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Recipe courtesy of My Family Table by John Besh/Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011.

It’s this classic buttermilk batter that gives chicken its crunchy texture. The batter should just barely adhere to the chicken, so make sure you give each piece a little shake to let extra batter drop off before frying. After the chicken is in the hot oil, my grandmother would put the lid on her pot and a kind of pressure cooker thing begins to happen inside, meaning the meat inside gets to cook, leaving the outside crispy.


  • 1 free-range, organic chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 3 cups flour
  • Canola oil


  • Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, soak the chicken in the buttermilk for at least 15 minutes. The idea is that the lactic acids tenderize the chicken. Sometimes my grandmother would even put the soaking chicken in the fridge overnight.
  • Mix the flour, salt, and pepper together and spread on a plate. Dredge each chicken piece in the seasoned flour to coat well.
  • Heat about 1 inch of canola oil in a cast iron pan until it reads 350˚ on a candy thermometer. In small batches, place a few pieces of the chicken in the oil at a time and fry for 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, turn each piece over, then cover the pan to cook for an additional 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels and salt well.

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