I fry chicken once a year, at most. That said, I love it and could eat it every day. When I was living with the girls (Stacey and Alexis), I decided that I wanted to perfect the art of frying chicken, since I had only ever had it from restaurants or from the box in the freezer case of the supermarket. Stacey and I both fell in love with the batches I made and, if I remember correctly, we once ended up eating an entire fried chicken between the two of us. Back then, I was frying in solid vegetable shortening, but since that time, the information about trans fat has come to our culinary attentions. On Stacey and Alexis’ most recent visit to Chicago, Stacey requested a recipe of fried chicken at some point. I decided to fry in pure peanut oil, which is what I’ve read and seen real southern chefs do. The results were better than ever!
One thing you need to learn right off the bat about making this recipe is that it takes time and there is really no rushing it. The prep work takes awhile, so it is best if you can get all of the ingredients you need at least a day before you want to serve the chicken. There are four major steps: marinating, dredging, drying, and frying. By far the longest step, I usually marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator in a big bowl; the Bun calls it “Salmonella Soup.” Dredging is simply coating the chicken pieces in seasoned flour, and drying is when you place the dredged pieces on a rack so that a crust forms on the chicken; this third step is very helpful in making crispy chicken with breading that sticks to the pieces through cooking and serving. Frying is, well, where the magic happens. You should feel free to adjust the seasonings in both the marinade and the flour to your tastes, whether you like more warm spices, or herbs, or heat, or simply salt and pepper. I like a mixture of everything, with no prominent or dominating flavor. Be kind to your arteries and don’t repeat this one too often: Fried Chicken.