Southern Fried Chicken and Sawmill Gravy

Arcelia Martin
Southern Kitchen
Atkins Park Chicken

About the recipe

The old-fashioned touch of buttermilk combined with the modern-day convenience of deboned chicken breast turns this favorite finger food into a fork-and-knife affair. Buttermilk provides a nice thick surface for the flour to cling to, providing this classic (yet boneless!) fried chicken with a dense breading.

This recipe calls for overnight soaking time.

For the gravy, using bacon grease instead of butter adds flavor to the simple white sauce.

Recipe courtesy of Atkins Park Tavern in Atlanta, Ga.

Serves: 4

Hands On Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 24 hours and 35 minutes


Sawmill gravy

2 tablespoons bacon grease (or butter)

2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup whole milk

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 


Fried Chicken

4 (6-ounce) boneless chicken breasts

2-3 cups buttermilk

Vegetable oil for frying

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


To make the gravy: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the bacon grease. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring regularly for 2-3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook, whisking until mixture comes to a simmer and gravy thickens. Stir in the pepper and season to taste with salt and additional pepper, if desired.

To make the fried chicken: Place the chicken in a plastic storage container and pour enough buttermilk over the chicken to cover (about 1 cup). Turn the chicken to make sure it is completely covered in buttermilk. Cover the container and store in the refrigerator overnight.

Heat the vegetable oil in a fryer or heavy pan to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, pour about 1 cup buttermilk. Remove the chicken pieces from the soaking buttermilk (discard this liquid) and shake off the excess buttermilk. Roll each piece of chicken in the flour to coat, then dip in the fresh buttermilk to coat, then roll again in the flour to completely coat.

Fry the chicken in the hot oil until brown and crispy on the outside and cooked through, 10-15 minutes. Drain the chicken on paper towels.

Serve hot with Sawmill Gravy.


Per serving (for fried chicken only): 417 calories (percent of calories from fat, 29), 45 grams protein, 27 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 13 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 101 milligrams cholesterol, 708 milligrams sodium.

Per serving (Sawmill Gravy): 115 calories (percent of calories from fat, 68), 3 grams protein, 7 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 9 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 15 milligrams cholesterol, 66 milligrams sodium.