Serious Eats: Recipes

The Best Fried Chicken Recipe Ever?

Many, many years ago, before I even started writing about food, I went to Atlanta on a business trip. I have no idea what the business trip was about, but what I really went to Atlanta to do was taste fried chicken. I went to to the justifiably famous Deacon Burton's, Mary Mac's Team Room, and a new restaurant, the Horseradish Grill, because I had heard that the chef there had learned how to make fried chicken from the legendary Edna Lewis (pictured, right). Deacon Burton's chicken was truly fine, Mary Mac's was merely very good, but the chicken made by Scott Peacock (also pictured), Edna Lewis' protégé, was damn near perfect. It was crisp, greaseless, perfectly seasoned, and had that one-two punch of great dark brown crust and tender, juicy meat that all great fried chickens must have.

When I showed up last weekend at the Southern Foodways seminar, what was in our welcome packet? A copy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's food section from October 18, which was mostly devoted to the joys of making and eating fried chicken. It had recipes from all the places I mentioned and even threw in the late Austin Leslie's Creole Fried Chicken with New Orleans Confetti, another sure-fire Fried Chicken Hall of Fame entrant.

Then, to complete my fried chicken education, I got a chance to hang out with Peacock at the conference, and we talked a lot about his and Ms. Lewis's fried chicken recipe, which he serves at his current Atlanta restaurant, Watershed, on Tuesday nights.

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Photograph by Christopher Hirscheimer

Read no further unless you want to know just how many calories each serving of this fried chicken has. If this number alarms you, consider this: An awful, soggy ham-and-provolone sandwich I had at a Wolfgang Puck kiosk at an airport recently had more than a thousand calories. -->

Per serving: 494 calories (percent of calories from fat, 59), 38 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 32 grams fat (12 grams saturated), 138 milligrams cholesterol, 466 milligrams sodium.

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