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    You are in: Home / Recipes / Bon Ton Style Fried Chicken Recipe
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    Bon Ton Style Fried Chicken

    Total Time:

    Prep Time:

    Cook Time:

    1 hrs 10 mins

    45 mins

    25 mins

    Brandess's Note:

    From Bilko's spice mix is a closely guarded secret, but Donna King, the restaurants cook, shared with us its fundamental ingredients as well as the basic technique — a long marination, at least 24 hours. This results in some of the juiciest chicken we've ever eaten. The chicken must also rest five or ten minutes after being dredged in the seasoned flour to, as King told us, "get doughy." The Bon Ton recipe calls for Ac'cent (monosodium glutamate) in both the marinade and the dredging mixture. We tested it with and without, and the chicken mainly tasted saltier with the Ac'cent, which some people preferred. The formula for this amazing dish dates back to the 1950s and a restaurant in Henderson known as The Colonel’s Lair. It was a favorite haunt of local high school students and it was run by a man named Bill Koch, whom the kids called Bilko because that’s the way he pronounced it. All who remember The Colonel’s Lair agree that Bilko made the best fried chicken anywhere. In the state where Harland Sanders began a fried-chicken empire based on the secret recipe he used in the kitchen of his service station/café, such judgments are not made lightly. Bilko is gone, but Bon Ton proprietor George Markham and his former cook, Donna King, managed to get the recipe for the amazing chicken; and now it is served every day

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    Units: US | Metric


    chicken dredge


    1. 1
      Whisk together all marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
    2. 2
      Add chicken, making sure it is covered with marinade. Chill, covered, stirring twice, about 24 hours.
    3. 3
      Meanwhile, whisk together all dredging ingredients in a large bowl. Drain chicken, discarding marinade. Dredge each piece of chicken in seasoned flour and put on a large baking sheet. Let stand about 10 minutes.
    4. 4
      Heat 2 inches oil in a wide 8- to 9 1/2-quart pot over moderately high heat until a deep-fat thermometer registers 365 to 375°F (Our pot was 12 inches wide and 5 inches deep; if you don’t have that wide a pot, you can fry the chicken in two batches.).
    5. 5
      Fry chicken, turning a few times, 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, then drain on a rack.

    Ratings & Reviews:

    • on November 03, 2011

      Ok! I am from North carolina so I should know something about fried chicken and I DO:) this is the best! I have fried this chicken for many friends and family. Old family recipe for sure! goes way back. Everyone says I make the best. It really is good. Sometimes I ramp it up with spices to make it more cajun. OK ,I eventually come clean
      on where I got the recipe. Enjoy

      people found this review Helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes | No
    • on July 17, 2011


      I too got this recipe out of Gourmet years ago, I still have the magazine (somewhere). This is a recipe you'll want to save. I have increased this recipe to serve as many as 20 people and there every time I serve it everyone just raves about it being the best chicken they have ever had! In fact, I am going to make it again today. If you are going to go to the trouble to make fried chicken, you may as well take a few extra steps to ensure it is delicious.

      people found this review Helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes | No
    • on February 28, 2010


      This is some of the best chicken I have ever had! I don't use the Accent (too salty for us) and I always use Kosher salt, which means even less salt than the recipe calls for. If you are feeling really decadant, fry the chicken in a mixture of bacon grease and oil. Yummm, this is so good, thanks for posting, Humble Bee.

      people found this review Helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes | No

    Read All Reviews (4)


    Nutritional Facts for Bon Ton Style Fried Chicken

    Serving Size: 1 (461 g)

    Servings Per Recipe: 8

    Amount Per Serving
    % Daily Value
    Calories 1846.9
    Calories from Fat 1600
    Total Fat 177.7 g
    Saturated Fat 25.1 g
    Cholesterol 92.2 mg
    Sodium 2850.0 mg
    Total Carbohydrate 37.9 g
    Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
    Sugars 0.4 g
    Protein 28.1 g

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