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Fried Chicken Bon Ton

There is no printed menu at the Bon Ton Mini Mart because everyone comes to eat one thing: chicken. Located in a former convenience store / truck stop, this out-of-the-way treasure is an unlikely place indeed to find fine food; but in fact this chicken is some of the best you ever will eat: salty, spicy, moist and bursting with flavor.

The spice mix used for Bon-Ton chicken is a closely-guarded secret, but cook Donna King shared with us its fundamental ingredients as well as the basic principle of a long marinade – at least twenty-four hours. During that time, she explained, blood seems to be drawn from the meat, allowing a briefer frying time, resulting in the juiciest possible chicken with flavor insinuated into every fiber. She also told us that the pieces must rest five or ten minutes and "get doughy" after being dredged in spiced flour, and that pure vegetable shortening will insure it is grease-free.

Remember: Begin marinating the chicken the day before you plan to cook it!

Recipe Source: Bon Ton Mini Mart

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

The marinade:
4 bone-in, skin-on breasts and 4 drumsticks, washed
1 quart water
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon Accent
1-1/2 teaspoons white pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire

The Spiced Flour:
3 cups all-purpose white flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Accent
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

  1. To make the marinade, stir all the seasonings into the water, mashing the garlic powder and pepper so they don't clump.
  2. Find a bowl just big enough to hold the chicken and cover the chicken with the marinade. Cover the bowl and refrigerate 24 hours, moving the chicken parts around once or twice.
  3. When the chicken is done marinating, make the spiced flour by combining all ingredients.
  4. To fry the chicken, heat about two inches of vegetable oil to 365-375 degrees in a deep cast iron skillet.
  5. Pull the chicken piece by piece from the marinade and dredge it directly in the seasoned flour. Set it on a baking sheet or aluminum foil for about 5 minutes.
  6. Cook the chicken in the hot oil for 20-25 minutes, turning each piece a few times so it cooks evenly and turns golden brown.
  7. Drain on a wire rack and serve.
Recipe photo of Fried Chicken Bon Ton

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