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Apr 21, 2007 08:57 AM

REAL SOUTHERN fried chicken recipes from

Grandma or Auntie? You have any please tell me how? And a banana pudding recipe to finish the great meal.

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  1. 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.

    1. 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!!

      13 Replies
        1. re: Stack8

          Just curious--why isn't that description "southern" in your view?

          1. re: Ora

            Why isn't there any dipping in buttermilk (actually double-dipping, buttermilk-flour-buttermilk-flour)?

            1. re: mlgb

              some do not use any liquid at all barring the frying oil (which should actually be a soild at room temp(unless it is a really warm day)).

              1. re: mlgb

                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.

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  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.

          2. re: Junasrib

            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.

            1. re: TNExplorer

              You are so helpful thanks, do you know of any good southern cookbooks I could buy or websites for recipes? Thanks

              1. re: nbermas

                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.
                Happy cooking.

                1. re: jdm

                  Add: The Taste of Country Cooking, by Edna Lewis

                  1. re: jdm

                    brown paper bag...yes!!!!
                    also Ronni Lundy has some great southern cookbooks!

              2. re: Junasrib

                How nice of you to share your spice recipe. I'm a Canadian, who has the highest respect for good family recipes,there is no one on the planet , that can fry chicken like people from the south, thanks so much for sharing, I will give this a try,,

              3. 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.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Euonymous

                  "Take the cracklings out of the pan and hide them from your significant other..."

                  What a good laugh, and amen, sister.


                  1. re: cristina

                    I have always hidden the cracklings. From EVERYBODY! Glad to know that it is not just me! Great recipe btw.

                  2. Banana pudding

                    Layer vanilla wafers, and sliced banana in a 8x8 glass baking dish. Top with sweetened meringue and bake until meringue is browned.
                    As an alternative, you can topped with whipped cream and not bake.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: QueenB

                      No banana custard in that???

                      I do a layer of wafers, layer of bananas, cover with custard, repeat and then top with meringue. Then bake it of course.


                      1. re: Davwud

                        Yeah, I kind of forgot about that while I was typing. Thank you.
                        Although, I use vanilla custard as opposed to banana.

                        So, let me try this again...
                        Layer vanilla wafers, vanilla custard and sliced banana. Top with sweetened meringue and bake.

                        I must have been drunk.

                        1. re: QueenB

                          Next time, buy some banana extract and make a banana custard. I'll put my recipe up against any I've ever had and I'm quite certain that's a big part of the reason.
                          The wife will attest to that too.


                          1. re: QueenB

                            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.

                      2. 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!!