Aug 31, 2016

Eleven Herbs & Spices

Earlier this month, Chicago Tribute reporter Jay Jones met Joe Ledington, the nephew of Colonel Sanders.  In the process of the interview, Mr. Ledington took out a family scrapbook that included this hand written chicken recipe that just so happens to be made up of eleven herbs and spices.  Mr. Ledington went on to say that as a kid, he worked for his uncle, blending the herbs and spices with flour and bagging up the mixture to sell to restaurants.

Naturally, representatives for KFC were quick to say that this isn't the real recipe, but several people have followed the instructions and they say that, with a few tweaks, it tastes just like Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Here's the full recipe, as it was tested, from Joe Gray:

Fried chicken with 11 herbs and spices

Prep: 30 minutes
Soak: 20-30 minutes
Cook: 15-18 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/3 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried mustard
  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3 tablespoons ground white pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 chicken, cut up, the breast pieces cut in half for more even frying
  • Expeller-pressed canola oil

  1. Mix the flour in a bowl with all the herbs and spices; set aside.
  2. Mix the buttermilk and egg together in a separate bowl until combined. Soak the chicken in the buttermilk mixture at room temperature, 20-30 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken from the buttermilk, allowing excess to drip off. Dip the chicken pieces in the herb-spice-flour mixture to coat all sides, shaking off excess. Allow to sit on a rack over a baking sheet, 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat about 3 inches of the oil in a large Dutch oven (or similar heavy pot with high sides) over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. (Use a deep-frying thermometer to check the temperature.) When temperature is reached, lower the heat to medium to maintain it at 350. Fry 3 or 4 pieces at a time, being careful not to crowd the pot. Fry until medium golden brown, turning once, 15-18 minutes. Transfer chicken pieces to a baking sheet covered with paper towels. Allow the oil to return to temperature before adding more chicken. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  • A note on MSG: Although KFC has confirmed that its present-day recipe uses MSG, it wasn't part of the list of herbs and spices from the Colonel's nephew.  If you want to try it, sprinkle a bit of it on the finished chicken pieces before eating.