People usually associate Southern cooking with three things: Biscuits, BBQ, and Fried Chicken. I probably need to get my passport revoked because I have not until today, put up a single blog post or recipe on fried chicken. Fried chicken is a lot like BBQ sauce or potato salad. Every Southern cook has their own version and usually, a couple of good stories to go with it. Here's mine...

My mom grew up in a children's home in Troy, Alabama during very hard times. The kids all had to have a job and my mom always preferred to be in the kitchen. Once a week there would be fried chicken and they would have to go out in the yard and catch the chicken, kill it, clean it and then help cook it. Ugh. Hard to imagine. Mom taught me how to cut up a whole chicken and her techniques for frying. The big secret is the buttermilk. Don't skip that step... makes the chicken so juicy.  Here is my mom's recipe. I still use her cast iron skillet when I make it.

I don't often make fried chicken these days but when I do, it is always the star of the party.

I don't often make fried chicken these days but when I do, it is always the star of the party.



1 whole chicken with skin, cut up (about 3 pounds)

2 cups buttermilk

1 tablespoon kosher salt + 1 teaspoon

1 teaspoon black pepper + ½ teaspoon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon paprika

3 cups self-rising flour

6-8 cups Canola oil for frying based on the size of your skillet or Dutch oven

Special equipment: Thermometer for frying and a meat thermometer


Put the chicken pieces in a large zip top bag. Pour the buttermilk over it and close. Toss to coat all of the chicken. Put the bag in a bowl and place it in the refrigerator for 8-24 hours to soak, turning the bag occasionally.

When you are ready to fry, fit a deep cast iron skillet or Dutch oven with a thermometer. Pour in the oil about 1 ½ to 2’ deep. Over medium high heat, bring the oil up to 360 degrees. You want to try to keep the oil at 360 during frying process. It will drop as you put in the chicken but let it come back to 360 degrees before adding more.

Combine the 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, cayenne, and paprika. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and discard the buttermilk. Season the chicken liberally with the spice mixture on all sides.  

Put the flour plus 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a zip top bag. (Back in the day, we used a brown paper bag.) Take the chicken, one or two pieces at a time and put into the flour mixture. Shake well to coat. Lightly shake off excess. Put on the baking rack after you have coated each piece.

When the oil is up to temperature, use the tongs to carefully put the coated pieces of chicken into the hot oil. Do this in batches, taking care not to overcrowd or put too many pieces in the pan at one time. You will lower the oil temperature and the skin will not be crispy. Cook the chicken for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally until the chicken is deep golden brown and delicious. Remove one piece of chicken and check the temperature with a meat thermometer at the thickest part of the breast or thigh but away from the bone. Chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees F. Drain on a rack covered with a brown paper bag. You may want to lightly sprinkle the hot chicken with a little salt. That’s how my mom did it. Hope you like it as much as I love remembering those days standing by the stove with my mom, on chicken duty.

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My mom made a pot roast every other Sunday. On the alternate Sundays we had fried chicken, or a rump roast. I don’t know how she did it- getting four kids ready for church and then minutes after we arrived home, she’d whip up some cornbread and take the pot roast out of the oven. She did not even have to call us in from the yard. We were already at the table. I helped my mom make this dish a hundred times. I wish I’d written down exactly how she did it. She cooked it in her big cast iron Dutch oven- what I always called the “chicken pot” because she used it to fry chicken. Even though I still have that same Dutch oven, it has taken me ten years of trying different options to get the flavor just right. I finally discovered I was leaving out the bay leaf… that was the missing ingredient. Make this recipe for your family. You can be assured that 40 years later, your kids will still remember the taste and the times gathered around the table when you served it.



1 ½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1-(3 pound) chuck roast, trimmed (boneless or bone-in, if you prefer)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 small yellow onions, quartered

3 cups beef broth

1 tablespoon Worcestershire

2 bay leaves

3 thyme sprigs

6 carrots, peeled and halved

6 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered into wedges


Preheat oven to 350° F. 

Remove the roast from the fridge. While it is still cold, trim any excess fat from the sides of the cut. In a small bowl, combine the salt and pepper. Season each side of the roast liberally with it. Allow it to sit out for 15 minutes on the counter.

Next, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour over each side of the roast, patting it into the top, bottom, and sides.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil and pan are hot, add the roast and sear it well on all sides; approximately 3 minutes for the top and bottom and a minute or so for the sides.

Remove the roast to a plate. Set aside. Add the beef broth a little at a time, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the Worcestershire. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat. Add the onion, bay leaves, and thyme to the pan. Add the roast on top. Cover with the lid and put into the oven at 350° F for 1 ½ hours.

Add the carrots and potatoes. Cook for another hour or until the vegetables are tender (not mushy) and the roast pulls apart easily.

Remove the roast to a plate and shred it. Serve with potatoes, carrots, onion, and a bit of the cooking liquid as gravy.

Note: If you want a thicker gravy, you can make a slurry with flour. Remove the roast and the vegetables to a platter or bowl. Discard the thyme and bay leaves. Add 3 tablespoons of the hot liquid to 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour and whisk until smooth. Turn up the heat under the pan to medium high. Whisk the flour mixture into the cooking liquid and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 2-3 minutes more so you cook out the raw flour taste. If the gravy is too thick, you can add more beef broth as desired. Before serving, check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper to taste.

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When I was a kid, my mom would make us a cake or pie everyday... usually it was pie but on occasion, she would make Apple Dapple Cake... a recipe she got from someone along the way. It was one of the few recipes she actually used and I have a copy of it in her handwriting... a treasured possession. I took that basic recipe and made it into one of my favorite fall desserts by adding the hot caramel because what is more fall than caramel apples? I like to serve it slightly warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I served this cake to over 300 guests at the after-party following the Hangout's Oyster Cookoff in November to rave reviews. My mom would be so proud.

Caramel Apple Cake is a wonderfully easy cake to make for fall tailgates, festivals, or Saturday morning coffee.

Caramel Apple Cake is a wonderfully easy cake to make for fall tailgates, festivals, or Saturday morning coffee.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour plus 15 minutes


3 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped fine

3 apples, peeled and chopped fine

1  1/2 cups vegetable oil (like Wesson)

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla


1 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup whole milk

3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)


Spray a tube pan with Baker’s Joy or grease and flour it. Preheat oven to 350.

For the cake: Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add apples and pecans. Stir to coat the fruit. Mix together oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add to the fruit mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Remove from the oven and sit on a wire rack to cool. While the cake is still hot, pour the caramel sauce over it and then let it cool completely before removing from the pan.

For the hot caramel sauce: Put the sugar in a saucepan over low heat until it starts to melt. Add the butter. Swirl the pan until the butter melts. Add the milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly so it does not burn. Pour the hot caramel directly over the hot cake while it is still in the pan. Be careful- the hot sugar will burn!

NOTE: It is important to pour the caramel over the cake in the pan because it creates this great coating on the bottom, side and top of the cake. As much as you want to eat it, you have to allow it to cool completely before you remove it from the pan. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to help release it.

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