Crave: Picnic perfection

photo by: Courtesy of Mother Earth News

A picnic is a great way to make the most of warm temperatures while they last. And what picnic would be complete without a pile of crispy fried chicken?

Perfect Fried Chicken


1 broiler-fryer chicken, cut into serving pieces

1⁄2 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon pepper

Cooking oil or lard


Rinse chicken pieces with cool water; set aside.

In plastic or paper bag, mix flour with salt and pepper. Drop 2 to 3 pieces of chicken at a time into bag with flour mixture; shake to coat well.

Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat or until drop of water sizzles when added (425°F if using electric skillet). Place chicken, skin-side down, in pan. Cook and turn pieces to brown evenly on all sides. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until juices run clear and meat is tender, about 30 minutes, or until fork can be inserted into chicken with ease. Drain on paper towels. Yields 6 servings.

To vary recipe, add 1 teaspoon paprika to flour mixture; or 1 teaspoon each dry mustard and thyme; or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme, tarragon, basil or poultry seasoning.

For extra-crispy chicken, dip each chicken piece in buttermilk, evaporated milk or slightly beaten egg mixed with milk before coating with seasoned flour. Fine dry bread crumbs, pancake mix or cracker crumbs also may be used.

For picnics, cool chicken completely in refrigerator before event.

German Potato Salad


2 pounds red or waxy potatoes

4 slices bacon

1 small onion, diced

1 cup chopped celery

1 dill pickle, chopped, optional

1⁄2 cup water

1⁄4 cup white wine vinegar or cider vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon dry mustard, optional

Salt and pepper, to taste


In large pot, place potatoes and enough salt water to cover; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain, peel and slice. Place still-warm potatoes in bowl.

In skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels, then crumble and add to potatoes. Discard all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat from skillet; add onion, celery and pickle. Cook until golden. Add water, vinegar, sugar, paprika, mustard, salt and pepper; bring just to a boil.

Pour dressing over potatoes and toss gently to coat. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Cover and refrigerate leftovers.

Note: You may use cider vinegar and omit the pickle. The salad is good both warm and cold.

Honey BBQ Shredded Pork


1 pork shoulder, picnic roast (fat removed), or 3 to 4 pounds turkey legs

1 1⁄4 cups ketchup

1⁄2 cup water

1⁄2 cup honey (preferably dark honey)

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons white vinegar

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons dry mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper

8 to 10 crusty rolls or flour tortillas


Heat oven to 300°F.

In 9-by-13-inch pan, combine all ingredients except rolls. Cover with foil and roast for 3 to 31⁄2 hours, or until meat is tender.

Shred meat using two forks, removing all bones and skin. Stir shredded meat back into sauce in pan. Serve on crusty rolls or in warmed flour tortillas. Yields 8 to 10 servings.

Don’t forget the sauce …

Southern Barbecue Sauce


1⁄4 cup vinegar

1⁄2 cup water

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt

1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

1 large onion, diced

1⁄4 cup butter

1⁄2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon liquid smoke


In saucepan, combine vinegar, water, brown sugar, mustard, salt and pepper.

Add lemon juice, onion, butter and ketchup; bring to a boil, and boil for 20 minutes, uncovered. Add Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke; pour into a bottle and cover tightly.

To use: Put on meat for at least 1 hour of cook time, basting and turning meat often.

Best-Ever Barbecue Sauce


1⁄3 cup salad oil

1⁄3 cup melted margarine

1⁄3 cup vinegar

1 cup orange juice

1⁄4 cup ketchup

1⁄4 cup finely chopped onion

1⁄4 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons hot sauce

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1⁄4 teaspoon ground oregano

1⁄8 teaspoon chili powder, optional


In saucepan, combine oil, margarine, vinegar, orange juice and ketchup. Add remaining ingredients; stir well.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Yields 2 1⁄2 cups.


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