The Best Southern Fried Chicken

8:25 PM

The Best Southern Fried Chicken is succulent chicken with uncomplicated ingredients of flour, milk, salt, and pepper. 


Babe's is known for its saltwater brining and double dipping, which are the keys to enhancing the flavor of its fried chicken without overpowering it.  

My favorite fried chicken is a simple, perfectly cooked chicken.  

It all started the first time my son took me to eat at the original Babe's Chicken Dinner House in Roanoke, Texas. 

One of their trademarks is that they serve up family style, which is my favorite.  

It makes you feel like you are eating at home. 

The key to Babe's having the most flavorful chicken is that their uncomplicated ingredients enhance the chicken's flavor without overpowering it.

They marinate the chicken in a simple salt water solution for 24-36 hours.

Their secret to the amazing crunchy flavor is double-dipping the chicken in milk, salt, and pepper.

How simple is that?

Now you know why this is my favorite, Simple, Crunchy, Juicy, Flavorful Fried Chicken!

2 qt. water, divided (heat 2 cups and chill the rest)
1/2 cup table salt
3-4 lbs. chicken pieces (I fried thighs and breast)
4-6 cups Crisco shortening (You can use vegetable oil if you like)
2-4 cups flour
1-1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1- 1 1/2 tablespoon coarse black pepper
1-2 cups milk
1-1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
In a medium saucepan, heat 2 cups of water to boiling; and add the salt. Stir until all is dissolved; add the rest of the 2 quarts of water that has been chilled.

Set the salt water solution in the refrigerator until the solution is very cold.

Remove from the refrigerator. Line a resealable bag with a large bowl, and pour the solution into the bag.

Rinse the chicken pieces with cold water and place them in the brine.  

Seal the bag and set it in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours. 

Turn the bag side to side to mix the water around the chicken every 8 hours.  (See note below.)

When ready to fry, spoon shortening into a cast iron skillet or a heavy gauge pan and heat on medium high.  In a paper bag or a large dish, mix the flour, salt, and pepper.

Drain and rinse the chicken, laying each piece on a sheet pan. (Rinsing the chicken is really important.)

In a medium bowl, mix milk, salt, and pepper; set aside. Pick one piece of chicken up at a time and coat it in the flour mixture (first dip). Then, lay the chicken on another clean sheet pan until each piece has been coated.

Start with the first coated piece, and dip in the milk mixture and then again in the flour mixture (second dip), laying them on the same sheet pan.

Place coated chicken in the hot grease one at a time.

Fry each side for approximately 6-8 minutes or until golden brown in color.

The total cooking time for each piece will be about 12 to 15 minutes. You can check with a meat thermometer; it needs to reach 165 F.

Place the chicken on a cooking rack and bake in a warm oven until all the pieces are fried.  

If there is not enough brine, make more. The amount you need will depend on the size of your chicken pieces.

Kay Little
Kay Little

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