"My grandmother Sitty’s secret recipe for fried chicken is all about the dredge, which uses basic seasoning, flour, and water. Simplicity is the key—after all, the star of the show is the chicken. Mama said that my grandfather Giddy, who was a butcher by trade, taught Sitty that the best chickens were those that weighed around 3 pounds. These days, it’s almost impossible to find a chicken that size, so opt for a free-range or organic chicken because those birds are usually the perfect size. Preparing the chicken in the following manner will yield a very thin, crisp coating and juicy, tender chicken beneath. Sitty’s secret is finally out." — Matt Moore, author of A Southern Gentleman's Kitchen: Adventures in Cooking, Eating and Living in the New South
Note: This recipe was tested with White Lily Enriched Bleached All-Purpose Flour.
- 1 3-pound whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 Teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Cup all-purpose flour
- Peanut oil, for frying
Rinse chicken with cold water and pat dry. Place chicken in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper, tossing to coat. Sprinkle flour and ½ cup water over chicken and then toss the chicken to coat it with the flour mixture, using your fingers to rub flour paste into skin until thoroughly coated. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill 1-24 hours.
Pour oil to a depth of 1 inch into a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F.
Fry the drumsticks and thighs in hot oil, bone sides down, 8 minutes. (Increase the heat for first few minutes, if necessary, to maintain an oil temperature at 350 degrees F.) Carefully turn the chicken, rotating the pieces away from your body, and fry 8 more minutes or until browned and cooked to the desired degree of doneness. Remove the chicken from the oil, and transfer it to a wire rack set over paper towels. Repeat the procedure with the remaining chicken pieces (breasts and wings), reducing the frying time to 7 minutes on each side.