Fried Chicken

In a bowl large enough to hold an entire chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces (2 wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 breasts), combine:
1 quart of fat-free buttermilk, shaken in the carton
1 teaspoon of salt
(or to taste)
1 teaspoon of pepper
Seasonings, to taste:  Dried herbs (not fresh) Hot sauce (I usually use Frank’s Red Hot) Old Bay Seasoning (you may want to omit the salt above, depending on how much you use)

Once you have all of the above ingredients combined, add the chicken so that it is completely submerged in the buttermilk and cover with plastic wrap.  Place the chicken and marinade in the refrigerator for at least six hours, preferably overnight.  If you like, you can redistribute the chicken pieces throughout the hours of marination, but you don’t need to do that more than once.

When you are about two hours from dinner time, mix together the dredging flour in a pan or bowl large enough to hold one chicken piece at a time, combining:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-2 teaspoons each of dried thyme, oregano, Old Bay, cinnamon
(go easy with it), black pepper, ground coriander, or anything else you might think would be good

You should feel free to experiment with your flour mixture until you come up with the right blend for you and your guests.  Add few shakes of cayenne for kick, if you like.  Once you have all of the ingredients mixed together thoroughly, you can start pulling pieces of chicken out of the buttermilk marinade to dredge.  I try to shake as much of the marinade off as possible, since I think that it allows the flour to stick a little better and form a better crust – just a few seconds of shaking should do – you still want it to be wet enough to make a decently thick crust.  Place each piece of dredged chicken onto a cooling rack so that it can dry for about 30 minutes; as I said, this will help the breading stick to the chicken when frying.

Once you have all your pieces dredged and dried for a half-hour, you can start frying.  Peanut oil, I think, is the best in this case.  You want about a 1/2 inch (or a little more) in your pan for frying this chicken, and I always use my Grandma’s old cast iron pan.  It is perfect for making fried chicken.  Once you get the oil to about 350 degrees, it is ready to go.

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