This method, which is in many ways the simplest, is now my go-to method. Season the chicken with just salt and pepper, giving it some time to seep into the meat, then dip it in water, roll it in flour, and fry it in very hot oil.
Three hours before you want to fry, clean the chicken. Get rid of any feather remnants (you’d be surprised, they’re there) and organs (including the heart and liver). Pat the chicken very dry with paper towels and then season it all over with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes.
Arrange 2 bowls, 1 with room-temperature water, the other with the flour, next to the stove. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, pour in the oil until it reaches 1/3 of the way up, ideally, and definitely no more than halfway, as you don't want the hot oil to bubble over. Heat the oil until it reaches 370°F (188°C).
Now, working piece by piece, dip the chicken in the water and then in the flour. (The water helps the flour stick.) Make sure the chicken is thoroughly coated in flour; you don’t want water to come in contact with the oil. Carefully lower the floured chicken into the oil, working in small batches so as not to crowd the pieces, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, turning the chicken every so often. The chicken is done when you cut into a piece and the meat is white throughout with no trace of pink. (The breasts will cook faster than the legs or thighs.) Use the thermometer to maintain the oil temperature between 365°F (185°C) and 370°F (188°C).
Use tongs or a slotted spoon to lift the chicken to a plate lined with paper towels or to a brown paper bag. Serve very hot or, if desired, let cool and serve tepid or at room temperature.