Much like a frightened baby Chipmunk or a haggard coyote, when the weather becomes the least bit chilly, my cravings often redirect toward things that will keep me warm and sleepy. Freshly sliced pineapple and fish tacos sadly just don’t seem right after October 1st.
After burning roughly 6,000 calories paddling up the 8-foot tide drop by Hogan’s Marina on Wilmington Island in a sit-on-top kayak with a most unforgiving seat back, something wrapped in a warm blanket of grits or butter sounded pretty damn fantastic. It was around my last few anguished strokes toward the dock when I recalled coming across the recipe that was used for fried chicken on the set of The Help.
If there was a time to use a recipe that calls for 24 ounces of pure, unadulterated Crisco, this was the time.
If you have read the book/seen the movie/read quotes on IMDB to use in case someone talks to you about the book and/or movie, you’ll recall how Minny says this fried chicken “bubbles up like a song.” It’s true. I was a smidge nervous about bringing so much vegetable shortening to 365 American degrees, but much like a gentle, percolating hot spring, the Crisco crisps a salty crust around each piece.
Besides a tub of Crisco, you’ll need:
- A 4lb. chicken cut up into 8 pieces: as someone who decided to cut up a whole chicken after such a kayak voyage, I erase all judgment from your mind of buying a package of chicken pieces. Skin on friends, skin on.
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole milk: if you only have 2%, don’t fret. If you only have skim, or as my mother calls it, blue water, maybe start fretting.
- 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon seasoned salt like Krazy Jane’s or Lawry’s
- 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper: if you haven’t discovered the wonders and joys of Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper, well, you just don’t know how good salt n pepa can be.
Pat chicken pieces dry and line a baking sheet with wax paper. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Dunk the chicken in the egg and milk mixture. While the chicken hangs out in that bowl, mix the flour, salt and pepper in another bowl. Dredge the chicken through the flour mixture and place on the baking sheet.
In a 12-inch cast iron pan (If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, but you do have 30 minutes, run to Target and buy a Lodge cast iron skillet. It’s pre-seasoned! You will send me a handwritten thank you note, I promise. If you don’t have 30 minutes, go ahead and use whatever large skillet you have.) heat the vegetable shortening to 365 degrees. The setting 6 on your burner dial should accomplish this in a little more than 15 minutes. Add all of the chicken and keep close watch. In 20-25 minutes, your chicken should be fried up and fixin’ to be ate. If you’d like to double check, use a meat thermometer to see if a leg reads around 160-170 degrees.
Drain chicken on a bed of paper towels, sprinkle with salt and serve with mashed potatoes or turnips and green beans.
The black quinoa, salmon filets and pomegranate juice will be there in the morning.