The fried chicken for our family football tailgaters has come from some auspicious places over the years. A big bucket of extra-crispy from KFC was not beneath us (my dad liked going to pick it up, because he could have an appetizer piece or two on the way home. I could tell he’d been eating it). Then Shop-Rite started selling “broasted” chicken, which sounds like a cross between broiled and roasted, but in the end was no different tasting than a true deep-fried. We’re talking so flavorful. That shoved the Colonel’s right out the door. It’s a good thing that I was not calorie conscious back then.

When my mom was feeling it, she would make pans of her special oven-fried chicken for the tailgater. On the scale of fried chicken badness, this is a healthy one. Finger-licking-good, and simple too:

Mom’s Oven-Fried Chicken
The amount of seasoned flour you make depends on how much chicken you have. This recipe for 1 cup of flour is good for about 12 pieces of chicken.

Chicken drumsticks, wings, thighs, breasts (split)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt, pepper
Canola or other neutral oil

Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Bring to room temperature. Place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a heavy sheet pan (or two, depending on how much chicken you are making) generously with 2-3 tablespoons of canola oil.

In a bowl, mix the flour with paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Taste a touch of the seasoned flour to be sure there is enough salt. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour just before baking. Shake excess flour off each piece and place on the sheet pan.

Bake for 35 minutes, turning the chicken over after 15 minutes using tongs, and rotating the trays if there is more than one. When the chicken is deep golden brown and the juices run clear, remove from the oven. Cool slightly (or refrigerate over night), pack it up, and put it in the trunk with all of your other tailgate picnic food. Off you go.

Find a PDF of this recipe here.

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