|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 65g||84%|
|Saturated Fat 16g||82%|
|Total Carbohydrate 35g||13%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||6%|
|Total Sugars 3g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||6%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Nothing says Southern Sunday dinner, after a glorious church sermon, like a platter of crispy golden fried chicken. And nobody loved fried chicken more than Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It epitomized his love for the food and traditions of his heritage…simple good eating was how he saw it.
In my most recent cookbook, Meals Music and Muses, this dish takes center stage as a treasured delicacy… An African Americans' eatable legacy to be enjoyed anytime the spirit hits you.
“ The nostalgia that comes from enjoying a fried chicken dinner after church will always bring a smile to my face and stomach. This recipe is worth highlighting, not just because of its historical value but also because fried chicken is comfort food. You can feel the love with each bite and dab of hot sauce." – Kiana Rollins
2 (3-pound) whole chickens, cut into 8 pieces each
2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon garlic powder, more to taste
1 tablespoon onion powder, more to taste
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
1 teaspoon sweet paprika, more to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, more as needed
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Marinate the chicken:
Gather the ingredients. Rinse the chicken pieces under cool water and pat dry.
In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, paprika, salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Add the chicken and toss until coated.
Refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Fry the chicken:
Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off any excess. Place on a platter or plate (discard the marinade). Let the chicken come to room temperature. Meanwhile, gather the remaining ingredients.
Fill a large cast-iron skillet halfway with oil. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350 F.
Add the flour, salt, and pepper to a wide rimmed plate and. Stir to combine.
Dredge the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess and transfer to another plate or platter.
Once the oil has reached the right temperature, working in batches to avoid crowding the skillet, add the chicken and fry, undisturbed, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes (smaller pieces may need less time).
Turn the pieces and fry, undisturbed, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 165 F, 5 to 6 minutes more (larger pieces may need more time). Adjust the heat to maintain the oil temperature, if necessary.
Drain on a crumpled brown paper bags, paper towels, or a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt as chicken drains. Serve immediately.
Fried Chicken Origins
A combination of West African batter frying in palm oil and Scottish flour frying in animal fat is how we arrived at the recipe for fried chicken that is prevalent today. Fried Chicken was a Southern dish that traveled from the African American communities to main street White America.
Some say that the negative stereotypes about black people and fried chicken can be traced to D. W. Griffith’s 1915 film Birth of a Nation. Many of these images were a direct parallel to Jim Crow images and ignorant impressions that belittled us and compromised our dignity. Even though we loved fried chicken and all the great dishes that went with it, there was the impression that by eating it, you were supporting the less-than-favorable concept White America had created for you. Shame is the gift that keeps on giving, from slavery to racism and discrimination.
But when you step away from the stereotypes, there’s a lot to love in the memories of fried chicken. In the days when blacks couldn’t eat at every restaurant, black folks who traveled packed themselves a “shoebox lunch.” I dare say there isn’t a Southerner alive born before 1960 who didn’t know someone who always made one. I love my version, served high or low: on silver platters or a picnic blanket, this is a dish that’s bound to satisfy.
Excerpted MEALS, MUSIC, AND MUSES: Recipes From My African American Kitchen by Alexander Smalls with Veronica Chambers. Copyright © 2020 by Alexander Smalls. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved.