Chicken is a very versatile protein that can be prepared in many different ways. For maximum flavor, chicken may be brined prior to baking or frying in a solution of salt, water and spices. Brining adds moisture to the meat, in addition to flavor. After brining, the chicken can be baked in the oven, particularly for the health conscious, or deep fried for a southern twist. Either method you choose, always cook the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees to minimize the risk of food poisoning.
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and add the salt and sugar; stir to dissolve. Pour the hot mixture into a large bowl and add 1 gallon of cold water.
Add your desired spices to the liquid mixture. Brines have unlimited possibilities when it comes to flavoring. Some good choices include 2 tbsp. of peppercorns, ¾ cup of soy sauce or 1 tsp. of dried herbs such as thyme or tarragon. You can add any spices and seasonings you would like.
Place the whole chicken into the brine, ensuring that the chicken is fully submerged in the mixture. If needed, place a weighted plate on top of the chicken to keep it submerged.
Brine the chicken for a minimum of two hours, up to a maximum of 24 hours, in the refrigerator. Rinse the chicken thoroughly after removing it from the brine and pat the skin dry with paper towels.
Rub the exterior of the brined chicken with softened butter. The butter will add flavor while encouraging the skin to brown nicely. Season with dried herbs if you wish, such as thyme, oregano and sage. There is no need to salt the chicken since it was brined in a salt water solution.
Place the chicken on a rack, in a roasting pan. Place the pan into an oven preheated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake the chicken for 15 to 20 minutes at 450 degrees and then reduce the temperature to 375 degrees. Continue roasting for a total cook time of 75 to 90 minutes for a 3 to 4 lb. chicken.
Melt vegetable shortening in a cast iron or other heavy skillet. Use enough shortening that it is approximately 1/8-inch deep when melted.
Whisk together three eggs in a bowl and coat each piece of chicken in egg.
Mix 2 cups of flour with 2 tbsp. of salt, 1 tbsp. of pepper, 1 tbsp. of garlic powder and any other seasonings that you like. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture until they are thoroughly coated.
Place the chicken pieces into the hot pan and cook for 10 to 12 minutes on each side. The skin should be golden brown when it is done with an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees.
Remove chicken from the pan and place on paper towels to absorb any oil left on the surface.