or warm…or room temp…or cold. I mean, really… it’s fried chicken!!
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