There’s a lot of myths and legends about construction perfect fried chicken at home: secret spice blends, brines and buttermilks, free range vs air chilled vs standard chickens, special sauces, even proper oil or fat selection. But never underestimate an essential component: the vessel in which you fry.
Fried chicken became an American icon by cooking it at home, a few pieces at a time, in a cast iron cookware with just a bit of oil. The combination of surrounding the chicken with hot oil and allowing just a bit to rest on the bottom of the hot cast iron for extra caramelization and flavorful color is what homestyle fried chicken is all about. Leave the deep fryers to the pros; at home, shallow or skillet frying is the way to go. A cast iron dutch oven works just as well, just be sure to watch the total amount of fat.
A 1/2″ of oil can be magic.
For a recipe, check out Elizabeth Karmel’s buttermilk brined chicken with hot pepper honey at Sweet Paul. Invest is a good thermometer and keep the oil at 325° so it doesn’t brown too quickly before the meat is cooked through, and enjoy!