For the chicken: Put the chicken pieces in a large bowl and cover them with water. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons salt in the water, cover the bowl, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. When you soak the chicken overnight in salt brine, the salt infuses into the meat and makes it so tasty!
Pour oil into an electric frying pan or deep, heavy skillet to a 1-inch depth and heat the oil to 375 degrees F. Check the temperature by sprinkling flour over the oil. If the flour sizzles, the oil is hot enough.
Drain the water from the chicken, sprinkle each piece with some salt and pepper, and coat the pieces with flour, shaking off any excess. Carefully place the chicken in the hot oil. Place the cover on the pan, leaving a small opening for steam to escape. Cook for 15 minutes.
Remove the cover and, using tongs, turn each piece of chicken. Replace the cover and cook for 15 minutes more, or until done. Use a sharp, thin-bladed knife to check for doneness by slicing a drumstick to the bone. Neither the meat nor the juices should be pink. Drain the chicken on paper towels and keep warm.
For the gravy: Spoon about 4 tablespoons of oil that the chicken was fried in plus the brown bits into a medium skillet. Over medium heat, sprinkle in the flour and cook while whisking, until the flour is browned, about 1 minute.
Slowly stir in the milk and cook until the gravy thickens, 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the chicken.
Recipe adapted from Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen by Trisha Yearwood (c) Clarkson Potter 2008