Cool neon sign, located in Clinton, Mo., where John Hammond lives and fries chicken.
I've written about my favorite guy before (See Fried Zucchini), but he's such a charmer that I had to bring him back. John Dee Hammond is my father's father and my terrific granddad. He's 84, but he'll turn 85 on August 25, 2010. For someone who was born in Warsaw, Missouri in 1925, he's pretty hip.
My granddad has always believed women should be educated long before it was the norm (take that misogynist jerks), never really freaked out when my sister or I came home with tattoos or weird piercings, though he did say, "I survived WWII as an enlisted man in the Navy without getting that crap," and he rolls with the punches (from the Great Depression to losing my grandma to lung and colon cancer in 2003, whom he was married to for over 50 years) by embodying his favorite phrase, "hang in there." Honestly, he's my hero and one of the people in my life who has always loved me as-is, which is pretty damn special. I love my granddad without reservation. He's had my back from day one, even if he didn't want to call me Michaella (he thought I wouldn't be able to spell my name) but Mindy (after the TV show, Mork & Mindy).
So it brings me great pleasure to pass along a family recipe, one he learned from my grandma Anna Lee: Fried chicken. And if you haven't noticed the pattern, Granddad is our go-to man for all things fried.
Fried Chicken by John Dee Hammond
As told to Kella on June 5, 2010 in Clinton, Missouri
Ingredients & Materials
1 whole chicken, segmented and ready to fry
Salt and pepper
Flour for dredging (he always fills a pie pan full of flour)
Bacon render for frying said chicken
1 large cast-iron skillet
1. Heat about 3-4 cups of bacon render on medium-high heat until the grease is popping. Turn the grease down a shade and get ready for some delicious Southern-style fried chicken.
2. Liberally salt and pepper chicken pieces on both sides and then dredge the chicken in flour on both sides.
3. Place the chicken into the pan of hot bacon render and cook each side for 15-20 minutes. Here's the trick to fantastic fried chicken: Don't futz with it once you put it in the pan. Cover the skillet and wait. Patience is the trick to fried chicken. Patience and bacon render.
4. Carefully turn the chicken on to the uncooked side and again cook, with the pan covered, for 15-20 minutes on the other side.
5. Remove the chicken and place on a platter with paper towels. Serve with green beans, biscuits, gravy, homegrown tomatoes, and my granddad's personal favorite, cornbread.
Hugs and high fives,