Gray’s Fried Chicken
How careless of me to go for so long without having a bona-fide southern fried chicken recipe on my site! All the other staples of southern cooking are well-represented—the mashed potatoes, sweet potato fries, corn breads—but fried chicken, which is the quintessential southern dish, was absent for all this time.
For the grand debut of my southern fried chicken recipe, I decided to go back to my roots.
I tried to make this recipe as close to my granny’s old recipe as possible. I even named it after her! Gray’s Fried Chicken takes me all the way back to the sweetest days of my childhood.
I love this recipe so much, I plan on including it in my next cookbook. I haven’t talked about the new cookbook I’m writing much yet—it’s still a work-in-progress—but all of the recipes are just as special to me as this one.
I’m going back to all the biggest memories of my life and bringing those moments back to life through food. I’m doing all I can to add new life and dimension to good old-fashioned southern cooking, starting with fried chicken.
For more wholesome recipes, old and new, check out my latest cookbook, Harvest.
Gray's Fried Chicken
- one 4-4 1/2 pound whole chicken cut into pieces
For the Brine
- 1 gallon water
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 6-10 pepper corns
- 1 bay leaf
For the Buttermilk Dip
- 2 cups buttermilk
- hot sauce
For the Flour Dredge
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup bacon drippings
- For the brine, combine water, salt, and sugar in a large stockpot. Over high heat, bring mixture to a boil and whisk until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat and add the peppercorns and bay leaf. Allow to cool completely and place chicken in the stockpot with the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours. Drain chicken, rinse with cold water, and pat dry.
- Place a wire rack over a sheet pan for the dredged chicken awaiting frying. In a medium bowl, whisk buttermilk and a few dashes of hot sauce together.
- In a shallow plate, combine flour, salt, black cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Dip each piece of chicken into the buttermilk mixture, then the flour mixture and shake off any excess flour. Place the coated pices of chicken on the wire rack.
- Combine vegetable oil and bacon drippings in a 12-inch cast iron skillet or chicken fryer. When the oil reaches 375 degrees, add no more than four pices of chicken at a time, skin side down. Cover and cook 6 minutes then turn the chicken over and cook another 6 minutes covered. Uncover and cook about 5 more minutes, or until a thermometer registers 165 degrees. Remove the chicken from the oil and place on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet.