Trisha’s biggest complaint about fried chicken is that all the flavor ends up on the outside, and the meat is usually bland, but “not my mama’s,” she says. Her mom’s secret is in soaking the chicken pieces in salt brine, making the meat tasty.
• 8 pieces chicken, white or dark meat
• 2 tablespoons salt
• 2 cups peanut oil
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 cups milk
• Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Put the chicken pieces in a large bowl, and cover with water. Sprinkle salt in the water, and cover the bowl. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
2. Pour oil into an electric frying pan or deep, heavy skillet to a depth of 1 inch. Heat oil to 375 F. (Check temperature by sprinkling flour over the oil. If the flour sizzles, the oil is hot enough.)
3. Drain water from chicken. Sprinkle chicken pieces with pepper, and coat with flour. Carefully place chicken in hot oil. Place cover on pan, and open the vent to allow a small amount of steam to escape. Cook for 15 minutes.
4. Using tongs, turn chicken pieces. Replace cover, and cook for 15 minutes more, or until done. Use a sharp, thin-bladed knife to check for doneness by slicing a drumstick to the bone. Neither the meat nor the juices should be pink. Drain chicken pieces on paper towels, and keep warm while you make the gravy.
5. To make gravy, pour off all but 4 tablespoons oil from pan, leaving the bits of browned flour in the pan. Sprinkle in flour. Stirring with a whisk, cook flour and drippings until flour is browned, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk, and cook until gravy thickens, 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Reprinted with permission from Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen. Copyright © 2008 by Trisha Yearwood. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.