Monday, March 10, 2008

Real Southern Cookin'

Do you want some true Southern cooking? Are you dying for some deep fried goodness? I've got it for you! I've also got the recipe for the classic Southern Drink - Iced Tea.

How to cook real Southern Fried Chicken:

I'm going to start you (ya'll) out with the simplest way to make this dish. This is the height of true Southern Cuisine. If you can't make this, forget it and just come on down to the South. This is also called Soul food. It's the same thing folks, don't let others fool you. If you've got a thing against fried foods because you're all healthy and all, umm, this might not be for you. But if you feel like hardening the arteries, boy are ya'll gonna to love this!


1. If you've never made it before, start with Boneless Chicken Tenders. They come in a handy pack all raw and everything. You can make this with bone in chicken pieces and they are excellent, but it takes way longer and it's a little more difficult to judge if the pieces are done.

2. Flour - I use Self Rising so it makes a fluffier/Crispier crust, but all purpose works too.

3. Salt & Pepper

4. Vegetable Oil

5. egg (optional)

First off, tell the spouse and chillins to go over yonder and not bug you. That's Southern speak for tell everybody to get lost. This isn't something you want to do with the rugrats hangin' onto your skirts.

Now, You're going to need a frying pan or deep sided skillet. I use the skillet. Add vegetable oil and turn the heat to high and leave it for a sec.

In a shallow bowl, add your flour. How much you add depends on how much chicken you're going to be fryin'. I make it about an inch or two deep in my favorite bowl (you can see it in the pic - it's a pasta bowl.)

Add salt and pepper to taste. Yes, I said taste that raw flour. That's a mistake a lot of people make in cooking, they don't taste as they add things. You haven't added raw chicken yet to the mixture so it's perfectly safe to do this. When you add the S & P, you want to be able to just taste the salt. If you taste it immediately you either haven't mixed it in well with the flour or you've added too much. If the latter is the case, add a little more flour to the mix. You may also pretend to be Colonel Sanders and add random spices - play around with the spices, it's fun!

Now for the chicken. Pat it down a little and make sure there is no moisture on it. You'll notice in the pic that I haven't done this step yet. You can dip it in egg if you wish or skip that step.

Nekkid Chicken

Take a tender (in egg or not) and put it into the flour. This next step is critical: Don't just barely put it into the flour. SMUSH it in the flour, then turn it over and do it again, and again and one more time. As I do this, I also push more flour onto it. You want this sucker to be very thick with flour.
Chicken properly clothed

Take a minute to check your oil. How can you tell when your oil is hot enough? Take the wrong end of a wooden spoon and put it into the oil. If you see some bubbles forming around it like it's boiling, the oil is ready, if not, give it another few minutes. If it's ready, turn the heat down a bit to Med. High, otherwise you'll have oil spattering everywhere and your chicken will be too brown, too fast.

Place the prepared chicken piece into the oil. Use tongs if you've got them or a large spool with a long handle to do this. Please be safe, this is a dangerous dish (and messy) to prepare. Oil hurts, trust me, I learned it the hard way.
Definitely messy

You can prepare side dishes at this time. This is a dish that takes time to prepare, especially if you use bone-in chicken. It's going to take about 4-6 minutes per side to cook. When both sides are a pretty golden brown, remove from skillet and place onto towels to soak up the excess oil on it. I put a paper grocery bag underneath three or four paper towels for this. Oil will go right through the towels, but not the bag. The bag is optional as well of course.

Please double check to see if the chicken is done. Cut it in two and look at the meat. If it's white you're set, pink, put it back in to cook a little longer.

If you make this recipe, or have any questions about it, let me know! I'd love to know how it turns out and I'll gladly answer any questions you may have.

Southern Iced Tea:

You can't have the above dish without Southern Iced Tea. I mean, that would just be plain ol' UnAmerican!

I've traveled around the World and have found that the only place you can order this is in the South. Oh, you can order it, but it comes unsweetened, yuck! They also look at you funny (like you've sprouted two heads) when you order Sweetened Ice Tea.

Anyway, here's how to do it properly:

This recipe is for 1 gallon. Sorry, it's the only amount I know how to make at a time.


3 large family tea bags (can be caf or decaf)
Pan/Pot - not a dinky sauce pan either - a pot (see pic)
Gallon pitcher/container
Sugar 3/4 cup to 2 cups (your choice see below)

Fill pot full of water and turn heat on high. You want to make sure the water is almost boiling, but not a full boil. If it gets to a full boil, turn off the heat and let it sit a minute. Tea is one of those things that if you let it boil, it can turn bitter, so be careful. You want to see teeny tiny bubbles barely floating to the top. When this happens turn off the heat. Place the 3 tea bags in the water and walk away. Yes, I said walk away. It needs to sit a spell and steep. You can leave it for 15 minutes or 30, but not more.

Why? Because of the Sugar!

Get your pitcher out. It's time to add some sweetness. How much? Depends. I don't like my tea to be syrupy sweet. I add a little less than 3/4 cup of sugar per gallon.

I have an Aunt (that's pronounced Ain't down here) that likes the syrupy stuff. It's two cups for her gallon of tea. In her defense, it's because of the lemon. People who normally like it this way add a bunch of lemon to their tea. It's quite good that way actually.

You want your sugar to be able to dissolve, so don't wait until your tea on the stove is too cold.

Pour the pan of tea into the pitcher with the sugar. Stir together. You will probably not have a full pitcher. You could use a dutch oven full of water I guess to make your tea, but that's not needed. So, add more water or ice or both until the liquid level is at the top of the gallon pitcher/container.

Your tea may look ready, but it's not. It needs to sit in the fridge for a while. It will get sweeter as it cools off. Taste it when it's cold. That's when you'll know if you've added the right amount of sugar really. It's all according to your preferences. If it's overly sweet, add lemon this time and cut back on the sugar amount next time.

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