Cooking Time: 1 hour plus time to marinate, 2-12 hours
Two 2-1/2 pound frying chickens, cut into serving pieces (or a selection of skin-on breast, leg, and thigh pieces to weigh about 5 pounds)
4 cups Buttermilk
4 cups All-purpose flour
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
Lard, vegetable oil or vegetable shortening for frying
Organize your ingredients. Rinse the chicken under cold running water. Pat thoroughly dry.
Place the chicken in an extra large re-sealable plastic bag , add the buttermilk (4 cups), seal, and shake to coat. Place in the refrigerator and let marinate for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours.
When ready to fry, combine the flour (4 cups) with the salt, pepper, and cayenne in an extra large re-sealable plastic bag. Seal and shake to combine.
Working with a few pieces at a time, shake the excess buttermilk from the chicken and drop the pieces into the seasoned flour. Shake to coat well. When coated, transfer the chicken to a platter or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Do not crowd or layer or the coating will stick and leave uncovered spots on the chicken.
Add the shortening or oil into a large, deep frying pan. Place over medium-high heat.
To test the oil’s temperature, drop a small piece of batter into the pan. The oil should bubble and the batter should brown within a minute.
When the oil is ready begin adding the coated chicken without crowding the pan. Cover and fry for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. (Fry in batches if necessary.)
Uncover, turn, and recover. Fry for an additional 15 or 20 minutes or until the chicken is crisp, golden brown all over, and cooked through.
Remove from the frying pan and place on a double layer of paper towel to drain.
Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
For less mess and somewhat less fat and calories, prepare the chicken as above, but instead of frying, bake the chicken as follows:
Preheat the oven to 500º F.
Place about 1/4-inch of vegetable oil in two large rimmed baking pans.
Place in the oven and when very hot, add the chicken without crowding the pans. (Bake in batches if necessary.)
Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden.
Turn, lower the oven temperature to 400º F, and bake for another 12 minutes or until the chicken is crisp, golden brown all over, and cooked through.
Drain as directed.