July 6 – National Fried Chicken Day

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(CNN) — Today’s food holiday is poultry in motion – July 6 is National Fried Chicken Day.

To some, there is nothing more comforting than a piece of juicy fried chicken with a crispy skin. A Southern specialty, fried chicken often graces the plates of both humble roadside eateries and fancy fine dining establishments.

The trick to good fried chicken is preparation. Brining the chicken overnight before frying helps keep the meat moist, so will buttermilk as part of your dredge. A double dip between wet and dry ingredients ensures your breading doesn’t separate from the meat, and seasoning each step in the process is a must. Dark meat also holds up better in the fryer than light, and it won’t dry out on you as easily – which is the biggest concern when making kickin’ chicken.

You also don’t need an industrial fryer to get perfectly crispy skin. A well-seasoned cast-iron skillet not only does the job well, it’ll also add another layer of flavor. Just don’t overcrowd the pan and make sure the oil is at the correct temperature. Some insist on frying the chicken at a low heat first, and then finishing the skin in the same oil at a higher heat.

If you’re trying to keep things on the lighter side, you can always coat the chicken in a crushed corn flakes mixture instead of flour and bake it on a wire rack. It might not be as satisfying, but it’ll come close. If you’re not feeling so light, go crazy and try your fried heaven with some waffles, or drizzle chipotle-honey over your bird as it comes out of the fryer.

Lastly, the staple fixins’ for fried chicken usually include greens of some sort, mashed potatoes, mac ‘n cheese, green beans or any combination thereof.