Grandmother’s Pan Fried Chicken

This is a piece I did for my friends over at Onward Reserve for their Gazette.  Fun stuff…I thought you RCS readers would enjoy it as well:

Family recipes have a strange way of being a common denominator in childhood memories. When reflecting on memories growing up, it’s funny how comments like ‘Remember when Grandmother made (this or that)? Man it was good…’ One recipe that has stuck with my family is my Grandmother’s pan fried chicken.

Her talent in the kitchen is almost unmatched – when visiting, every morning started with a spoonful of lard to cook the eggs, and ended saving the bacon grease for the next meal. Most of the vegetables came from the garden in their back yard, and the meat came from the butcher down the street. They grew up in a very small South Carolina town, so everyone knew everyone – including the butcher. We’d call for chicken, and he already knew the amount.

Grandmother’s pan fried chicken is clearly the way God intended for chicken to be served. It is possibly the perfect food – served fresh out of the pan for dinner with rice and gravy for dinner, served cold for lunch, for tailgates, for family gatherings, or for events in town, she never seemed to make enough.

The good part about pan frying chicken is the thin, but crisp crust that forms on the outside of the meat from touching the pan. Deep fried chicken almost floats in grease, and usually has a lot more breading. While I won’t turn down fried chicken, I would choose pan fried seven days a week and twice on Sunday.

Here’s how she does it:

Salt and Pepper chicken pieces (bone in, skin on)
Refrigerate for two hours
Rinse chicken

Roll chicken in the flour mixture (2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper)

In an electric frying pan
Heat ½” Wesson oil on medium heat
Cook the breasts first, then the thighs, legs, and wings, turning regularly until internal temp is 165 degrees (and the juices run clear)

The icing on the cake? Make gravy with the drippings:

Drain the fat from the cooking grease
Add flour in the drippings until it turns golden brown
Add milk and stir until it turns to a gravy consistency

Serve over white rice. Instantly make friends.

Got a family recipe you’d like to share?



  1. BJH
    07/09/2015 / 10:11 AM

    Sweet Jesus. That colander reminds me of my own granny. Same one. A couple of years ago, I started mixing a tablespoon of paprika OR smoked paprika in my flour, salt, pepper mixture. Adds a little something.

  2. Jeff
    07/09/2015 / 12:28 PM

    Pan fried is the only way to go. My mom’s okra and tomato recipe beats the hell out of fried or stewed okra. She basically sautes it. Here it is:

    About 3 handfuls of fresh okra, chopped into cubes
    One onion, chopped
    One 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes (drain off as much of the juice as you can)
    About 4 slices of good bacon
    Salt, pepper and maybe Emeril’s Essence

    Fry up the bacon crisp at whatever temp you normally use. You want it crisp but not burnt.
    Drain the bacon on paper towels
    Retain the grease and put in the okra, onion and tomato
    Season with the salt, pepper and the essence
    Let it simmer at medium heat and stir occasionally
    Chop up the bacon and stir it in
    Let it simmer until the onions are completely clear
    Eat it.

  3. Charlotte K
    07/10/2015 / 5:52 AM

    That’s how my grandmother made it. Born in Northern GA, lived in Walhalla, SC. Rice-and-gravy, practically one word. I haven’t had that in years! I make pretty good pan fried chicken (and no one gets the difference between that and deep fried, unless they were raised on it) but I don’t make rice and gravy when I do. I need to fix that!

  4. seth tapp
    07/10/2015 / 10:07 PM

    That’s some good eatin right there. Granny’s have a way with fried chicken and the fixin’s. Another great post! keep up the good work!

  5. MPR
    07/15/2015 / 5:35 PM

    What do you mean by “drain the fat from the cooking grease?”

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