Grandmother, fried chicken.
Fried Chicken and cream gravy (aka white gravy, milk gravy)
1 fryer, cut up
Louisiana/Crystal/Durkee's style hot sauce
juice of 1 lemon
oil or lard for frying - depth of roughly 1/4" in cast iron skillet(s)
Milk (for gravy)
Rinse chicken, place in freezer bag or large bowl. Add roughly 1/2 cup hot sauce, plus lemon juice and seasonings to taste (but go a little heavy on all), turning to coat. Marinate, covered, for at least an hour, 30 of that on the counter, bringing up to room temperature.
Meanwhile, mix roughly a cup and a half flour for dredging with more garlic powder, salt, cayenne and black pepper, again to taste but going a bit heavy. Shake excess marinade off of chicken, dredge in flour mixture and place on wire rack. Allow all pieces to sit on rack while you bring your oil/lard up to medium high heat. Starting with thighs, drums then breasts and wings, dredge and shake off excess flour one more time if the chicken pieces are moist. (May or may not be necessary due to your kitchen conditions.)
Fry in medium-hot oil until lightly golden browned on each side, roughly 5-6 minutes each side. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking and turning to brown evenly for about another 10 minutes. Finally, reduce heat to low if your chicken is getting too browned and finish cooking for about 10 more minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the meatiest part of thigh and breast registers about 160. Remove to warmed oven while you make gravy.
For gravy, pour off excess grease, leaving about 3T of drippings/crunchy pieces. Add equal amount of flour (I use the excess from dredging the chicken and I swear you will not die from it, I promise!), plus a heavy hand with cracked black pepper and salt. Whisk while cooking over medium-high heat, 3 or 4 minutes, adding roughly 2 1/2 cups milk all at once. Reduce heat to low if using cast iron, medium low if anything else, and continue to stir occasionally with a whip until thickened. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. (Cream gravy should be peppery, so I find a mix of fresh cracked pepper plus plain grocery-store ground pepper works perfectly. Don't be tempted to use white pepper - the black pepper is.. well, necessary.)
I realize this is the simplest of comfort food, but it was a revelation to be able to turn out juicy, golden brown, perfectly seasoned food of my youth. (Incidentally, if you are spice averse, this is more gently flavored than you'd think, but you will get a bit of crust here and there which has a bit of kick.)