History Stories


A Taste of the South: Classic Fried Chicken (Video)

Host Ian Knauer tackles the epitome of Southern comfort food: golden, crisp, juicy fried chicken.

In this exclusive Hungry History video, host Ian Knauer tackles the epitome of Southern comfort food: golden, crisp, juicy fried chicken. Did you know it was introduced to that region of America by both Scottish and African immigrants? Ian takes a bite out of this delicious history while following an 1881 recipe for simple fried chicken with gravy made in the pan with the remaining fat.


1 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 to 10 pieces
Kosher salt and pepper for seasoning
3 cups fine cornmeal
Oil or lard for frying

4 tablespoons oil or lard from fried chicken
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs flat leaf parsley

Heat oil or lard in a large cast iron skillet until the temperature reaches 375. Salt and pepper chicken pieces, then roll into cornmeal. Drop the pieces into the fat and let brown, about 5 to 8 minutes on each side. The chicken is done when the fork passes easily into it, about 15 minutes total (an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees).

After the chicken is cooked, leave a little of the hot oil or lard in the skillet, about 4 tablespoons. Take 4 tablespoons of dry flour and brown it in the fat, stirring around for about 1 minute. Pour in 2 cups milk and cook until the gravy thickens, 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with the chicken and garnish with parsley.

About the Host: After spending close to a decade in the test kitchens of Gourmet Magazine, where he developed recipes and co-hosted “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” and “Adventures with Ruth,” Ian poured his love of food back into his family’s Pennsylvania farm. There, he grows his own vegetables and cooks everything from scratch. He recently released his first cookbook, “The Farm: Rustic Recipes for a Year of Incredible Food.” He also writes for several publications and contributes to Cooking Channel’s “Unique Eats.”

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