1 (3- to 3.5-pound) Barham Family Farm cut-up chicken
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
May add a few dashes of hot sauce for extra spicy
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika or both for spicy (optional)
Vegetable or peanut oil
2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 quart whole or 2% milk, more to thin out as needed (may use half-and -half for extra rich and creamy gravy
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1. Rinse and pat chicken pieces dry with paper towel.
2. In a bowl, combine buttermilk, salt and hot sauce, if desired. Pour over chicken pieces. Let chicken soak in buttermilk mixture for 1 hour in the refrigerator. (Already tender young chicken doesn’t need to marinate long.)
3. Combine flour, salt, black pepper and 1/4 each cayenne and/or paprika, if desired. Dredge chicken pieces throughly and shake off excess. Let pieces rest for 20 minutes before frying.
4. Add the oil to the halfway mark on an electric frying pan or a cast iron skillet and heat over medium heat. When the temperature reaches 375 degrees F. on a meat thermometer, add the chicken pieces skin side down. Fry 15 or 20 minutes, until golden brown. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F., turn the chicken over with tongs, put lid on the skillet to steam and fry another 10-12 minutes. Remove lid and let chicken crisp up another 10 minutes, rotating chicken as needed with tongs. Insert thermometer to bone of chicken and make sure chicken registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. to be fully cooked.
5. Drain fried chicken on a sheet pan with rack or on paper towels.
6. Drain oil from pan leaving around 3-4 tablespoons oil and the crispy drippings.
7. To the drippings, add flour. Whisk in flour into the drippings scraping up all the tasty little bits that stick to the bottom while on medium heat to make a roux. Cook and continue to whisk roux until a light brown color, about 2-3 minutes. Don’t burn. Add 3-4 cups of milk, and whisk completely on medium heat until bubbly. Season to taste. Serve immediately.