Coast Cooking

Fried chicken is atop the list of Southern favorites


Special to the Sun Herald

Try this fried chicken recipe.
Try this fried chicken recipe.

A discussion about Southern food would not be complete without a few words on fried chicken.

I have to admit I have yet to find that perfect recipe, but I have certainly had some pretty good fried chicken.

The Old Country Store in Lorman claims to make the best, and I do not think I have ever had better. Chef Alex Perry of Vestige in Ocean Springs tells me he can do better, but we just haven’t gotten around to that challenge yet.

I hope we do one day soon.

So what’s a poor cook to do? I have a few suggestions, but no absolute recipe.

No. 1 is, of course, to use the best-quality chicken you can find.

If I were to describe their short and unhappy lives to you, you would be appalled. Second is to give the chicken a good bath is seasoned buttermilk or whole milk.

Batter by dipping in milk (using the bath milk is fine), then into flour seasoned aggressively with salt and pepper. Use clean oil, do not overfill the pot, do not crowd the pot with cold chicken, and keep the temperature steady.

Lastly, as always, do not overcook the chicken. Serve as quickly as possible after removing from the hot oil and draining.

If you can make a pan gravy, and offer up some homemade biscuits, then you are about to dine like a king.