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Southern Pan-Fried Chicken

This recipe for Southern pan-fried chicken is from "The Gift of Southern Cooking" by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock.

  • servings: 4




  • 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 chicken (3 pounds), cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 2 pounds lard
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup country-ham pieces, or 1 thick slice country ham cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Step 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. Step 2

    Drain chicken and rinse out bowl. Return chicken to bowl and pour over buttermilk. Cover bowl and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours. Drain chicken on a wire rack set over a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, discarding buttermilk.

  3. Step 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. Step 4

    In a shallow bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Gently squeeze chicken to remove any excess buttermilk. Dredge chicken pieces thoroughly in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.

  5. Step 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 or crumpled paper towels. Serve fried chicken hot, warm, room temperature, or cold.

The Martha Stewart Show, November Fall 2007



Reviews (1)

  • 20 Nov, 2007

    This sounds really good. I can't always get country ham so I will substitute thick slab bacon. When I try this, I want to add a little curry powder to the flour for the last couple of pieces and see how that tastes.