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The "perfect" Southern Fried Chicken

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“Posted in the June 28th Chicago Tribune Food section - great tasting chicken! This recipe combines the best advice of the experts: brining for moist, juicy chicken; marinating in buttermilk for tenderness; seasoned flour for a crisp crust; and a little bacon grease mixed into the frying fat to add savory flavor. The brining and marinating mean you'll have to think ahead--start this recipe at lunchtime the day you'll set it on the table. Remember that the side you start frying a piece on will always look better than the other side.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Dissolve salt and water in a large bowl; add the chicken. Cover; refrigerate 3-4 hours. Pour off the brine; rinse the chicken well under running water in the bowl. Drain. Add buttermilk and hot sauce to chicken. Cover bowl; refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8.
  2. Combine the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder in another large bowl or food storage bag; drain the chicken pieces. Add 2 or 3 pieces of chicken to the bag; seal. Shake to coat chicken. Remove chicken to a rack; refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  3. Heat the oven to 300°. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to a depth of 1/2 to 3/4-inch; stir in the bacon drippings. Heat oil to 350°, or until a drop of water spatters when it hits the hot oil. Add the drumsticks, wings and thighs, skin side down (the oil should come about halfway up the sides of the pieces of chicken). Cover; cook until tiny bubbles begin to appear in the crust on the side facing up, about 10 minutes. Turn; cook 10 minutes. Uncover the skillet; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until chicken is golden brown, 5-10 minutes. Remove drumsticks and thighs from skillet to a rack placed over a cookie sheet; place in oven.
  4. Raise heat under skillet to medium-high. Heat oil to 350°; add the breasts, skin side down. Cook until tiny bubbles begin to appear in the crust on the side facing up, about 10 minutes. Turn; cover. Cook 10 minutes; uncover the skillet. Lower the heat to medium-low; cook until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Preparation time includes brining.

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