I just taught a super-fun fried chicken class at Whole Foods. We made three very different recipes of chicken and some unforgettable tomato gravy to spoon over our crispy drumsticks. While we devoured the array of chicken, I took a poll. I was dying to find out which chicken everyone liked best. I must admit, I did have a stake in this contest - my grandmother's recipe, Miss Tom's Fried Chicken, was among the three.
I couldn't have been prouder when the hands rose towards the ceiling in favor of Miss Tom's famously good chicken.
Miss Tom’s Fried Chicken
3.5 lb. Cut-up whole chicken
1/4 cup salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
Place chicken in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup salt and cover with cold water. Cover and soak chicken for 45 minutes.
Remove chicken from salt water; drain on paper towels.
Heat shortening in an 8-inch cast iron skillet or a large deep skillet to about 360 degrees.
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Coat each piece completely with flour and gently place chicken in hot shortening. Fry 10 to 12 minutes per side or until golden brown, about 25 minutes total.
Check the temperature of the oil occasionally. If the oil is too hot, the chicken will be too brown on the outside but not fully cooked through.
Fry chicken in batches to prevent the skillet from becoming crowded.
Drain cooked chicken on paper towels or the more traditional folded brown paper grocery bag.