I know I've probably posted this before, but since it's picnic season I thought I'd post again. I'm a born-and-bred Southern girl and the cooking is filled with love and ... it's hard to explain ... just has some kind of special down-home feeling.
So, here's how you make it done and juicy inside, and yet crispy outside. Without needing a deep fryer.
BEST SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN
3 qts. water
1 T. salt
1 (2- to 2-1/2 lb) broiler-fryer, cut up (or the equivalent of your favorite pieces)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. bacon drippings
COMBINE 3 qts. water and 1 T. salt in a lg. bowl; add chicken. Cover and chill 8 hrs. Drain chicken; rinse with cold water, and pat dry.
COMBINE 1 tsp. salt and pepper ; sprinkle half of mixture over chicken. Combine remaining salt and pepper mixture and flour in a large heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. (A brown paper bag will work, too.) Place 2 pieces of chicken in bag; seal. Shake to coat. Remove chicken; repeat procedure with remaining chicken, 2 pieces at a time.
COMBINE vegetable oil and bacon drippings in a 12" cast-iron skillet; heat to 360 degrees. Add chicken, a few pieces at a time, skin side down. Do not crowd. Cover and cook 6 min. Uncover and cook 9 min.
TURN chicken pieces; cover and cook 6 min. Uncover and cook 5-9 min., turning pieces during the last 3 min. for even browning, if necessary. Drain chicken on paper towels or rack; keep warm.
NOTE: For best results, keep the oil temperature between 300 and 325 degrees. You may substitute 2 c. buttermilk for the saltwater solution.