The two main keys to making perfect fried chicken are the temperature of the oil and the actual step of frying.
Choose oils with a high smoke point: vegetable shortening, lard, and peanut oil are all good choices.
* To get truly golden-brown and crispy chicken, use a cast iron skillet. You can't beat cast iron for even heat distribution and reliable frying.
* The fat should be about one inch deep in the skillet, coming about halfway up the food.
* Get the fat good and hot before adding the chicken: about 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
* Using tongs, carefully lower chicken pieces into the oil skin-side down. Start with the edge of the piece close to you, and lay it in the oil, working away from yourself to avoid spatters.
* Fry in batches: overcrowding the pan will lower the temperature of the oil, causing more oil to be absorbed and result in soggy, greasy chicken.
* When the chicken pieces are a deep golden brown, remove them to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet to catch any drips. Insert an instant-read thermometer into the chicken to make sure it is fully cooked before moving on to the next batch. The USDA recommends cooking chicken to a minimum of 165 degrees F.
1. Turn signals will give away your next move. A real New Jersey driver never uses them.
2. Under no circumstance should you leave a safe distance between you and the car in front of you, or the space will be filled in by somebody else, putting you in an even more dangerous situation.
3. The faster you drive through a red light, the smaller the chance you have of getting hit or being ticketed.
4. Never, ever come to a complete stop at a stop sign. No one expects it and it may result in being rear-ended.
5. Never get in the way of an older car that needs extensive bodywork. New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state, the other guy may just be seeking lots of extra money and an early retirement.
6. Braking is to be done as hard and late as possible to ensure that your ABS kicks in, giving a nice, relaxing foot massage as the brake pedal pulsates. For those of you without ABS, it's a chance to stretch your legs.
7. Never pass on the left when you can pass on the right. It's fun to scare people entering the highway.
8. Remember, in New Jersey speed limits are arbitrary and capricious, think of them as mealy suggestions, apparently they are not enforceable in New Jersey during rush hour.
9. Keep in mind, just because you're in the left lane and have no room to speed up or move over doesn't mean that a New Jersey driver flashing his high beams behind you doesn't think he can go faster.
10. Always slow down and rubberneck when you see an accident or even someone changing a tire.
11. Learn to swerve abruptly. New Jersey is the home of "high-speed slalom driving." The State Highway Department, prides itself putting pot-holes in key locations to test drivers' reflexes and keep them on their toes.
12. It is traditional in New Jersey to honk your horn at cars that don't move the instant the light turns green or for any other reason deemed necessary, arbitrary or capricious.
13. Remember that the goal of every New Jersey driver is to get there first by whatever means necessary.
14. In New Jersey, "flipping someone the bird" is considered a traditional New Jersey salute. You should always return this gesture and thereby keep up the proud tradition.