Mary Hoover’s Southern Fried Chicken
1 chicken, cut into pieces
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Oil, for frying, either vegetable or peanut oil
Place the flour in a paper bag, and after putting salt and pepper on the chicken put the pieces only 2 or 3 at a time inside the paper bag, shake it.
Heat the oil to 350 degrees in a deep frying pan or pot. Do not fill the pot more than 1/2 full with oil.
Fry the chicken in the oil until brown and crisp. Dark meat takes longer then white meat. It should take dark meat about 15 minutes, white meat around 8 to 10 minutes.
Martha Hall Foose’s Proper Fried Chicken
1 (3-lb.) chicken, cut up
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp. hot pepper sauce
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 cups vegetable shortening or lard
Soak the chicken in the buttermilk and hot sauce in the refrigerator 2 to 8 hours. Drain in a colander and pat dry with paper towels. Place on a wire rack set over something to catch drips.
To fry, put the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a double paper bag or plastic sack. One piece at a time, shake chicken in the bag with the flour, turning over and over to coat evenly; put coated chicken on the wire rack. Let the chicken sit for 10 minutes before frying. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the coating flour if you are going to make gravy, and discard the rest.
Set a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with newspaper or paper towels. Heat 1 cup of the shortening in a deep cast-iron skillet to 365 degrees. It needs to be 1/2 -inch deep, or enough to come halfway up the chicken pieces; add more if needed. Gently lower the chicken, skin side down, into the hot oil. Don’t crowd; work in batches if needed. (Keep temperature at 350 after chicken is added.)
Cover with the lid slightly ajar and cook for 6 minutes. Remove the lid and rearrange the pieces, but don’t turn them yet. Cover again and let cook for 6 more minutes.
Turn the chicken over and season the cooked side with salt and pepper. Cook uncovered for about 8 minutes for white meat and 12 minutes for dark meat, rearranging halfway through until the crust is deep brown and the chicken is cooked through. Drain on the rack set over paper.
Serves 4 to 6.