Coast Cooking

Coast Cooking: Fried chicken, it's a Southern thing

Fried chicken is perhaps the most iconic of all Southern foods.

It has become almost a caricature of what we eat, but most of the uninitiated get it wrong.

Fried chicken used to be a special food for Sunday dinner.

If you had fried chicken all the time, your flock of chickens would soon be depleted. What birds got fried were in excess to the flock -- a young rooster that was not needed. Older birds, roosters and hens, that could no longer do their duties headed for the stew pot. They were too tough to fry.

Great fried chicken requires several things a top quality bird.

Next you need the patience to follow the recipe and not take any short cuts.

1 hen cut up into 8 pieces

2-3 cups self-rising flour

2-3 whole eggs

1/3 cup water

Salt and pepper

Deep fryer set to 315 f.

1 paper bag, opened at the seams

Crack the eggs, add to a large bowl, add the water and whisk. Season aggressively with pepper and a little salt. Add the flour to another large bowl and season again. Make sure the chicken is at room temperature. Toss the chicken in the egg wash, shake off the excess and then toss in the flour. Lay all the chicken out on the paper sack. Add the chicken to the fryer, starting with the dark meat. It takes 2-3 minutes longer than the white. Cooking time is 10-13 minutes, maybe longer. Remove from the fryer, let drain on the paper sack and serve still hot.