The thing is, there's not a whole lot more delicious than good home fried chicken. The crunch of the crispy crust, the mix of spices, the juicy succulent chicken. Oh dear, it's good. All you need is a foolproof recipe, and I've got one for you. I had never before fried a chicken. I hadn't even watched someone else fry a chicken. This worked perfectly, on the first try, and I have to say, was just as mouth-wateringly scrumptious cold the next day as it was hot when I served it. Labor Day's coming, maybe this is the year to do a good old southern feast instead of those hot dogs you'd planned on.
OVEN FRIED CHICKEN
method courtesy of Ina Garten
1 chicken - you can cut yours yourself, but I like to buy the 8 piece pack, all cut up for you.
2 cups buttermilk
2 t hot sauce
2-3 C flour
3 T Essence - you can probably buy this, but I make it myself and store it in a spice jar.
veggie oil (or canola oil, or whatever you've got on hand)
oil thermometer, meat thermometer, large heavy bottomed pot (I used my dutch oven), sheet pan (with a rim), metal baking rack (I use the same thing I use to cool my cookies on).
Look at your chicken pieces and trim off any nasty bits. In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk and hot sauce. Put the chicken into the buttermilk, turning each piece to make sure it's coated. Let the chicken rest in the buttermilk at least two hours, but overnight if you have the time.
Preheat your oven to 350 F. In a large dish mix the flour and essence until well mixed. Dip each piece of chicken in the flour mixture until it's thoroughly coated and there are no real wet spots. Pour the oil into your pot (the reason for a deeper pot is to avoid as much splattering of hot oil). You want it to be about 1" deep. Heat the oil to 360 F.
If you're new to frying, keep your eyes glued to that temperature, you'd like it to stay near 360, don't let it get too high or two low. Mine went up and down and up again, I was constantly adjusting my stove burner from high to low. When you add the chicken (only drop in a few pieces, DO NOT do all at once), the temperature will drop, so keep that in mind. Fry for three minutes on each side until it is a nice light golden brown. Then remove and place on the baking rack. Continue frying chicken in batches until it's all done.
Place your rack of chicken on its sheet pan and pop in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Ina says to cook until it's not pink inside, but I recommend using a meat thermometer instead so you don't wreck your beautiful chicken by checking on it.