Julia Lee, a Saveur contributor, fries chicken periodically to reseason her cast-iron skillet—always brining the bird first to keep it moist and tender, and draining it on a wire rack after cooking to ensure crispness.
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- kosher salt
- 1 (3 1/2 to 4-lb.) chicken, rinsed and cut into 10 pieces
- vegetable oil or shortening
- 1 1⁄2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- freshly ground black pepper
- Pour 4 cups cold water into a large bowl. Add sugar and I cup of salt and stir until dissolved. Place chicken in brine and set aside in a cool place to soak for 1 –2 hours. Drain, rinse, then pat dry with paper towels.
- Pour oil into a large cast-iron skillet to a depth of 2″, then heat over medium heat to 350° on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, sift together flour, baking powder, 1⁄2 tsp. salt, and H tsp. pepper in a large plastic bag. Place chicken in bag one piece at a time and shake in seasoned flour until well coated.
- Fry chicken in hot oil, larger pieces first, skin side down (working in batches if skillet won’t hold all the pieces at the same time), turning once, until golden and crispy, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a wire rack set over paper towels to drain, and season to taste with salt and pepper.