REAL SOUTHERN fried chicken recipes from
- nbermas Apr 21, 2007 08:57 AM
Grandma or Auntie? You have any please tell me how? And a banana pudding recipe to finish the great meal.
For good basic Southern fried chicken, I'd go with Paula Deen's recipe that you can pull up from the Food Networks web site. It's just like my mother made and her mother as well. It's just a good basic Shouthern fried chicken recipe. Do watch out for your oil temp. you want a nice crisp crust. Peanut oil is best. If you can't go with that use Chrisco. Were not counting calories here.
I think I'll fix that tonight.
First you got to start with a whole fryer bird, bone in and skin on, if you don't do both then don't call it southern. If your cookpot is deep enough, leave the wing attached to the split breast and the leg attached to the thigh, better yet in a turkey rig you can do the whole bird! But for skillet preparation you will have to cut up the bird to parts. Rinse and pat dry the bird with paper towel. Your spice mix can vary, but your oil temp needs to be followed closely. My "traditional" spice mix is 2 Tbs salt, 1/2 tsp cayenne, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1 tsp garlic powder and a pinch of oregano and onion powder. To add more zing add an additional 1/2 tsp white pepper and 1 tsp of cayenne with another Tbs salt and double the garlic powder. Now that you have your mix in a bowl, take half of it and mix it in with 2 cups of flour and take the other half and spread it over the bird. I'll even go under the skin on the breast with it (especially necessary to go under the skin for frying a bird whole). Now how "deep" do you want to go in the south? For pre 1950's on the farm fried chicken you'll need to use lard; for more modern south in your mouth you'll need to go with Crisco shortening...if you are doing the "Louisianna whole bird" in the turkey rig use peanut oil. I will occasionally use peanut oil in my cast iron dutch oven for deep frying pieces, but the authentic taste needs at the least shortening. For skillet preparation fill your seasoned cast iron with (what? you don't have a seasoned cast iron skillet? you need to hip up) oil a bit over 1/4 inch and bring it to a more rapid "roll" but not smoking. That will be a medium high heat around 360 degrees but you got to just know where the smoking starts by feel and smell. Have the chicken at the ready by putting the flour spice mixture in a paper bag and judging what your skillet will hold with the pieces barely apart (they can touch a bit but it is better to leave a tiny gap between pieces) As the oil reaches the desired high heat drop the first batch in the paper bag, shake it good like you mean it, then gently place in the pan ( the oil will kick up if you drop it and be a real fire hazard not to mention the burns). Let the pieces fry at high heat for a couple of minutes then flip over and get the top side. The crust should be a medium honey hue, if you get it to dark brown you are treading too close to the smoke point, but some people prefer the earthy flavored dark brown. Also if you use the spicier mix the increased cayenne will darken the crust and that would be the desired hue. Anyway, now comes the important part, cut the heat down immediately after you brown both sides, flip the bird back to the start side and cover the pan. Simmer the bird in the oil for about 20 minutes at low medium heat (you should still hear the pan "crackling" but just barely after 10 minutes on the lowdown). Test the breast with a twist of the fork for doneness, but if you do that more than once and to more than one piece then you lose your "southerness" right away! Set out on a plate with paper towel or newspaper to get the grease. Your next batch will not get to be heated up as high as the first due to the flour remnants, just be conscious of the smoke point. For extra crispy chicken you can certainly dip the seasoned pieces into an egg wash once or twice, but that ain't how it was done way back. One good friends family recipe even soaks the pieces in butter milk prior to the flour dusting. Good Luck!!
when using buttermilk, I find that a single dredging (and a very light one at that, thoroughly shaking off any excess buttermilk before dredging in flour, and again shaking any excess flour off) reliably tastes better than double-dipping. Too thick a crust using buttermilk tends to be unpleasantly stiff for my tastes and is also quick to burn. A single light dredging makes the skin itself crisp up and produces much nicer results.
My thoughts exactly. I rarely make fried chicken and followed the Cook's Illustrated recipe which requires dredge-buttermilk dip-and dredge again and I was not a happy camper. The results which you describe are exactly what I experienced (couldn't have explained it better), especially where the thick-hard crust browned too quickly. I thought I had problems with my thermometer, very glad I saw this post. Next time will only do a single dredge or find a different method.
I have lived more than 50 years in the South -- born and raised -- and this is indeed a southern fried chicken recipe. Neither of my Tennessee great grandmothers (born in the 1880s, last one died at age 105 in the 1990s) soaked the chicken in buttermilk, and they were cooking right on the farm with birds from the yard. It's okay to marinate in buttermilk, just not necessary. I was taught to check for the right heat for the fat by putting a drop of water in the pan -- if it sizzled, it was hot enough. And what Junasrib says about lowering the heat is indeed key. At the end, I turn the heat back up to crisp the chicken again. Re the banana pudding, if you're not making your own vanilla custard to layer with the bananas and vanilla wafers, don't bother. The egg yolks enrich the custard while the whites go into your meringue. And to find lard, look in the Mexican food section of the grocery store if it's not with the other oils/fats. If the lard mentions partially hydrogenated, know you'll be getting some transfats. And if you ask your butcher for fatback, it's very easy to render your own lard at home.
In Pursuit if Flavor by Edna Lewis
The Gift of Southern Cooking by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock
Biscuits, Spoonbread and Sweet Potato Pie by Bill Neal
Classical Southern Cooking by Damon Lee Fowler
A Gracious Plenty by John T Edge
White Trash Cooking by Ernest Matthew Mickler
My Favorite Maryland Recipes by Mrs J Millard Tawes
These are a few from my collection. I too was born and raised in the South. And much like BBQ, fried chicken changes from region to region. But many of our grandmothers soaked chicken in buttermilk. My grandmother filled the kitchen sink with water and salted it heavily and soaked the chicken in that before the buttermilk. Then came the brown paper bag and the seasoned flour. She taught me to test the oil (she used lard) with flour. Sprinkle flour over the surface and if it just sort of sizzles, it is ready.
IMHO, the secret to making good fried chicken is pork fat and pan frying.
I give you my Dad's recipe, which yields the best fried chicken I have ever eaten in my life.
Rinse 1 package of salt pork, chop into small dice, and render over a low flame in a deep cast iron skillet that has a lid. Take the cracklings out of the pan and hide them from your significant other. Leave the pork fat in the pan.
Add enough canola oil to come up about 1/2 inch in the pan.
Mix flour, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, and whatever else you want in a paper or plastic bag. It doesn't really matter since you won't be able to taste it much anyway.
Shake up chicken pieces one or two at a time in the bag until covered in flour mixture. Lay them aside and let them dry until all the chicken is covered in flour. Let the chicken continue to dry while you heat up the oil.
Heat oil until a piece of bread fries nice and brown in 60 seconds, or 360 degrees if you live in Georgia and have a frying thermometer.
Place chicken in skillet bone side down and fry until nicely golden on the bottom. Don't crowd the pieces or they will steam instead of fry. If they stick don't even try to turn them. When they're ready, they'll turn easily.
Turn and fry for a few minutes on the skin side.
Cover and let cook for 8 - 10 minutes.
Turn over and cook until steam stops coming up from the top of the skillet. When it stops, turn the chicken over again and wait until the steam stops again. (This step crisps up the pieces.)
Lay on brown paper or a rack and let cool.
Eat, preferably at a picnic the next day.
I'll help - Start with this custard:
Multi purpose custard
¼ cup self rising flour
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 ½ cup milk
1 Tbsp vanilla
Stir together 1st 5 ingredients in heavy bottom pan, making sure there are NO lumps. Add milk and cook over medium heat until thickened. Stir occasionally at first, then constantly after it begins steaming, remove from heat when you see the first bubble (do not boil). Add vanilla immediately, then stop stirring.
Add sliced bananas while the pudding is still very warm to infuse the flavor. I would never use banana extract. Cover with saran wrap to avoid “skin”.
Layer w/ nila wafers and more sliced bananas. Top with meringue:
Combine 1 cup sugar, 4 egg whites in a the bowl of an electric mixer set over simmering water. Whisk til sugar dissolves and mixture is frothy. Transfer to mixer, and beat until you get stiff glossy peaks. Pile excessively on top of bp (which looks nice in a triffle bowl) and torch the ridgelines w/ a kitchen torch, or put it under a broiler for a minute if your container will allow.
The pudding recipe is a very old southern recipe. People weren't such pigs back then is my theory, so it doesn't make much. I always double it.
My grandmother would soak the cut up chicken in buttermilk for several hours or regular milk with the juice from a couple of lemons. Then she would take the pieces out, dry them and dip in the egg wash and well seasoned flour. The secret is frying the chicken in lard. I know its hard to find lard that is not hydrogenated, but I'm sure it can be found on the internet. I was sent this link from Niman Ranch after I asked them if they sold lard. So if your adventurous enough you can make your own. I have yet to make any myself, but one day I will.
p.s. You have to use a cast iron skillet!!
'Nana pudding? Just use the recipe on the back of the Nilla Wafers box. Shortcut by using boxed vanilla pudding or if that's anathema to you, make your own. I've heard it said that whipped cream is the winter topping and meringue is the summer topping but I prefer meringue any day. To feed you inner Elvis try sandwiching the wafers with some peanut butter before placing in the baking dish. Highly untraditional but still yummy.
Please don't forget to serve the chicken with butter beans or field peas.
The best fried chicken is brined - Buy a small chicken, anything larger than 3 lbs is pushing it. The bird needs to be cut up country style, with a separate wish-bone piece and two side breasts. Leave as much skin on the bird as possible. This fryer needs to be brined over night in a mixture of 1/4 cup kosher salt to one QUART of water. After brining, drain the bird and replace with an equal amount of whole buttermilk. Allow chicken to soak in the buttermilk all day, then drain, and coat with a well seasoned somewhat salty flour and corn starch mixture, After breading the chicken, allow all pieces to sit on a wire rack for about 20-25 minutes. This last step is crucial for good crunchy fried chicken. Fry in peanut oil at abou 375-400 degrees, starting skin side first, the flip and brown the other side. Now cover and allow to fry covered for about 15-20 minutes. Uncover and allow to crisp up and completely brown. Return pieces to wire rack to cool. This will be the best chicken you have ever eaten. BTW, I like to us Kentucky Kernal breader combined with my cornstarch. It seems to have the correct seasoning ratio to flour. Enjoy!
I'm as real southern as you can get. Native Georgian for many generations on both sides of the family.
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, dredge in flour, fry in Crisco in a cast iron skillet.
I have no quarrel with another equally genuine southerner if your grandmother and mom soaked in buttermilk or anything else.
To me one of the things that really distinguishes home style chicken from that you would get at the local fried chicken joint is the way it is cut up. Every little town around here has someplace to get fried chicken if that is the only place to eat. They all leave a part of the back bone on the thighs and on the side breasts, leaving a center breast.
The way we do it is to make the backbone a separate piece (it is some folks favored piece) and cut out the pulley bone.
yeah, I don't remember my Mom doing the buttermilk thing either. Probably didn't have extra buttermilk to waste. And further heresy, she "pan-fried" her chicken, vs. deep frying. Was that to try to avoid some calories or to avoid wasting the extra oil? I'll have to ask.
for that matter, I never saw my mother or grandmother put any pork fat in any vegetables.