Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Fry early in the morning to serve that night or fry the day before to serve for the next day.


  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup Tabasco
  • 2 (3 1/2 - 4 pound) frying chickens, cut into serving pieces, well-washed and dried
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable oil


  1. Combine the buttermilk and Tabasco in a large non-reactive bowl.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat well.
  3. Cover with plastic film and allow to marinate for 3 hours.
  4. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  5. Place the flour in a large plastic bag.
  6. Combine the salt and cayenne. When well-blended, add to the flour and shake to blend. Working with one or two pieces at a time, add the marinated chicken to the flour mixture and toss to coat well. When nicely coated, transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheets. Continue coating chicken until all pieces are done.
  7. Heat 2 cups of oil in each of two large heavy duty frying pans until very hot but not smoking.
  8. Add the chicken pieces to the hot oil, taking care not to crowd the pans, and fry, turning occasionally, for about 25 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown and crisp.
  9. Using tongs, transfer the fried chicken to paper towels to drain. (If you need to make more than two batches, preheat the oven to low.
  10. Place the fried chicken on baking sheets in the preheated oven with the door slightly ajar. This will keep the chicken warm and crisp while you continue frying.)
  11. Place the chicken on a large serving platter.

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