The Popeyes Founder’s Other Fried Chicken

A fall-off-the-bone favorite from the Copeland family

Photo: Courtesy Sam Hanna

If, after an hour of cooking, the sauce is not thickening properly, make a slurry with two tablespoons cornstarch, one tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet, and just enough cold water to form a paste. Whisk the paste into the liquid in the pot and bring to a boil. —Excerpted from Secrets of a Tastemaker, a compilation of recipes from Popeyes founder Al Copeland.

Read more about Copeland, and the new cookbook, here.


  • Copeland Family Black Pot Fried Chicken (Yield: 4 servings)

    • 3 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, patted dry with paper towels

    • Kosher salt to taste

    • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

    • 1 tbsp. onion powder

    • 1 tbsp. garlic powder

    • ½ cup all-purpose flour, plus additional for dredging

    • ¾ cup vegetable oil, plus additional if needed

    • 2 cups chopped yellow onion

    • 1 cup chopped celery

    • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper

    • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, minced

    • ½ cup chopped garlic

    • 2 bay leaves

    • 2 quarts chicken stock (from Secrets of a Tastemaker cookbook or quality store-bought, such as Kitchen Basics brand)

    • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

    • 6 dashes Tabasco sauce

    • ½ cup chopped green onion for garnish


  1. Season the chicken on both sides with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Working in batches, dredge the chicken thoroughly in the flour to coat it, knocking off the excess, and arrange in one layer on plates. Place a cooling rack or splatter screen over a piece of newspaper for draining the chicken.

  2. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven set over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches, brown the chicken on all sides and transfer as browned to the cooling rack to drain. Set aside.

  3. There should still be about ½ cup oil in the pot. If it looks low, add more oil. Whisk ½ cup flour into the oil and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until a golden roux is achieved, about 10 minutes.

  4. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and jalapeño to the roux. Increase the heat to medium-high and sauté until vegetables have wilted, about 8 minutes.

  5. Decrease the heat to medium. Add the garlic and bay leaves and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

  6. Slowly add the chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco, whisking constantly. 

  7. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring. Add the reserved chicken to the pot. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is falling from the bone, at least one hour, stirring occasionally and skimming off any oil that may rise to the top of the pot.

  8. Serve the chicken with Copeland’s Basic Cooked Rice or Copeland Family Potato Salad (from Secrets of a Tastemaker cookbook) and garnish with chopped green onion.

Reprinted from Secrets of a Tastemaker: Al Copeland: The Cookbook, copyright © 2022 by Chris Rose and Kit Wohl with the Copeland Family. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Sam Hanna. Published by the Cookbook Studio.