Thread Number: 74563  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Southern Fried Chicken
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Post# 983520   2/19/2018 at 23:48 by Michaelman2 (Atlanta, GA)        

I think when asked what is my favorite entree it would have to be really well prepared southern fried chicken. Not greasy or heavy, but flavorful, tender, crisp and pan fried NOT deep fried.

I have a recipe that is really a culmination of several recipes and regions, it is truly the best I have ever have eaten. To me fried chicken is to me an "art" or a labor of love. I know that reads as hokey...

When I find a restaurant that can really "throw down" on fried chicken, I find their other items are usually the bomb as well.

When I lived in NY and Chicago this was a Sunday dinner staple. In my experiences during the 1980s, southern foods were still for the most part in the south. When I would cook a Sunday dinner for friends whom were reared in the north, they had never had authentic fried chicken, southern green beans and biscuits. (or they had not had the southern versions of the aforementioned).

Sweetened iced tea was affectionately called "table wine of the south". These guys would eat like they have never eaten before. The fried chicken was something they loved and I loved making it for them...


1/2 cup coarse/kosher salt
1 chicken (3 pounds), cut into 8 pieces
1 quart buttermilk
2 pounds lard (not the Hormel hydrogenated, boxed lard or Crisco) Peanut Oil will suffice if lard is not available. *lard is not as bad for you as you may have been lead to believe and if you can find it at a local butcher or grocer, it is very worth the find.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup country-ham pieces, or 1 thick slice country ham cut into 1/2-inch strips (thick slab bacon will suffice in a pinch)
1 cup all-purpose flour (White Lilly if available)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
Optional for Buttermilk brine: 4 tablespoons Texas Pete or Tobasco

1. In a large bowl, mix together 1 gallon of water and 1 cup salt; stir until salt is dissolved. Add chicken pieces and let stand, refrigerated, 8 to 12 hours.

2. Drain chicken and rinse out bowl. Return chicken to bowl and pour buttermilk over chicken (if you are adding the Texas Pete/Tobasco mix it with the buttermilk and then pour over chicken). Cover bowl and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours. Drain chicken on a wire rack set over a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, discarding buttermilk. Also gently squeeze off the excess buttermilk, you want the piece to be as "dry as possible.

3. Meanwhile, place the lard, butter, and country ham into a large heavy skillet. Cook over low heat, skimming as needed, until butter has stopped foaming and country ham is browned, 30 to 45 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove ham and discard. Increase heat to medium-high and heat fat until it reaches 335 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer.

4. In a shallow bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, seasoning salt, and pepper. Dredge chicken pieces thoroughly in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess and also "pat" the piece to ensure you do not have excess flour. (you can place the dry ingredients in a large Ziplock and shake them in the dredge if you prefer)

5. Working in batches, gently place chicken pieces in the heated fat. Cook until chicken is golden brown and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack set over a parchment paper-lined baking sheet NOT crumpled paper towels. Serve fried chicken hot, warm, room temperature, or cold.

The corn starch will create the very deep golden brown color you see on the chicken I prepared. It is not burned or overdone, it is almost caramelized. I promise you on this recipe, perfect it, and you will be the fried chicken king or queen, it's that good!

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Post# 983526 , Reply# 1   2/20/2018 at 01:27 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

Wow looks good.  Seems like a labor of love, I have a few recipes like that, lots of effort, but worth it.

Post# 983538 , Reply# 2   2/20/2018 at 06:05 by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

Are you sure about that cooking time? Seems a bit short to cook through.

Post# 983545 , Reply# 3   2/20/2018 at 06:39 by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Yes. Frying chicken is a labor of love. To do it properly you have to stay with it and keep turning it.It is a Sunday dinner staple in the Deep South and whenever I do Sunday dinner, that's what folks expect to eat.

Everybody has their own way to make it and I have tried many different variations over the years. All of them are good to me as I was raised in the Deep South and nothing fried can ever be "bad"!

Thanks for sharing, Michael!

Post# 983561 , Reply# 4   2/20/2018 at 08:57 by joeekaitis (Rialto, California, USA)        
a/k/a The Gospel Bird

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Because the Reverend who came to Sunday dinner gets to take the first piece.

Post# 983571 , Reply# 5   2/20/2018 at 09:50 by GusHerb (Chicago/NWI)        

Well I didn't think I'd be craving fried chicken this early in the day! Now to try your recipe and hope I don't mess it up...

Post# 983572 , Reply# 6   2/20/2018 at 10:00 by Michaelman2 (Atlanta, GA)        

Hey GusHerb... give it a shot. Start your salt water brine today. Jamiel pointed out something that is important, cooking time. He is correct for some pieces it may take 8 to 10 minutes per side to be fully cooked. 165 degrees if checked in the center with a thermometer.

Use tongs to grab and flip the pieces, not a fork. Fried chicken in moderation is a good thing!

Post# 983577 , Reply# 7   2/20/2018 at 10:58 by kevin313 (Detroit, Michigan)        

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I need to be eating this right now!! Looks SO good, Mike! It's a challenge to find really good and authentic fried chicken up here in Michigan, especially that which is skillet fried instead of deep fried. Up here, "broasted" chicken is the big thing, which is essentially deep fried under pressure. It's good, but not the same as the wonderful traditional fried chicken you present.

And to fry in a combination of lard, butter and ham fat is mind-blowing! What flavor!!

And I agree with you - everything in moderation....including moderation!

Post# 983586 , Reply# 8   2/20/2018 at 12:34 by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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if your cooking boneless breast, they will cook faster than thighs or legs....

but this recipes sound delicious....

Post# 983592 , Reply# 9   2/20/2018 at 14:16 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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Other oils to consider for frying might include avocado oil (high in monounsaturated, low in polyunsaturated) and safflower (also low in polyunsaturated). The idea being that polyunsaturated fats tend to degrade more quickly under high heat, forming unhealthy derivatives and trans fats...

Post# 983602 , Reply# 10   2/20/2018 at 15:49 by Michaelman2 (Atlanta, GA)        

Kevin313, Thank you and you are correct, the flavors are imparted by the different processes as opposed to the breading. LOL on "moderation"!

Yogitunes, fact, I used boneless breasts last night.

SudsMaster, I read an article regarding lard recently and there is much research on the fact that lard contains more Omega 3 fatty acids than fish oils. Important note, I am not referring to the awful Hormel boxed lard that is hydrogenated and full of trans fats.

You can place a dab of Crisco, margarine or another hydrogenated oil on your hand and it will stay there, un-melted until doomsday. Conversely if you place lard or butter on your hand they will eventually liquefy.

Remember how vilified coconut oil was for years and now it is the new "health food"? Same with coconut oil, it liquefies at 78 degrees. so it remains liquid when ingested. Ugh, can you imagine what Crisco does when 98.6 is not enough to keep it in a liquid state?...sorry got side tracked:

Not inferring that lard is a health food, however it is not as bad as the "digestible" vegetable oil, Crisco. Butter is exponentially less harmful than
hydrogenated margarine.

I have used safflower oil in place of lard or peanut oil and it works fine, provided it is seasoned with the butter and country ham.

I have never fried foods in avocado oil. Would be expensive but I would imagine delicious in other recipes. (we used to use avocado oil and coconut oil at the beach to fry our bodies in the sun...worked

Post# 983635 , Reply# 11   2/20/2018 at 20:34 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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Yes, I forgot about coconut oil (it's solid at room temp so I tend to think of it as coconut butter ;-).

Crisco, or at least used to be, is chock full of hydrogenated fats. Technically, the least healthful are partially hydrogenated fats. Lard is full of hydrogenated fats: all that means is that all the bonds are fully saturated with hydrogen. Unsaturated fats have double carbon carbon bonds, which are broken with heat and can reform in heat to trans-hydrogenation. Oddly, lard and beef fat naturally have some trans bonds, as well, but it's unclear if these natural trans fats are as unhealthful as artificially partially hydrogenated fats.

Trans fats have been found to raise blood triglyceride levels and bad cholesterol and therefore can contribute to arterial plaque and heart disease.

How can I describe this without drawings? Well, picture two people facing each other, with their arms held forward and holding each other's hands. That's an unsaturated bond. Then picture each person has one shoulder pad. In the case where the shoulder pads are opposite each other (on the right shoulder of one person and on the left shoulder of the other), that would be a CIS unsaturated fat. The shoulder pads represent the tiny hydrogen atoms. If the shoulder pads are kitty-corner from each other, as would be if they are both on the right or left shoulders of the couple, then that's a trans unsaturated configuration. The trans configuration occurs because the industrial methods used to add hydrogen to polyunsaturated fats are indiscriminate, they don't know which shoulder is left or right, whereas natural production of fats knows this and tends to put hydrogens in CIS configurations which are less harmful. The body apparently has a more difficult time dealing with unnaturally configured unsaturated bonds that occur from partial hydrogenation, hence the bad health effects.

It would appear that FULLY hydrogenated oils (fats) would not have any trans unsaturated bonds, so I have read they are less harmful than partially unsaturated oils. But I wonder if this is more theory than experimental evidence.

If you look at a can of Crisco in the market these days, likely the label will state it has zero trans fat. That's because it's a mixture of palm oil (saturated) and poly unsaturated veggie oils (probably soybean). There is, however a catch. The FDA allows labels to say "0" trans fat if the product contains less than a half gram of trans fat per serving. If you look at the ingredients, you'll also see partially hydrogenated oil as an ingredient, but its percentage of the total fat content is low enough to be less than a half gram per serving, and therefore merit the "zero trans fat" claim.

Me, I avoid any product with partially hydrogenated fats. They are unnatural and unhealthy. Ironically, nutritionists once considered partially hydrogenated fats as more healthy than animal fats, and were instrumental in convincing fast food outlets to switch from lard and beef fat to products like the old partially hydrogenated Crisco. Bad idea. Show how scientists are not always right.

I remember Julia Child waxing almost vehement on her show, when talking about margarine vs. butter. She firmly came down on the side of butter - and this was well before the dangers of trans fats were known.

Oh, and coconut oil (or palm oil) will have a long shelf life just like Crisco. It's because unsaturated bonds are less stable than saturated bonds, that's all. Highly polyunsaturated oils like soybean or corn oil tend to have relatively short shelf life. Ever seen the thick glue-like residue that forms from vegetable oil that's been left exposed for a long period? Like oil paint, the unsaturated bonds are oxidizing and cross linking. Not good to eat.

Post# 983636 , Reply# 12   2/20/2018 at 21:24 by Michaelman2 (Atlanta, GA)        

SudsMaster....Thanks for the science, your explanations were great and easily understood.

The sticky residue from the short shelf life highly polyunsaturated oils like; corn, soybean and canola are really evident when someone tries to season a cast iron skillet with these oils. Bacon grease is great to use for seasoning a skillet and has a long shelf life.

I am with you on partially hydrogenated fats. We both agree on Crisco as well. When I have a cake iced with "buttercream icing" and the maker has used Crisco/shortening in place of butter (almost every bakery), I just peel back that mess and eat the cake (which usually is not the best either.

Back to chicken...someone sent me an email earlier asking several questions. Here they are with my replies.

Do you use a cast iron skillet? Yes, it actually is called a chicken fryer. A deep cast iron skillet used for frying.

How about an electric skillet? Absolutely! In my opinion, Electric Skillets are really perfect for frying anything. The thermocontrol is usually accurate, they tend to heat very evenly and they maintain the correct oil temperature. They are also are deep enough for the amount of oil/fat you will use in the process.

Can you fry the bacon in the lard instead of using the country ham? I have never tried doing this. I had mentioned in the original post "thick slab bacon will suffice in a pinch" and I should have been a bit more specific. My guess is if you fry the bacon in the melted lard and butter there will be small bits of the bacon that can drop off and burn in the mixture. This would create a bitter taste.

I would fry the bacon separately and then add the strained grease to the mixture. The country ham really does provide the best flavor and is easier to render/cook.

Typical Side Dishes? My ideal meal is Fried Chicken, Green Beans (pole beans, sometimes referred to as Italian Green Beans, they are the flat green beans) cooked to perfection, Creamed/Fried corn, Mashed Potatoes and Biscuits.

Post# 983637 , Reply# 13   2/20/2018 at 21:27 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
The biggest secret is

DO NOT EVEN TRY to fry a chicken over 3 pounds in weight, anything bigger will be tough and stringy.

Post# 983640 , Reply# 14   2/20/2018 at 21:45 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        
Flat green beans

sudsmaster's profile picture
Yes, those are my favorite. I usually have to grow them in the back garden; they can be hard to find in stores.

Post# 983641 , Reply# 15   2/20/2018 at 21:46 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

ea56's profile picture
You are so correct Hans! I was thinking the same thing when I read the recipe and it calls for a 3lb. chicken. I donít know about everyone else, but where I live all the whole chickens are gargantuan!
Most are at least 5 libs, and they are too tough for frying, but good for roasting.

Remember when stores had fryers and boilers in the poultry dept.? They were usually 2 1/2 lbs. to a little over 3 lbs., and either whole, in halves, quartrers or in ready to fry pieces. I always bought the whole fryers, because after watching Julia Child on TV I learned how to cut up a whole chicken,and its so easy, as Iím sure most reading this already know, and it saves $$.


Post# 983659 , Reply# 16   2/20/2018 at 23:48 by Stan (Napa CA)        

stan's profile picture
What brand of Lard are you using ?
The only thing I can find here...that's fit to use, is organic leaf lard. Expensive

Post# 983662 , Reply# 17   2/21/2018 at 00:06 by Michaelman2 (Atlanta, GA)        


There is a small butcher shop in Atlanta where I purchase leaf lard. You are correct when you say it can be expensive. In your area there should be a farmers market, I know south of you is a farmers market that has many Latin and Asian customers, they will have lard that will be much less expensive than the organic leaf lard you located.

Once you find the source, it will be a really good find. I mentioned above that while lard would not be considered a "healthy food"...the amount of Omega 3 fatty acids (even after being heated) is considerable. It makes a huge difference in baking and of course the recipe above.

Just whatever you do, do not use that horrible Hormel crap that is usually with the shortenings and oils at the grocer is awful...even the smell is foul.

Post# 983667 , Reply# 18   2/21/2018 at 01:26 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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I bought a 25 lb box of Fry King refined lard at the local Costco Business Center about 10 years ago, but never could bring myself to use it, so it eventually got thrown out.

I suppose it's similar to that "Hormel crap", ...


Post# 983670 , Reply# 19   2/21/2018 at 01:48 by Maytagbear (N.E. Ohio)        
For raw small chickens.......

go to the deli counter, if the store sells rotisserie cooked chickens, and ask if they will sell you one. They may blink, but the answer, usually, is "yeah, sure."


Post# 983682 , Reply# 20   2/21/2018 at 06:37 by steve_b79 (Princeton Junction)        

7:37 in the morning, and now I'm craving fried chicken. To heck with my diet - that looks incredible!

Post# 983693 , Reply# 21   2/21/2018 at 09:27 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
The problem with store bought Lard..

And this is coming from one whos family kept hogs for many years, The slaughter houses kill hogs anytime, they pay no attention to the moon phases and they pay no attention if the hog is in heat or not, either will ruin the meat and the lard, No one in the South that kills hogs for their own meat would even think of killing a hog without checking the almanac and making sure the sign was right and no one would kill a hog in heat!You may wonder why one pack of bacon you buy frys nice and makes nice flat crispy strips, and the next pack bows up and looks and tastes bad...they killed one hog in the right sign and one they didn't, same thing with making pickles or kraut...

Post# 983706 , Reply# 22   2/21/2018 at 12:27 by Michaelman2 (Atlanta, GA)        

Not to mention the grocery store lard is artificially hydrogenated.

SudsMaster, my guess is the brand you had is similar to the Hormel product. I cannot believe there is even a market for that stuff. It smells and tastes awful.

Maytagbear, I like your idea about asking the associate about purchasing the raw smaller chicken used in the rotassarie. As mentioned above 3 lbs or smaller for a fryer. I put that in the original post because it makes a difference for frying.

Post# 983743 , Reply# 23   2/21/2018 at 17:32 by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

toploader55's profile picture
Hans, That is so cool.

Here in New England, an old gent said that You never plant Annuals before Labor Day. He also said that If you get snow in the spring, it's known as "Poor Man's Fertilizer".

Post# 983791 , Reply# 24   2/22/2018 at 01:33 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

I'd think twice about buying the chickens used in the rotisserie.  Loaded with chemicals and water, I won't eat them unless I have to.  Often I've found the insides are still half filled with guts, no thanks.

Post# 983833 , Reply# 25   2/22/2018 at 10:42 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
It's also

the brine used in store bought rotisserie chickens. Added salt, sugars, etc.

Post# 983892 , Reply# 26   2/22/2018 at 18:55 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture

The Fry-King boxed lard is targeted to small business/restaurant use... I imagine it's used in deep fryers. I regret, a bit, that I never even tried it or tasted it, but it just didn't look right to me.

I remember my mom used to save all sorts of grease - primarily from bacon - and make lye soap from it. I remember my dad throwing a fit one day (he liked to bake bread occasionally, and it was good) when she told me to wash my hands with that nasty brown lye soap. As I recall the argument got worse and no bread was baked that day, LOL. But that bacon grease lye soap was pretty awful.

Post# 983921 , Reply# 27   2/22/2018 at 23:00 by Michaelman2 (Atlanta, GA)        
Fry King lard and Bacon Soap

I looked up the brand you mentioned and Fry King does appear to be marketed to the commercial deep fryer user. I am not sure what they mean by "refined" however I suspect it has been hydrogenated, bleached and deodorized (guessing here).

Wow, the bacon fat soap...I agree with you, does not appeal to me at all.

Years ago there was a very high end skincare company, Erno Laszlo and they produced a soap that was black. I remember reading the ingredients and it contained "tallow", so I knew it was most likely beef fat in this "tony", high end, expensive soap. They changed the formulation in the late 1970s using another fat and it is still around.

PS, the soap was not made black by the tallow, it was from what they called "sea mud".

Post# 983924 , Reply# 28   2/22/2018 at 23:04 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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As I recall, the Fry-King refined lard was not hydrogenated (why bother hydrogenating lard, anyway, since it's mostly saturated to begin with?). It does have BHA/BHT which are relatively benign preservatives closely related to Vitamin E. Maybe some citric acid too. Next time I see it, I'll take a closer look at the ingredient list.

It may well be deodorized, as it likely comes from pigs fed slop or from fat associated with rotting meat. Who knows?

Post# 983927 , Reply# 29   2/22/2018 at 23:23 by Michaelman2 (Atlanta, GA)        


Yep, this was always my question with Hormel, why hydrogenate something that is saturated anyway? I am wondering if they hydrogenate their lard since it can liquefy at about 86 degrees and that would be a mess in a unlined box?

I think the odor situation was very well explained in reply # 21. I never knew all of what he mentioned, however it all makes complete sense. His post was very enlightening and interesting about the importance of the correct time to slaughter and so forth...

He also makes mention of bacon sometimes looking and tasting bad...boy have I had that happen at times.

Someone emailed me and asked why I dislike Crisco and why I don't use it for frying. I guess the main reason is that it is completely tasteless and the hydrogenation of the oils is just not a good idea, in my book. Does Crisco fry and bake well?....absolutely it does. Just not my thing.

Post# 983929 , Reply# 30   2/23/2018 at 00:05 by Stan (Napa CA)        
Reply 21 Hans

stan's profile picture
Hits the nai on the head.
There isn't much of a reason to hydrogenate good Lard. I suspect they do because its cheaper to store on a grocery shelf, rather than in the refrigerated section.
If the hog was butchered at the right time, and the the rendering is done right, there shouldn't be any color, or odor.
Lye soap = Soap made with animal fat (pork)..If the soap is made right, it would not have any odor (unkess it was scented deliberately) or be anything but pure white.
You don't want to use a smoked meat fat to make soap with.. Not Unkess you had to.

Post# 983955 , Reply# 31   2/23/2018 at 08:22 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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I don't know about Hormel lard, but the Fry King boxed lard comes with a "liner", a big sealed plastic bag that holds the lard away from the cardboard. So, no, there is no containment problem with unhydrogenated lard packaged in that manner.

However, I recall from a nutrition class I took back in the 1970's, that the makeup of lard is based on the diet fed to the pigs from which it is taken. Pigs fed mostly vegetable fodder then to have more liquid lard. Do the math.

Post# 983974 , Reply# 32   2/23/2018 at 10:50 by Stan (Napa CA)        
What math?

stan's profile picture
What are we making..Chicken or soap? I've never seen liquid Lard..melted lard..yes.

Post# 984060 , Reply# 33   2/24/2018 at 02:43 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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Um, for some reason "do the math" has been my cynical catch phrase this week. Maybe it's because I've been anxiously following my retirement accounts lately, trying to decide when to shift to bonds or income producing investments.

What I meant is that if the pigs are fed a diet high in polyunsaturated fats, then their lard will also be higher in polyunsaturated fats. I've never confirmed this, it was graphically related to our university class by the nutrition PhD who taught it. Something along the lines that the fat would just spill out when the carcass was butchered.

Perhaps if the hogs were fed a high corn diet, and corn oil is high in polyunsaturated fats, this is perhaps not so uncommon as one might think.

Sorry, it's not a pretty image but those are the facts of our food chain.

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