Kentucky is known around the world as the home of Colonel Saunders and his “finger lickin’ good” chicken. This famous version of southern fried chicken is coated with a secret blend of 11 herbs and spices. Copycat recipes have been circulating for years but according to a KFC spokesperson:
“Lots of people through the years have claimed to discover or figure out the secret recipe, but no one’s ever been right.”
However, writer Jay Jones may have stumbled across the illusive recipe. While interviewing the nephew of the iconic restaurant chain founder Harland Sanders in 2016, they came across a hand-written recipe containing flour mixed with 11 herbs and spices.
After the Chicago Tribune published the supposed “leaked” KFC secret recipe, fans of the colonel’s Kentucky fried chicken finally got a chance to put the recipe to the test. Of course I had to try it out…the verdict was that I actually liked it better than the fast food version.
But there are variations of southern fried chicken with different herb and spice mixes, such as Popeye’s fried chicken with its Louisiana spice signature. I thought, why not create a southern fried hybrid. So, with a few tweaks in seasoning and quantity, heat up that peanut oil for Kentucky versus Louisiana.
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Southern Fried Chicken
- 4-6 chicken pieces either thighs or drumsticks
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 large easy-seal freezer bag
- 1 cup peanut oil
- ½ cup sunflower oil optional if needed
- 1 cup flour
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp garlic salt
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp hot paprika cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp white pepper
- ½ tsp dry mustard
- ½ tsp ginger powder
- ½ tsp thyme
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp onion salt
- ½ tsp celery salt
- Trim the excess fat from the chicken pieces but don’t remove the skin.
- Mix all of the herbs and spices in a shallow bowl.
- Mix in the flour and make sure that the herbs and spices are well distributed.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the freezer bag.
- Add the milk to a shallow bowl and dip the chicken pieces in it.
- Remove and shake off the excess milk.
- Add two pieces at a time to the freezer bag, seal the bag and shake to evenly coat the chicken.
- Dredge the chicken pieces in the eggs
- Coat the chicken pieces in the remaining flour mixture and set aside.
- Add the oil to a depth of about 2 ½ inches in a large pot and heat to medium (about 325). Ideally the pot should have room for all of the chicken pieces. If you don’t have enough peanut oil to reach 2 ½ inches, then add some sunflower oil to reach the required level.
- Carefully add the chicken to the pot. There should be enough oil to cover the chicken.
- Cook for about 10 minutes – a little more for larger pieces.
- The chicken is done when the internal juices run clear. It’s best to use a meat thermometer; chicken is cooked when it reaches 180℉
- Remove the chicken and place on a wire rack to drain the excess oil.