Fried Chicken Recipes | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Throwback Thursday: Fried Chicken

The Editors
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Summer is here! That means family gatherings, which in turn means home cooked food. Satisfy your cravings for all things salty and fatty with delicious Southern-Fried Chicken.

Fried Chicken

Although it is bikini season, if there’s ever a time to eat a little more than usual, it’s when there’s fried chicken on the table! As Damon Lee Fowler, defender of lard and author of Classical Southern Cooking, said, “If you’re worried about fat, why are you even thinking of fried chicken in the first place?” So abandon your calorie counting for a day and indulge in this American classic.

The argument over how to make “real” Southern Fried chicken is heavily contested and multi-faceted. From type of bird to frying method, people across America are sure their way is the best way. At the Almanac, we think pretty much any way is delicious but we decided to provide you with two different recipes from our 1998 Old Farmer’s Almanac and let your taste buds do the testing!

Basic Southern Fried Chicken

This traditional pan-fried recipe will not disappoint.

1 fryer chicken (2 ½ to 3 pounds), cut into serving pieces

Buttermilk to cover

1 cup all- purpose flour

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Vegetable shortening

1-tablespoon bacon grease

Rinse chicken pieces under running water. Pat dry and place in a casserole dish. Cover with buttermilk and soak at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator, and let chicken come to room temperature before cooking.

In a heavy, brown paper bag, combine flour, salt, and pepper, and shake until blended. Place a 12-inch or larger skillet (cast iron or enameled cast iron is best) over medium-high heat. Melt vegetable shortening to a depth of ½ to 1 inch, add bacon grease, and heat to the point that a drop of water flicked into the oil sputters. Remove chicken from dish, letting excess buttermilk drip off, and place each piece in the bag, shaking until coated evenly. Arrange pieces on skillet, skin side down, being careful not to overcrowd. Fry 15 to 20 minutes on one side, until the skin is crispy and golden: then turn each piece with tongs. Fry 15 minutes on other side. Drain on brown paper bags.

To raise a cream gravy:

Discard all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet, being careful to leave the brown flour drippings in pan. Over high heat, add 2 tablespoons of flour to the fat, whisking until the roux browns. Gradually pour in 2 cups of milk, stirring until gravy comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes, until it reaches a creamy texture, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve on the side- or over the chicken, if you want to do it Maryland-style.

Stovetop Deep-Fried Chicken

Deep- frying, while less traditional, is uncontestably delicious.

1 fryer chicken (2 ½ to 3 pounds), cut into serving pieces

Peanut oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of paprika and cayenne

1 cup all purpose flour

Rinse chicken well in cold water, drain, and pat dry. In a cast- iron Dutch oven, pour peanut oil 3 inches deep and heat at medium-high. Place the salt, pepper, seasonings, and flour in a paper bag and shake until mixed. Add the chicken pieces one at a tie, shaking to coat.

When the oil has reached 365°F, place the chicken in the Dutch oven, skin side down, and cook with the lid on for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the chicken, replace the lid, and fry for another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the cover and continue cooking for another 15 minutes, until chicken is crisp. Drain on wire rack.