Get-Thee-Behind-Me Fried Chicken

• 1 Chicken
• 3 eggs
• 2 cups flour
• 1 generously heaping tbs salt (I usually fill the measuring spoon over the bowl until the salt starts falling off the side)
• 1 heaping tsp garlic powder
• 1 heaping tsp onion powder
• 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
• 1 tbs dried crushed parsley
• 1 tsp sugar
• 1 tsp pepper

Cut the chicken into pieces. Use a sharp knife.

(If you’ve never cut up a chicken before, aim for the middle of the joint between the leg and the thigh. A little wiggling of the knife blade will show you the path through the joint. The thigh joint is hidden, but make sure you get all the meat along the body next to the thigh, then you’ll see it. Aim for the middle of the shoulder joint to remove the wing, using the same method as the previous two. What you’ll have left is the back and the two breasts connected. Separate the ribs by poking the knife inside, facing up and slicing through the small gap between the front and back ribs. The breasts will still be connected to the back by the shoulder. Gently pull it off, using your knife when needed. Separate the breasts by laying then back down on your cutting board and pushing the tip of your knife into the soft white area where the cartilage starts. Cut from that point to the end of the breasts. Go back and place the knife in the middle of the remaining bone, and pop the end of the handle with your palm. The tip will sink into the bone. This will allow you leverage enough to separate the breasts.)

The usual method provides eight pieces, 2 wings, 2 breasts, 2 legs and 2 thighs. To make the chicken go further, take the breasts and thighs and cut a large chunk of meat from the thick part of each to provide four more pieces. This also allows for more surface area for the coating.

Whip the three eggs together in a bowl large enough to fit the largest piece of chicken. Mix the dry ingredients together in a second bowl, as large if not larger. Once both bowls are prepared, place a large platter between the flour bowl and the stove. Set the pan (you’ll need one at least 13 inches across to fit the average size chicken) on the stove and begin heating it. The Chinese say “warm pan, cold oil” as their method of preventing sticking. Use medium heat.

Take the first piece of chicken with your right hand and coat it thoroughly in the whipped eggs. Drop it into the flour mixture, and with your left hand toss some of the flour onto the piece. By using you right hand for the wet work, and your left hand for the dry work, you avoid the clumpy mess that usually results in cooking chicken. (If your kitchen is situated so that you approach your stove from the left rather then the right, then reverse the hands) Turn the piece and coat it thoroughly. Make sure every nook and cranny is well coated. Lay the piece at the top of the platter, and as you continue, work your way down the platter, so the pieces are laid more or less in the order they were coated.

Place the coated piece in the platter. After the second or third piece, pour about a half an inch of oil (canola seems to work the best) in the pan. Finish dipping and coating the pieces and place them in the platter until there are three or four pieces remaining. Stop, and turn the burner beneath the pan on high.

Finish dipping and coating the chicken. Wash and dry your hands, and take the top piece of chicken (which should be the first coated). By this time the coating will be moist. Recoat it and place it in the oil. The oil should respond with a nice boil. Recoat each piece from the first to the last, in order, and place them in the pan. When the last piece is in the pan, cover the pan, and set the timer for 13 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium. The lid should rattle and splatter a little, but not pop and spew.

When the timer goes off, using a fork, turn each piece. Cover and set the timer for another 13 minutes. Clean your platter and line it with three or four layers of paper towels.

When the timer goes off the second time, the chicken should be a beautiful golden brown. Transfer the pieces from the pan to the platter. At this point you will be thinking that the chicken looks way to perfect to just eat, and perhaps be considering just displaying it. Bend down and take a good whiff and those thoughts will go right out of your head.


(hint: more than likely you will have some of the flour coating left over. If you sift this, and wait until you turn the chicken, you can use some of the oil in the pan, with some milk to make a gravy, that is almost as good as the chicken.)

Suggestions: Since you have stretches of time while the chicken cooks, you can make biscuits, fried or mashed potatoes or some vegetables to go with the meal. The gravy goes very well over fried or mashed potatoes and over the biscuits, too.

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