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Martha Lou Gadsden’s Morrison Drive restaurant—and the fried chicken she serves there—attracts accolades from national publications such as The New York Times and raves from local food-and-bev royals (Matt Lee, Sean Brock). Gadsden herself couldn’t be more humble about the dish (“It’s nothing I do that nobody else does,” she insists), but our taste buds beg to differ, so we asked her to share her secrets.
❶ Note that Gadsden doesn’t use specific measurements for this dish (“Just put what you think you need,” she says), and her steps work with any cut of chicken. Decide which cuts you’ll use; adjust other ingredients accordingly.
❷ Rinse the meat, then pre-season it with salt and pepper to taste.
❸ To create breading, dunk the meat in a bowl of milk set aside for this purpose.
❹ Place flour in a paper bag, using enough to thoroughly coat the meat. Put the milk-soaked meat in the bag with the flour, and shake until meat is completely covered.
❺ Select a heavy, deep frying pan, which Gadsden says will allow a home cook to achieve results similar to those of the deep fryer she uses in her restaurant. Fill the pan with enough peanut oil to cover the meat completely and heat; it’s hot enough when you drop a pinch of flour in the oil and the fat bubbles.
❻ Using tongs, place the meat in the pan and cook over medium heat until the skin is golden brown, then flip. Keep flipping until meat is golden brown on all sides, about 15 minutes.