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Food has become a thing of fashion. Certain types of food fall in and out of style. Foie Gras is out, grass-fed beef is in. Canned peas are out, fresh organic edamame is in.
But if there is one dish that is never out of fashion, never out of style, it has to be Fried Chicken.
Just the mere mention of the name puts your salivary glands into overdrive. You can imagine the taste, the sound, as you bite through the perfectly crunchy skin. You can feel the juice run down your chin and the grease on your fingers. And you find it hard to contain the audible moan as you remember that first bite of… pure heaven.
I’m willing to bet that it’s on the top of a lot of vegetarian’s “The meat dishes I really miss” list.( Don’t tell me they don’t have one)
Now, everyone has their own opinion about fried chicken just like they do with Bar-b-que. Some people like deep-fried, some people like pan-fried. Some people like it Original. Some people like it Extra Crispy. And everyone has their favorite place to get it.
I ,for one, am a huge fan of Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken which originally started in Macon, TN but the hub now resides in downtown Memphis in the dingiest, greasiest hole in the wall you could ever find yourself in. I think the seedier the place, the better the chicken. My husband and I stopped on our way back to Georgia after visiting family and bought ourselves a huge catering platter of 30 pieces of Gus’s Chicken including the baked beans, potato salad and the all important slices of Wonder Bread to soak up the chicken liquor. We then ate nothing but fried chicken for a week. It was delicious.
And I might do it again soon.
Back to this fried chicken. This fried chicken is not Gus’s fried chicken ( that is a well guarded secret), but I would like to say it is some damn fine chicken. It is started in a cast iron skillet and finished in the oven which really protects you and your chicken from burning. The result here is crispy, very savory, juicy chicken.
I would like to pat myself on the back for it it’s so good.
I used legs here because that is what I prefer. Feel free to use a whole cut up chicken if you like.
12 chicken legs or equivalent in chicken pieces
1 quart of buttermilk
3 cups of AP flour
3 T Seasoned Salt (my homemade stuff)
2 t. Thyme
1/4 t. cayenne (more if you like)
1/2 cup milk
Oil or shortening for frying
Put the legs in a ziploc bag and cover with buttermilk, reserving about 1/2 cup, and let sit overnight.
Preheat oven to 350. Remove chicken from buttermilk and pat dry.
In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, 2 T of seasoned salt, thyme, and cayenne.
Add in milk and reserved buttermilk and stir to make a thick batter.
In a separate dish, mix remaining flour and seasoned salt together.
Heat oil or shortening in a deep cast iron skillet or dutch oven. There should be enough oil to almost cover the chicken completely. Make sure you leave yourself plenty of head room since the oil will rise and expand when you put in the chicken. Heat oil to around 350 degrees ( use a thermometer).
Dredge chicken first, in wet batter making sure to get a good coating,
then dredge in the flour.
Working in batches,place chicken in oil gently. Cook for about 5 minutes on one side then turn and cook the other side for another 3-4 minutes
Place chicken on baking sheet.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until juices run clear.
Let cool slightly and enjoy!