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Grandmother Grace's Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken
Fried ChickenBrandon Goodwin / TODAY


  • 1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Canola oil
  • Chef notes

    John Besh shares a family recipe for juicy and crispy buttermilk fried chicken.


    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 together the flour, celery salt, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Dredge each chicken piece in the seasoned flour to coat well. 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.

    Heat about 1 inch of canola oil in a heavy skillet until it reaches 350 ̊. Place a few pieces of the chicken in the oil at a time and fry for 6-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, turn each piece over, then cover the pan to cook for an additional 6 minutes. (After the chicken was in the hot oil, my grandmother would put the lid on her pot and a kind of pressure cooker thing began to happen inside-the meat inside gets to cook, leaving the outside crispy.) Drain on paper towels and salt well.

    Recipe reprinted with permission from Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes by John Besh/Andrews McMeel Publishing.