Last week, Dem and I made fried chicken for the first time in our marriage. It turned out really well, and that's coming from people who aren't huge fried chicken fans. In fact, we liked it so much we thought we'd share; so, here it is.
BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN
1 broiler/fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces (two breasts, two thighs, two wings, and two drumsticks -- discard all extraneous bones)
3 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons kosher salt + 2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Flour, for dredging
Vegetable shortening (or vegetable oil), for frying
Combine the buttermilk and 2 tablespoons kosher salt in a large nonreactive bowl. Stir to blend. Immerse the chicken in the mixture and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
If using shortening, melt enough shortening (over low heat) to come just 1/8-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan. Once shortening liquefies raise heat to 325 degrees. Do not allow oil to go over 325 degrees. (325 is between your stovetop's medium and next highest setting.)
Drain chicken in a colander. Combine 2 teaspoons salt, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Liberally season chicken with this mixture. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess (easiest way to do this is to place dredging flour in a brown paper bag, place chicken inside, and shake it like a Polaroid picture).
Place chicken skin side down into the pan. Put thighs in the center, and breast and legs around the edge of the pan. The oil should come half way up the pan. Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 9 to 10 minutes per side. More importantly, the internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees. (Be careful to monitor shortening temperature every few minutes.)
Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan. Don't drain by setting chicken directly on paper towels or brown paper bags. If you need to hold the chicken before serving, cover loosely with foil but avoid holding in a warm oven, especially if it’s a gas oven.
(Attributions: this is a combination of fried chicken recipes from Alton Brown and Emeril Lagasse. You can find them at foodtv.com)