Good Ol’ Southern Fried Chicken

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  • 1 whole fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces: breasts, wings, thighs and legs
  • 2 to 3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • High-heat oil, for frying


Pull any visible pieces of fat from chicken. Cut each breast piece in half. Pack all of the pieces into a casserole dish or bowl and immerse in buttermilk. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Combine poultry seasoning, garlic powder, lemon pepper, paprika and salt. Combine 1 tablespoon of this seasoning blend with flour. (Tradition dictates you do this in a paper bag, for shaking the pieces around; plastic also works.)

Drain buttermilk-soaked chicken pieces on a wire rack and sprinkle with remaining seasoning mix, rubbing it into the nooks and crannies.

Drop a few chicken pieces at a time into flour mixture and dredge to cover all surfaces. Shake off excess flour and set pieces on a tray so they don’t touch.

In a deep, heavy skillet or a large braising pan with a lid, pour in about 3/4-inch oil. Heat to 350° F. Add half the chicken pieces, skin side down, being sure not to crowd the pan. Cover and adjust the heat so chicken continues to bubble vigorously for 5 minutes. Turn chicken pieces, replace the cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Flip chicken and cook for 3 minutes more, replace the lid and repeat one last time, until all sides are deeply golden. The interior of the chicken pieces should read 165° F. Repeat with the next batch, adding oil as needed to adjust the depth.

Drain chicken on a wire rack or bunched up paper towels.

Special notes:

In my Southern family, we served the chicken drizzled with warm honey or vinegar infused with cracked pepper.

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