2-4 whole fryer chickens, 1-1/2 to 2 lb. average, cut serving size pieces
1 lb. thick sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
64 oz. peanut oil
4 Tbsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
First, take the chicken pieces—with the skin left on—and wash them thoroughly under cool running water.
Then after they’re allowed to drain for a while (maybe 10 to 15 minutes), pat them totally dry with absorbent paper towels (this is an important part of the entire process because if the chicken is even the slightest bit wet when you drop it into the deep fat, the moisture will cause the peanut oil to splatter. When they’re dry place them on a large platter.
At this point, you’re ready to fry. And here’s the surprisingly critical part. . . No, you don’t season them at all before you cook them. These birds get seasoned only after their cooked. I’ll tell you how to do that in a minute.
In the meantime, put a full 64 ounces of peanut oil (or more if needed to completely cover the chicken) into a deep fryer—you can use either an electric model or a cast iron pot. If you decide on the cast iron you’ll need to use a frying thermometer.
The oil has to be heated to exactly 350 degrees. (I know chicken is usually fried at 325, but that’s for chicken covered with batter.
See, the lower temperature allows the inside of the battered chicken to fully cook before the batter browns. You don’t have that problem with no-batter chicken—you want the higher temperature so that you’ll crisp up the skin).
When you’re ready to begin, drop into the pot the slab bacon and deep-fry it until it turns crispy—it’s the bacon in the oil that gives the chicken that special flavor. Then when the bacon is done, remove it from the oil, place it on a couple of layers of paper towels so that it can drain, and snack on it later while your chicken is cooking.
Now when the oil comes back to 350 degrees, gently ease the chicken pieces into the fryer. I recommend you place them into the pot according to size—breast and thighs frying first, then drumsticks , wings, and backbones frying together next.
And here’s your frying time: to be properly cooked your chicken needs to fry between 14 tand 20 minutes (depending upon sizes of the pieces). . . or until the skin is honey brown and crispy.
While the bird is frying, combine your seasoning salt in your food processor.* Simply add all the ingredients together and blend them for about 30 seconds or so. Or. . .you can use my Sprinkling Spice or your favorite preblended Cajun seasoning instead.
Finally, when the chicken is cooked, generously sprinkle the pieces all over with the seasonings, and serve it piping hot right from the fryer! The ideal side with this is a pan of buttery pan-roasted potatoes, Summer Salad Jobert, and ,of course, a tall glass of iced tea so frosty it’ll give you a brain freeze!
Aw, yeah, Bubba. . .this is good stuff!
CHEF’S NOTES: If you use a pot deep enough and wide enough, you can fry the chickens whole. But if not, you’ll have to do ‘em in pieces. Whichever way you fry them, just don’t overcrowd them in the pot. Oh, yeah---and watch for splattering oil too.
Summer Salad Jobert
2-4 cups tomatoes, diced
2-4 cups watermelon, diced
1 Vidalia or Texas Sweet onion, diced
½ teaspoon Frank Davis Sprinkling Spice or sea salt
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
Splash red wine vinegar
Olive oil to toss
Several outer leaves of Romaine lettuce
Possibly the simplest salad you’ll ever make, you take a medium-large bowl (preferably stainless steel) and drop in the tomatoes, watermelon, and onion. Then with a flick of the wrist, combine those ingredients uniformly.
Now add to the contents of the bowl the sea salt, granulated sugar, red wine vinegar, and the olive oil.
All you have to do now is toss the salad over and over a few times to make sure you have a total blend.
Finally, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and stash it in the refrigerator for at least a half hour to chill.
This can be served on top of the lettuce leaves as an accompaniment to roasted or grilled meats, particularly grilled pork or Cajun fried chicken.
Editor’s Note: I was fortunate enough to get a copy of this recipe from Dr. Faith Jobert, my Primary Care Physician. I’ve made it countless times and enjoyed it with practically any entrée. Oh—and in the midst of the summer doldrums, it makes a perfect light meal all by itself. Thanks, Doc!