You've Got To Try Mama's Bossy Fried Chicken
If you're a novice cook, it's intimidating to join Mama at her cast iron skillet and attempt Southern fried chicken. There's an art to frying, and it takes time to master. Mama knows that. Just listen to Her Bossiness and you'll be fine.
1 whole fryer, cut up
Mama Says: "I don't like a big ol' chicken. I like a little fryer. You know I think I might raise me some chickens one o' these days."
Salt and Pepper
Mama Says: "I guess at it."
Mama Says: "As much as you need to cover the chicken you've got in whatever bowl you put it in."
2-3 cups White Lilly Self-Rising Flour
Mama Says: "Why do I fry chicken in White Lilly? Because White Lilly's what you fry chicken in."
Mama Says: "Just a tat. About ¼ tsp I imagine."
1 cup milk & 1 cup buttermilk
Mama Says: "You're gonna stir those together, so just think of them as one ingredient. They're your wet dip."
Mama Says: "The MOST important thing about frying chicken is to get that oil hot enough."
STEP 1: Cut up chicken; remove skin from all pieces except wings and drumsticks; use a paring knife to remove any little pockets of fat or unsavory-looking stuff from each piece.
Mama Says: "I know you'd get a better crust with the skin on, but that's just way too much fat."
Baby Girl's "Don't Tell Mama" Editorial Note: "Why cut up a chicken when you can buy one already dismembered? That's all I'm sayin'."
STEP 2: Put chicken pieces in mixing bowl and cover with buttermilk; cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Mama Says: "If you don't have any buttermilk, just soak it in salt water."
STEP 3: Lay chicken pieces out in a single layer in a pan and sprinkle both sides with salt.
Mama Says: "Give it a good sprinkle on both sides."
STEP 4: Place flour in medium-sized bowl; sprinkle salt, pepper, and paprika over the flour, and mix it together. In a separate dish, stir together milk and buttermilk.
Mama Says: "You want to get your assembly line ready so you can move quickly once you start frying."
STEP 5: Pour oil to a 1 ½ inch depth in a large skillet and heat to 360 degrees.
Mama Says: "If you use cast iron—and you should—watch that heat because your oil will get hot faster than it will in an aluminum skillet."
STEP 6: When your oil is hot, dip each piece in the milk mixture and shake off any excess; then dredge in flour, covering well. Use tongs to gently place each piece in hot oil. (Place chicken pieces thick side down. It would've been skin side down, but we took the skin off, remember?)
Mama Says: "Put your legs and thighs in first since they take the longest to cook. And don't crowd your skillet. Your oil will sort of bubble up over the chicken when it gets to cooking good."
Mama Also Says: "You might have to cook a few pieces after the others are done, just to keep from crowding the skillet. If you cook the liver and gizzard, prick them with a fork several times before you put them in—that'll help keep them from popping hot grease on you."
And Another Thing: "Do NOT dredge pieces until you're ready to put them in oil. You could end up with a soggy mess. I don't like sog on my chicken."
STEP 7: Keep watch. When the bottom side of your chicken is golden brown, turn it over.
Mama Says: "Now, if you're cooking a big chicken, cover it with a lid as soon as you turn it, and check it after about five minutes. You might have to turn it a second time to get the big pieces done."
STEP 8: When chicken is golden brown on both sides, remove one piece and cut it to make sure it's done. Drain all chicken pieces on paper towels in a large plate or platter.
Mama Says:"You want to know the yield? I'd say it'll serve about anybody you need to feed after church on Sunday."
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