When it comes to southern fried chicken, my mom is a legend. Over the years, I’ve seen family members scarf down up to seven pieces of her southern fried chicken. I pinkie swear!
Yes, it’s that good. The first time my husband tasted my mom’s southern fried chicken, he was hooked – on me and my mom’s cooking!
Over the years, I’ve watched mom fry chicken for 75+ people and never blink an eye. After all, she was in the zone when it came to frying chicken. Of course, mom doesn’t have a recipe. I mean, what southern cook goes by a recipe? However, I’ve watched her so many times over the years, I think I’ve got it down pat.
How to Make Mom’s Southern Fried Chicken
To Brine or Not to Brine
Brine simply means to soak in salty water. It makes the chicken more tender. Some southern cooks soak their chicken in buttermilk. Mom did not. After cutting up her Claxton chickens (the only brand she used and yes, she cut up her own chicken), mom would place them in a brine (salty water) and let them sit overnight in the fridge.
The Smaller, the Better
I’ve heard mom say a million times to always use small chickens when you’re making fried chicken. The smaller the bird, the more tender the chicken. These chickens are often referred to as broilers/fryers.
I’m about to give you the secret to mom’s amazing southern fried chicken! Her coating is really simple. There’s no dipping station needed. There are no eggs or buttermilk.
It’s just self-rising flour, salt, and pepper. That’s it. We don’t like a thick coating and mom’s chicken is always tender and delicious.
The Oil for Frying
Peanut oil is the only oil I use when it comes to frying chicken. Peanut oil has a high smoke point and neutral taste. It’s perfect for frying foods. It’s also low in saturated fat and high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Heat Oil to 350º F. When you place the chicken into the hot oil, it will drop to 325º F, the perfect temperature for frying chicken.
Deep-Fry Method: If you’re frying the chicken in a deep fryer, cook dark meat for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Chicken breasts cook faster, about 10-12 minutes. Place on a towel-lined platter to drain.
To cook chicken in a skillet: Heat 1/2″ oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken skin side down for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Turn and cook for another 15 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown.
- 2 small broiler/fryer chickens, cut up
- Peanut oil for frying
- Brine (4 cups water, 4 Tablespoons salt)
- Self Rising Flour
- Salt, Pepper to taste
- Soak chicken overnight in the salt water brine.
- Before frying, remove chicken and rinse. Pat dry.
- Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil to 350º F.
- While oil is heating, dip chicken pieces in self-rising flour to coat.
- Deep Fryer: Cook dark meat for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Chicken breasts cook faster, about 10-12 minutes. Place on a towel-lined platter to drain.
- Pan Fry: Heat 1/2" oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken skin side down for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Turn and cook for another 15 minutes or until chicken is golden brown.
- Drain on a paper-towel lined platter.
When I was a little girl, I remember mom frying chicken in a cast-iron skillet on her gas stove. As I grew up, they took it outside with a huge deep fryer.
Mom prepared the chicken and dad fried it and all was right with my world.
My mom would give her southern fried chicken recipe up at the drop of a hat. My uncle always said his chicken never came out quite like my mom’s. I say it’s because of the love my mom put into everything she cooked.
Helpful Hint: Click here to find an excellent article on healthy cooking oils for deep frying!
I do hope you try my mom’s recipe and let me know what you think!
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