Mary Wyatt’s Southern Fried Chicken

Whole frying chicken
salt and pepper to taste
All purpose flour
Crisco lard ~ Use enough lard to provide about 1 ½ to 2 inches deep of melted lard. Do not use too much or the frying pan will overflow when you add all the chicken pieces. If Mary did not have enough lard, she added bacon grease from her stove-top container.

1. Cut chicken into individual pieces. You can substitute your favorite chicken pieces, but the flavor tastes best when you use the whole chicken ~ minus the organs, of course! Today’s chicken pieces contain more chicken skin than when she cooked. So, trim some of this excess chicken skin.
2. Rinse each chicken piece in water, shake most of the water off the chicken piece, and place the chicken piece onto a dry surface (i.e. wax paper, cookie sheet, etc.). Do not pat the chicken dry.
3. Sprinkle salt on both sides of each chicken piece.
4. Put about a 3 inch deep frying pan (preferably cast iron) onto the stove burner, add lard to the frying pan, turn the burner to a setting between medium-high and high, and melt the lard. A haze will appear over the frying pan when the oil is hot.
5. While the lard is melting, put some flour into another bowl and season the flour with some salt and a little pepper. Skip the pepper if you are cooking for kids.
6. Coat the biggest piece of chicken piece with seasoned flour and place the edge of the chicken piece into the hot oil. If the chicken edge does not sizzle, remove the chicken piece, recoat the edge of the chicken piece with seasoned flour, and try again in a few more minutes. Repeat this process until the chicken edge sizzles. Then, place the chicken piece completely into the oil.
7. Coat the next biggest chicken piece with seasoned flour and gently place the chicken piece into the hot oil. Repeat this step until the frying pan is full but not crowded. If you run out of seasoned flour before you have coated all the chicken, just make more seasoned flour.
Tip: If you add chicken pieces too quickly or crowd the frying pan, the oil will cool down too much. If the oil is not hot enough, the chicken will taste greasy and less crispy. If the oil is too hot, the chicken will look done but will be undercooked.
8. When the chicken is golden brown on one side, turn the chicken over. After cooking for a while, lift the edge of each chicken piece up to see if the second side is golden brown. If not, continue cooking. If so, remove the chicken pieces and drain on paper towels. Cook time runs around 20 -25 minutes. Repeat steps 7 and 8 until you have cooked all of the chicken pieces.

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