When made right, I love good fried chicken! I've been working on this recipe for quite awhile...it's just about done...or is it? LOL!! Always a work in progress! But this is VERY good fried chicken if I do say so myself. ;)
(Sorry about the awful old photo!! Will take a new one soon for you.)
Rinse and pat dry chicken pieces and place in a deep bowl. Cover with buttermilk and hot sauce, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or best overnight. (*Buttermilk tenderizes chicken.) Heat oil or melt shortening in a cast iron skillet to a depth of about 1 inch or so. Heat to about 370º. (No thermometer needed, really. It'll get hot enough while chicken rests AFTER coating if you have your flame on about medium.) If it starts to smoke, turn it down immediately a bit. In a doubled brown paper lunch sack, mix together all of the dry ingredients.
(Shake to mix.) Remove chicken from bowl. Lightly season with a little bit more seasoning salt and pepper. Place chicken in bag, one piece at a time. Shake well until thoroughly coated. Shake off excess. Dip each piece in beaten eggs and coat with flour once again. Shake off excess, place on waxed paper for 15 minutes or until dry. Place chicken, skin/pretty side down, in hot oil or shortening. Do not crowd skillet. Use 2 if needed. Brown until golden on bottom side. When chicken pieces are golden on one side, turn pieces over, cover with tight fitting lid, and reduce heat to a simmer, turning chicken pieces occaisionally, for 35 to 40 minutes or until juices run clear and chicken is tender. *When lid is placed on, and heat is reduced to a good simmer, the good side of pieces are now the top sides. After about 10 minutes, turn back to skin-side down. After another 10 minutes or so, turn back to skin-side up for the last 10-15 minutes.) Uncover and cook 5 minutes longer for "crispy on the outside" crust. Remove at once, skipping this step, if a softer outside is preferred. My grandma and great aunts always drained their fried chicken on brown paper grocery bags. This seems to work best for me, too. Paper towels work "ok", but it made my chicken soggy on the bottom once when I tried it. *If doubling or making alot of chicken, or just wanting to keep it warm til the rest of your side dishes are done and ready to serve, place chicken on brown paper bag-lined cookie sheet in very low oven.
*GREAT cold, too!
To make chicken fingers:
Use 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips about a 1/2-3/4 " thick. I skipped the buttermilk and hot sauce part, and dipped them into the flour mixture first, then into 1 egg beaten with about a half of a cup of half and half cream and a little hot sauce. Then back into the flour mixture. Worked out PERFECTLY. I lightly browned them in hot oil on one side, turned them, then put a lid on them. I then only cooked them for 8 minutes. I removed the lid, turned them and cooked them another minute. Drained them on brown paper bags. YUM! Best fingers ever!
*One extra tip: Don't ever turn chicken by piercing with a fork, all the juices will run out and the meat will be dry. Always use tongs and have a sharp spatula handy to get underneath just in case a little bit wants to stick. You don't want to lose that good breading! :)