Skip to main content

Southern Fried Chicken & Cheddar Biscuits from Jennifer Dillavou, President & CEO, UIAA

Southern Fried Chicken Recipe


  • ½ C plus 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 lbs chicken thighs
  • 1 quart Buttermilk
  • 2 lbs lard
  • 1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 thick slice country ham cut into ½ inch strips
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 TBS cornstarch
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper


  • Step 1
    • In a large bowl, mix together 1 gallon of water and 1 cup salt; stir until salt is dissolved. Add chicken thighs and let stand, refrigerated for 8-12 hours.
  • Step 2
    • Drain chicken and rinse out the bowl. Return chicken to the bowl and pour over buttermilk. Cover the bowl and refrigerate 8-12 hours. Drain chicken on a wire rack set over a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, discarding the buttermilk.
  • Step 3
    • Meanwhile place the lard, butter and country ham into a large heavy skillet (preferably a well seasoned, cast iron skillet). Cook over low heat, skimming as needed, until the butter has stopped foaming and the country ham is browned, which should be 30-45 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove ham and discard. Increase heat to medium-high and heat fat until it reaches 335 degrees on a deep-fry or candy thermometer.
  • Step 4
    • In a shallow bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, paprika and pepper. Gently squeeze chicken to remove and excess buttermilk. Dredge chicken pieces thoroughly in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.
  • Step 5
    • Working in batches (perhaps 4 at a time), gently place chicken pieces in the heated fat. Cook until chicken is golden brown and cooked through (5 minutes each side). Transfer to a wire rack set over a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Cook for 20 minutes at 250 degrees, turning halfway through to ensure the chicken is cooked through and fully crisped. Serve hot, warm, room temperature or cold.

Cheddar Biscuits Recipe


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 TBS granulated sugar
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¾ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ sweet or hot paprika
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into ½ inch cubes, plus 6 TBS melted unsalted butter
  • 8 oz sharp or extra-sharp Cheddar, shredded (about 2 packed cups)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg


  • Step 1
    • Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Step 2
    • In a medium bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder, salt and paprika to combine. Add the ½ cu cubed butter and toss until each piece is coated completely in flour mixture. Use a pastry cutter or your hands to rub the butter into the flour, continuing to work the mixture until the butter is almost fully blended into the dough. There can still be a few larger pieces of butter, but none should be larger than a pea. If the butter feels soft or melty at any point, refrigerate the mixture in the bowl for 15 minutes before continuing.
  • Step 3
    • Stir in 1 1/2 cups/170 grams of the cheese into the flour mixture. Make a well in the center of the bowl. In a liquid measuring cup or in a small bowl with a spout, whisk the buttermilk and egg until well combined. Pour the mixture into the medium bowl and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the mixture is combined. Near the end, you may have to fold it over itself a few times in the bowl to make sure it’s uniformly combined. (Resist the urge to use your hands so that the mixture doesn’t get too soft or compressed.)
  • Step 4
    • Scoop the dough into 12 even portions (about 1/2 cup/80 grams each) onto the prepared sheet pan. Stagger the biscuits on the baking sheets. (You should have 6 biscuits per sheet pan.)
  • Step 5
    • Brush each biscuit with the melted butter (you won’t use it all) and divide the remaining shredded cheese among the tops of the biscuits (about 2 teaspoons per biscuit).
  • Step 6
    • Transfer to the oven and bake the biscuits for 15 minutes, then brush each biscuit with butter again, and rotate the pans between the oven racks. Continue to bake until the biscuits are light golden and the cheese on top is deeply golden, 5 to 10 minutes more. The biscuits should spring back gently when touched in the center.