Place chicken pieces into a plastic container and cover with buttermilk.
Cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours .
Drain chicken in a colander.
Combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
Liberally season chicken with this mixture.
Then, dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess (by seasoning before you flour, you trap the seasoning under the flour coating, and you use a lot less seasoning than if you tried to put it in the flour and hope it catches on the chicken).
Melt enough shortening (over low heat) to come just 1/8-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan.
Once shortening liquefies raise heat to 325 degrees F.
Do not allow oil to go over 325 degrees F.
Place chicken skin side down into the pan.
Put thighs in the center (they take longer to cook and can use the extra center heat), and breast and legs around the edge of the pan.
The oil should come half way up the pan once the chicken is added.
Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 10-12 minutes per side.
The internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees.
(Be careful to monitor shortening temperature every few minutes).
Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan, NOT on paper towels or brown paper bags which just cause the chicken to soak in their own oil.
If you need to hold the chicken before serving, cover loosely with foil but avoid holding in a warm oven, especially if it?.
s a gas oven, which is very moist and will ruin your beautiful chicken crust!