Heat milk in a microwave-safe measuring cup just until it boils. Add sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir to dissolve. Stir in shortening and let cool to about 120 degrees F.
In a separate bowl or measuring cup, combine the yeast and 1/3 cup of warm (115 degree) water. Let rest until yeast bubbles.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast mixture and milk mixture. Beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in for 30 minutes in a warm place.
Preheat a lidded sauté pan or skillet to 300 degrees (on my stove, it was low). A pan with non-stick surface won’t cook the bottom quite so much, but if all you have is a regular metal bottom pan, you can use that. I didn't grease either pan.
Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to mixture and beat thoroughly. Place metal (or homemade foil) rings onto the skillet.
Using a heaping 1/3 cup measure, spoon dough into 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 inch rings. If you want really large muffins you can use 3 inch rings. Cover skillet and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and turn rings using spatula or tongs. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. You may have to alter the cook time. You can definitely cook the muffins in the skillet and you don't need an oven, but you have to be patient and start with a lower heat. It's best to start low and increase heat if needed. Cool on a rack. Remove rings and cool. Split with fork and serve.