In the morning, go buy some whole chickens at Kroger. Cut ’em up into pieces. Save the innards.
Put all the chicken pieces (including the innards) in a big bowl with water, with a bunch of salt, some garlic, some sugar, and some onion powder. Then leave the house and go to a coffee joint (like Frothy Monkey). Have some coffee and bread (I recommend a croissant) while you read the New York Times Sunday edition that you bought at Kroger with the chicken.
Go home and remove the chicken from the brine. Throw out the brine and in the same bowl soak the chicken in buttermilk. Go back into town on an errand. If you don’t have any errands to do, make one up (I recommend searching for a new bumper sticker for your Jeep). While you’re at it, call someone up and invite them over for dinner later.
Go back home and pull the chicken out of the buttermilk. In a large paper sack, add 3 cups of flour, some seasoning salt (like Lawry’s), onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper. Just use your best judgement. Toss the chicken pieces – and innards – in the flour mixture in the bag and set aside on a baking sheet.
Melt a can of Crisco, adding a bit of bacon fat if you have it on hand (never fully dispose of bacon fat!) in a cast iron dutch oven on the stove. Using a cooking thermometer with a hook on the back, heat the Crisco up to 375 degrees, or deep frying temperature. Add the chicken, cook it until it’s a real pretty color and a meat thermometer inserted into the meat but not touching the bone reads between 160 and 165. Remove the chicken to a cooling rack set over a baking pan (to allow the oil to drip from the chicken but not all over the counter). Cook the innards last because otherwise they will taint the flavor of the Crisco.
Meanwhile, someone else that you are cooking with might want to make some side dishes like Beer Mac & Cheese and mini corn muffins. You might want to add a little bacon fat to those as well, but it’s not necessary.
If you want more vegetables other than the macaroni and cheese, you can blanch some green beans, but be sure to add a little bacon fat so they tie in with the rest of the meal.
Serve with hard lemonade or Miller High Life. Serve the innards to the dog (if your boyfriend has not already eaten them).
Original post appeared in Journal du Journaliste, 9/4/11