"Eating fried chicken on a Maryland farm," 1942. Photo from Library of Congress.

Celebrating National Fried Chicken Day with Classic Maryland Fried Chicken

07/06/2022
By Preservation Maryland

On July 6th chicken lovers across the country recognize National Fried Chicken Day. In Maryland, Maryland Chicken or Chicken a la Maryland is one of the most famous historic dishes from the Old Line State. Essential to any summer picnic, we present the history of Maryland Fried Chicken.

A take on the classic Southern dish, Maryland Fried Chicken is differentiated by covering the chicken in a pot while frying it and adding gravy, poured over the chicken. Because it is very popular and is a specialty of many households and restaurants, there is no single way to make the dish, therefore every iteration has a special flavor to it.

Maryland Fried Chicken was recorded in recipe form as far back as 1886, but is most likely much older. It became well-known across the United States when the recipe was published in chef Auguste Escoffier’s cookbook Ma Cuisine in 1934. The following recipe comes from a blog called The Kitchen Witch and uses Old Bay Seasoning to give it an even stronger Maryland flavor.

CHICKEN INGREDIENTS

  • 4 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt (garlic salt is a good substitute for both garlic powder and salt)
  • 1 ½ cup white flour
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups oil (peanut oil is most commonly used, but Crisco works, as well)
  • Old Bay seasoning to taste

CHICKEN INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Separate chicken pieces and dry with a paper towel
  2. Mix mustard, garlic powder, and salt, and sprinkle over the chicken
  3. Mix flour and baking powder in a bowl and coat chicken until covered well
  4. Refrigerate chicken for 30 minutes to 2 hours
  5. Preheat oven to 200F
  6. Heat oil to 375F in Dutch oven
  7. Place chicken in pot, cover, and cook until brown, approximately 5 minutes
  8. Lower temperature and cook uncovered until chicken is cooked through
  9. Place chicken on wire rack fitted to baking sheet, sprinkle Old Bay, and place into oven
  10. Repeat steps 6-9 with remaining chicken

GRAVY INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup pan drippings from frying
  • ¼ cup white flour
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Salt

GRAVY INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Save ¼ cup of pan drippings from frying chicken
  2. Whisk in flour and heat until golden
  3. Slowly whisk in broth, cream, and pepper
  4. Lower heat and simmer until thickened, approximately 5 minutes
  5. Add salt for taste, and serve over chicken

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