Several years ago my sister was sharing a recipe with me and she said, 'then you fry it, just like when you make fried chicken'. At that moment, I realized that I didn't know how to make fried chicken.
Fast forward about nine years. Two months ago my daughter asked me if she'd ever had fried chicken. Sure I replied, at KFC. She asked why I'd never made it for her. Good question I thought. My answer was simple - I'd tried it a few times, a few different ways and never like how it turned out...as such, I never make it.
At that moment, I decided to go on a fried chicken recipe quest.
I spent two full days (it seemed like at least) watching youtube video tutorials and visiting several different websites trying to figure out which recipe was really the best. Then, I set out trying some of the different recipes, and I think I've finally perfected one that my family likes. My daughter ate two whole pieces of this the other night as she closed her eyes in bliss, informing us that THIS is her comfort food.
As I sifted through all of the recipes, I think I liked Alton Brown's the best. However, I don't always have buttermilk on hand and 24 hrs. to plan ahead. The rest of his recipe was super simple - which I adapted and really works for us.
The first time I made this, I bought the whole fryer and tried to figure out how to cut it up (I know - who doesn't know how to properly cut up a chicken?...ME!) It was interesting to say the least and I honestly didn't think it was worth the time and the effort (and I hope my mother doesn't read this because she'd be appalled!)
The second time I made this, I purchased thigh fillets - deboned and skinned from the grocery store on sale. I let them rest in milk for maybe 10 minutes. They only took about 20 minutes to cook, which was GREAT!
The picture shown above was made with frozen (de-boned and skinned) thigh fillets. I microwaved them for a couple of minutes to help the defrosting process, then soaked them in milk. Some of the milk froze onto them, but they seem to turn fantastic nonetheless!
Here's our family's favorite recipe for Simple Fried Chicken
8 boneless & skinless thigh fillets (we like the thighs because they are more flavorful and less dry)
1 c. flour
2 t. seasoning salt
1 1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. crushed basil
1/4 t. crushed oregano
1 1/2 t. paprika
2 c. milk
Place chicken in milk and allow to soak for 10-30 minutes.
Combine all other ingredients in a ziplock bag and shake to incorporate.
Place chicken pieces one at a time in bag and gently toss to coat.
Melt 1/3 c. shortening in cast iron pan (cast iron allows for better heat distribution and better cooking), and heat oil to medium high heat. Place flour & spice coated chicken pieces in pan.
Slide digital thermometer probe into the middle of one of the pieces and cover pan with a splatter screen (I highly recommend a silicone splatter screen. I recently purchased one and I AM IN LOVE WITH IT!) Once chicken has reached an internal temperature of 160*, using tongs, carefully turn chicken pieces over and replace splatter screen. Once chicken has reached an internal temperature of 170*, turn off heat and remove from pan onto serving dish. Cover with foil and allow to rest for approximately 10 minutes.
Make sure to only turn chicken ONE time. Also, regulate heat. If it gets too hot, the oil will begin to smoke and the chicken will burn so watch carefully and adjust as needed.