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Fried Chicken


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Fried Chicken

This recipe comes with lots of notes. It very closely resembles what fifi has talked about with the chicken her Aunt Minnie used to fry. I still have a recipe card, written in spidery cursive, in fountain pen, that is splattered with oil droplets, from my Aunt Laura, who made this every time we came to visit. This would have been a different time and place. The chicken would have been killed and dressed the day before, and the chicken chosen by her while it was still wandering around pecking food. She would not have used tabasco; simply not available in Osceola, Nebraska back when she began frying chicken. She used the cayenne. When she moved into a nursing home, I don't know what possessed me to say to my sister "you take the cast iron pans (the ones she used to fry chicken). My sister is a vegetarian!


  • 1 small chicken*
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 4 T salt**
  • 1 T Tabasco***


  • 4 c Flour
  • 2 T Salt**
  • 1 T Ground pepper****

For frying

  • Crisco and bacon grease, or peanut oil*****
  • Cookie sheet
  • Grocery bags******

*The chicken. I'd chase it around. The farm woman (Irma) would kill it, until I was old enough to do it. We'd dress it ourselves. Laura was right. It needs to be a small chicken, so it cooks well and evenly before it gets too brown.

Laura's recipe specifies "fresh" buttermilk, as in from a farm. The stuff in a carton works just fine.

**Salt. I use kosher, and have accomodated for such in the quantities. Laura used regular Mortans' table salt; I don't think you could get Kosher salt in Osceola's tiny market (which has closed)

***Tabasco. Her recipe calls for two "smidges" of cayenne. I know had she had access to Tabasco in the 1930's in Nebraska, she'd have chosen that. But, that tiny little market in Osceola...she was lucky to find a dusty rectangular can of cayenne.

****She used the pre-ground stuff. I use freshly and finely ground. Her cans of stuff had actual price tags on them -- and given when she purchased them (never toss anything!), they each cost like $.15.

*****Laura always used a combo of bacon grease and crisco, and she used to strain it afterwards into a coffee can through a really old thread-bare flour sack dish cloth

******According to Laura, you must put the oven on low and put a mess of brown paper grocery bags on a "cookie sheet" for the chicken pieces as they are done.

For the method (and now I quote Laura):

Soak the cut up chicken in the buttermilk with the first salt and the cayenne (Tabasco). Put overnight or in the cellar overnight.

Mix the flour, second salt and the pepper in a paper bag.

Put the bacon grease and crisco into the cast iron skillet. When it is melted, stick the Taylor in and when it gets close to 350, put 1/2 of the chicken pieces -- one at a time, my dear -- into the four and lay them in the hot pan.

When the pan is full, put on a lid -- you don't want the temp to drop too much, and when it looks right (peek!), turn the chicken over. You don't need to put the lid back on for the backside of the chicken.

When it looks done, put on the paper bags on the cookie sheet and slide into the oven and fry the next batch.

Doc (her husband) really likes the backs, so save them if you break up a chicken and don't use them.

Keywords: Main Dish

( RG1555 )

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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