Fried Chicken

A recipe from Mario Lopez

At Eat Retreat Anderson Valley, butcher Mario Lopez led the Saturday night meal team in preparing local chicken, brined in buttermilk and fried in beef tallow. Crispy, juicy fried chicken was served with a spicy honey drizzle made with a local red chile spice known as piment d’ville.


  • 1 3-4 pound whole chicken, cut into 10 parts (quarter the breasts)
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • kosher or sea salt, as needed
  • dusting flour
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • generous pinch of black pepper generous pinch of kosher or sea salt 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup water

Spicy honey sauce:

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons piment d’ville


  • 1 quart oil
  • 1 quart tallow

Combine honey and piment d’ville in a small bowl and set aside. Lay the chicken pieces on a tray skin side down and season heavily with salt. Turn skin side up and repeat with more salt. Transfer the salted chicken parts to a large high sided container and cover with buttermilk. Mix the chicken with the buttermilk with your hands to make each pieces is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Pre-heat the oil and tallow to 350°F in a deep pot.

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, pepper and cayenne and mix thoroughly. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and lay out in a single layer on a sheet tray. Crack 3 eggs into a medium bowl and whip with water until frothy. Shake off excess buttermilk from the chicken then dip in egg wash, dredge in seasoned flour, shake off excess flour and carefully drop the chicken in the hot oil. Fry dark meat for 13-14 minutes and white meat 8 to 10 minutes.

After frying, place pieces on wire rack and season lightly with salt and drizzle with spicy honey. Allow adequate resting time for the chicken to cool. Serve with your favorite side.