• Jonathan Desai

Southern Fried Chicken

When making true Southern fried chicken, I believe less is better. You do not need ten herbs and seasonings, a complicated twenty-four-hour brine, or an egg mixture for this chicken. The secret to this chicken is the buttermilk soak—and you don’t need any extra salt, because the buttermilk is already salty. And when you take it out of the soak, you don’t need to rinse it at all, because that buttermilk is what will help the breading stick. This is some easygoing chicken, just let the buttermilk work its magic. Serves 4


  • 2 pounds chicken pieces, rinsed and trimmed of fat

  • 4 to 6 cups buttermilk

  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided

  • 2 teaspoons onion powder, divided

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 2 cups canola or corn oil, for deep-frying

1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and the buttermilk. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours. Then drain the buttermilk from the chicken, but do not rinse it.

2. In the same bowl, season the chicken with the poultry seasoning, 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1 teaspoon of the garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of the onion powder, and the black pepper. Rub the seasonings all over the chicken, then set the bowl aside.

3. In a separate large bowl, add the flour and the remaining seasonings: 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, paprika, and white pepper. Mix well. Coat the chicken with the seasoned flour two times.

4. In a deep-frying pan or deep fryer, heat the oil to 360 degrees F and deep-fry the chicken for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown and there is no blood when you pierce a piece down to the bone. Remove the chicken pieces and let them sit for 5 minutes before serving.

© 2020 by Rosie Mayes. Excerpted from I Heart Soul Food by permission of Sasquatch Books. 2020. Images © Michael Kartes

Courtesy of Reminder Media, American Lifestyle

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