The Perfect Fried Chicken
red hot pepper sauce
Cut up chicken into 8 pieces, then cut each chicken breast in half crosswise.
Combine buttermilk, ½ teaspoon salt and red pepper sauce in a large 2-gallon resealable plastic storage bag; add chicken.
Seal bag and turn chicken with buttermilk mixture to coat.
Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight, turning bag over once.
- Combine flour, paprika, pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in pie plate or shallow dish.
Work with several pieces of chicken at a time.
Remove chicken from buttermilk, shaking off excess.
Add to flour mixture, turning to coat evenly.
Transfer pieces to wire rack.
Repeat process with remaining chicken; let stand 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to 250?F.
Line a jelly-roll pan with double layer of paper towels.
Heat shortening in 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, until temperature reaches 360?F on a deep-fry thermometer. Add several pieces of chicken, skin side down, but be careful not to crowd them.
Cover skillet and cook until bottoms of pieces are lightly golden, 5 minutes.
Turn pieces and cook, covered (adjusting heat to medium-low to maintain a 275?F. to 300?F. temperature), 7 to 10 minutes more for white meat, 12 to 15 minutes for dark meat, turning pieces every 4 to 5 minutes until deep-golden and cooked through.
Drain pieces on paper towels; transfer to baking sheet and keep warm in oven.
Repeat process, cooking remaining chicken.
Serve with coleslaw and biscuits, if desired.
Makes 5 servings (10 pieces).