Southern Pan Fried Chicken

Recipe courtesy of The Gift of Southern Cooking by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock

Serves 4

  • whole chicken, about 3 lbs, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 1 lb. lard
  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup country ham, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground balck pepper

Southern Pan-Fried Chicken


Click image to enlarge.


Brine chicken 8 - 12 hours - see brining tips here

Drain the brined chicken and rinse out the bowl. Return the chicken to the bowl and pour in the buttermilk covering each piece. Cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. Remove the chicken and drain on a wire rack, discarding the buttermilk.

Prepare the fat for frying by putting the lard, butter, and coutry ham into a heavy skillet. Cook over low heat for 30-45 minutes, skimming as needed until the butter ceases to throw off foam and the contry ham is browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove the ham carefully from the fat. Increase the temperature of the fat to 355˚F.

Prepare the dredge by blending together the flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Dredge the drained chicken pieces thorughly in the flour mixture, then pat well to remove all excess flour.

Once oil has reached temperature, slip some of the chicken pieces, skin side down into the heated fat. Be careful not to crowd so do in batches. Cook each batch for 8 to 10 minutes on each side, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Drain on a wire rack or crumpled paper towels and serve.

May be served hot, warm or cold.

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