alton's fried chicken

1 broiler/fryer chicken - about 3.5 lbs.
1 quart low fat buttermilk
poultry rub (recipe below)

poultry rub:
2 TBSP kosher salt
2 TBSP Hungarian paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne

To cut up bird, place bird breast up with legs pointing away from you.

Grab a wing at the joint between the drum and the flap, and lift. You'll be able to see where to cut. Make the cut from the back towards the front, separating the joint and removing the wing. Remove the other wing the same way.

Place bird with breast side up. With your knife blade facing up, scrape the meat off the wishbone (where the neck meets the breast, scrape from top downwards on each side of the breast). Put the knife down, and work your fingers around the wishbone towards the top of the bone (breast side). Once you have it loosened, remove the wishbone.

To remove the legs, place bird breast side up, legs facing you. Cut through the skin at the depression between the breast and the drumstick, as though you were peeling the breast back off of the bird. Then roll the bird over (breast side down, legs facing you). Bend the legs and thighs back towards one another to determine where the thighs meet the back. Bend legs/thighs back at that point to pop the joint between the thighs and the back. Now, you can cut off the thigh and the leg together. Start far enough towards the neck of the bird to remove the "oyster" with the thigh.

To separate the thigh from the drumstick, hold them joint side up and squeeze them together. Feel for a little depression at the joint. That'll tell you where to cut. Cut down (carefully - you're cutting towards your hand!) about 1/2 inch to separate the joint. With the joint separated, place the thigh/drumstick on the cutting board and finish separating them. Repeat for the other thigh and drumstick.

For the breasts, cut all the way down one side of the keel bone (breastbone) - all the way to the ribs. Fillet the breast meat off of the ribs, resulting in a single boneless breast half. Repeat on the other side.

To prepare chicken for frying, soak pieces in buttermilk (not fat free) in the refrigerator 12-24 hours. Flip the meat at least once to ensure good coverage. Wings can be soaked with other pieces, or saved along with the back/carcass for making stock.

To cook, you will follow this procedure:

Begin by melting enough Crisco in a cast iron frying pan to come up the sides about 1/3 inch (16 oz. Crisco for a 12 inch pan). Heat shortening to 350 deg. F. You want to cook at about 325, but the oil will lose some heat when the chicken is placed in the pan. (Use a thermometer. Too much heat will burn shortening, and too little heat will result in greasy chicken. If you have no thermometer, note that little wisps of smoke will begin to form when the grease is hot enough. Heavy smoke means the grease is burning.)

Drain chicken. You can use a colander over a a sink or stew pot to drain.

Season chicken pieces liberally with poultry rub. (Season the hell out of 'em.)

Dredge pieces in all purpose flour. (You can shake in a bag or a lidded container.) After dredging, shake to remove as much excess flour as possible. If you don't, it will separate in the pan and burn.

Rest the pieces for 2 minutes to allow the flour to begin to set.

Fry chicken, skin side down. Put thighs in the center of the pan, as it tends to be hottest and they take the longest to cook. Cook the first side until golden brown and delicious, and until you see a lot of moisture pushing up on the top/raw side, about 12 minutes. Turn pieces over. Boost the heat for a couple of minutes, if necessary, to compensate for heat loss on the flip. Cook until done, about 12 minutes. The second side cooked should end up darker than the first side, as the oil gets dirtier as cooking goes on.

Drain the chicken on a rack. Chicken will stay hot for 20+ minutes.