2 cups buttermilk 1 tablespoon hot red pepper sauce such as Tabasco 4 pounds chicken, cut into 8 portions, with 1/3 of the breast meat left attached to wings 1 1/2 cup flour 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Vegetable shortening or oil for deep frying
In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk and hot pepper sauce. Add the chicken and mix well. Cover and refrigerate, stirring the chicken occasionally, for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
Drain the chicken. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a large paper bag or a large bowl. A few pieces at a time, toss the chicken in the flour mixture to coat. Place on waxed paper and let stand 15 minutes at room temperature to set the coating.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place a large wire cake rack over a jelly-roll pan. In a deep, large skillet, melt vegetable shortening to a depth of 2 to 3" and heat it to 375 degrees F. Add the chicken and deep-fry, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 12 minutes.
Transfer to the wire rack and bake until the chicken shows no sign of pink when pierced at the bone, about 15 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature. (Fried chicken is best served within 2 hours of frying and shouldn't be refrigerated, as refrigeration gives the chicken breasts a cottony texture.)
Notes: This method creates a crisp crust and a grease-free, perfect chicken.