Cast Iron Stories: Sarah Simmons

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Photo courtesy of Brent Herrig

Sarah Simmons
Chef and Owner, City Grit
New York, New York

I can’t think of my Papa without thinking about fried chicken. And I can’t remember a time when we went to his house that he wasn’t making it. Although I watched him many times, I never actually cooked it with him. But I do vividly remember the cast-iron Dutch oven he used for frying. No one wrote down the recipe. In fact, we all disagree on exactly how he made it—what spices did he use, how did he bread it, did he use a paper bag? But we all remember the cast-iron pan he used to cook it.

When I started working on my own recipe, I set out to re-create Papa’s fried chicken with vague memories of the flavors and the cast iron. After cooking fried chicken for 30 days, I finally landed on what was going to be my signature chicken, cooked Papa’s way. To this day, I pan-fry my chicken in cast iron, even at City Grit when we’re cooking for a large group of people.

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