Colonel Sanders was one of my Granddad’s cronies. As a lover of country ham, he sought out the best in Knox County, Kentucky, and since my mom’s father was known for his ability to raise high-quality eating hogs, the Colonel was known to come around every once in awhile for victuals.

Our family would return the favor by visiting the original Kentucky Fried Chicken on Hwy 25 on the way into town; town being Corbin, Kentucky.

“Hey kids, wanna go visit the Colonel”? This was how my mom would ask us if we wanted to go eat fried chicken. Our answer was invariably yes, and before you knew it, we would be barreling out of the holler in the Country Squire on our way to fried chicken bliss.

I decided early on that with this kind of pedigree I was going to need to become a serious fried chicken cook.I took to the task earnestly and experimented for years before coming up with a right respectable recipe.

Here it is:

1 Whole Chicken Cut up

2 Cups Buttermilk

1 Quart Peanut Oil (or enough to fill a big cast iron pan with 3″ of oil)

1 Cup Flour

.5 Cup Corn Meal

1 T. Dried Mustard

2 T. Paprika

1 T. Onion Powder

1 T. Black Pepper

1 T. Cayenne Pepper

2 T. Salt (good salt with no iodine in it)


* Soak chicken for several hours or overnight in heavy ziplock bag in buttermilk

* Drain thoroughly in colander

* Heat oil in heavy cast iron pan til it reaches 360 degrees (if you don’t have a nice thermometer look at the surface of the oil, when it shimmers it’s ready)

* Pour all dry ingredients into brown paper bag, place bag inside 2nd paper bag (for strength)

* Drop the legs and thighs in the bag, and give them a good shake.

* Carefully place them in the oil

* Drop the breasts and wings in the bag and give them a good shake

* Carefully place them in the oil

I like to keep my oven on warm, as the pieces get ready I put them in the oven for a few minutes and let them rest before eating

Good frying technique takes practice. I’ve met a lot of people that thought they didn’t like fried food because they’d never had it carefully prepared.

I remedied that situation by introducing them to the above method.

A digital thermometer that goes up to 500 or so degrees is a very worthwhile kitchen investment and will give you precision in your frying.

I can’t imagine life without one. It would be an empty rattling husk of an existence.

The original Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant still exists in Corbin, Kentucky. It also has a museum attached to it featuring plenty Col. Sanders memorabilia

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