Momma Pat's Fried Chicken

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Feb 9, 2010
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Pat Dent (or Momma Pat, as I liked to call her) was an upstanding Georgia Peach that married my wife's uncle. Her and I hit it off from the moment I met her. She was kind, indulging, and amazingly charming. She was the kind of person who would wear white gloves to church, then have you laughing your head off after a few drinks on the back porch afterwards. She died about 5 years ago and she left behind a multitude of people that miss her dearly!

One night, after we all had sampled several of my vintages, she made the comment that the only thing she saw that was wrong with Yankees is that they have no idea how to make good fried chicken. After a good laugh, I responded by saying that the only thing wrong with southerners is that they keep making good fried chicken a secret. We both laughed knowing exactly where this was going.

After making chicken with her on 3 different occasions, she had me make it for a "panel of experts". She invited some of her friends to dinner and had me make it. The judge's scores were.....

One "ya'll made this nice and juicy."s,
three "I liked the spices you used."s,
and two "are you sure you are not southern?"s..

Any way, learning to make chicken with Momma Pat is one of my fondest memories. I think of her every time I make it.

Here is the recipe...

I start with two whole chickens (small). I like to butcher them up myself, cutting drumsticks, thighs, and wings. I then run the knife down to remove the backbone, then split the chicken into two breast pieces.

I then place the chicken into a large bowl, add about a cup of water, then add..

5 tblsp. of old bay seasoning,
4 tblsp of kosher salt,
Then a tsp each of black pepper, ground thyme, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, celery seed, and sage.

I mix the chicken (with my hands) until all pieces are coated, then settle them in the bowl so that all pieces are sitting covered in the resulting liquid.

I put the chicken in the fridge for at least two hours (overnight would be even better).

I use a large cast iron skillet (an electric frying pan will work too, but not quite as well) and heat about 1 to 2 inches of oil to 360 degrees.

I pour 4 or 5 cups of unseasoned AP flour into a very large bowl. Working in batches, I take each piece of chicken out of the brine and into the flour. Press the four into the chicken and leave each piece covered in four for 5 minutes of so. Take each piece out, shake off the excess flour, and place (carefully) into the hot oil. Once in the oil DO NOT MOVE THEM until it is time to flip them.

Cook the chicken one side for 8 minutes (for drumsticks, thighs, and wings) or 10 minutes (for chicken breasts). Then flip each piece and cook for 8 or 10 minutes until GOLDEN, BROWN, and DELICIOUS. Take each piece out of the oil and onto a wire rack. Allow chicken to drain and rest for 5 minutes. (5 minutes is the limit on the amount of time that you can keep others from grabbing a piece. You can only fight them off for so long).

It is, perhaps, not the healthiest of meals, but it is a rather inexpensive one...

Two small chickens that I cut into 16 pieces costs me about $10
The vegetable oil costs about $2
The flour and spices add perhaps $1.
Add some mashed potatoes for about $2
add some string beans for, say $2
Go the extra mile and make biscuits out of the flour leftover from dredging the chicken, add $1 for a lump of Crisco and some baking powder.

So, a meal for eight people = $18.00.
A very tasty meal for just $2.25 per person!!


Mildly Amused
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Jan 19, 2022
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Central Alberta
I got home later last night. I was out for dinner at a friend's. I decided to jump on here as we wound down before heading to bed. I was replying to @winemaker81's amazing looking steak on the What's for dinner thread, and this gem of a post popped up in the similar threads list below this post.

It's a great story and I appreciate that you shared it @JohnT.

Now, I don't take it lightly to be presented with an opportunity to make something rarely shared, authentic, traditional to a region, or something that meant so much to a person that they shared it to pass on the experience to others. Well, this one is all of the above.

I got home from a delivery a couple hours ago with it still on my mind. I wasn't gonna wait for whole chickens to thaw, so I pulled out thighs. I have followed the recipe exactly as written, other than cutting it in half for the smaller amount of chicken.. Which I will likely regret.

This is the kind of cooking that I really enjoy. Making something made the way it's supposed to be!

I'm posting here to rejuvenate this post. I'll share the results here, and in what's for dinner as well, to see if I can't get some of these slackers to show Momma Pats recipe the respect it deserves... AND MAKE IT! 🙂

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