Long before cooking at Google, I worked in the kitchen of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel with a Southern gent named Robert Brown. Story was that at one time in his life, Mr. Brown had cooked for Elvis Presley. Mr. Brown never gave us the details, but he did let us know that the King loved his fried chicken and biscuits.

Mr. Brown had a fluffy white cloud of hair floating above a face the color of molasses, garnished with a big gold tooth protruding from his mouth and thick dark glasses he never took off, even in the kitchen. He was a primal cook - he couldn't tell you why he did what he did, but he knew when it was "GOOOOOD." It was better than good. It was the best southern fried chicken I had ever tasted, and still is.

One day I got up the courage to ask him for the recipe, and he told me, "Charlie, I normally don't give out my prize recipes, but you, boy, have got the touch. And none of my boys are in the business, so I will give it to you." The secret to his fried chicken was marinating it in buttermilk for a long time, and adding just about every damn spice he had on hand.

Whenever I serve it today, I can hear Robert Brown saying, "Charlie, you make this chicken for people, you'll be making friends for life." And I hope I have. Here's the Google-sized recipe, plus a handy "recipe adjuster" if you're cooking for fewer people than I do.

Charlie Ayers
Google Executive Chef

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Elvis Loved
*Google-sized portions; read all the way through to get the total amounts needed*

1/2 c thyme
1/4 c oregano
1/4 c basil
1/2 c onion powder
1/2 c garlic powder
1/2 c dry mustard
1/2 c paprika
1/4 c chili powder
1/2 c celery seed
2 Tbsp salt
1/2 c coriander
1/2 c cumin
1/3 c kosher salt
1/4 c cayenne pepper
1/2 c ground black pepper
1/4 c ground white pepper

3 gals. buttermilk
3 cases organic free range chicken (roughly 30 chickens, divided into 1.5- to 2-lb. sections)

Mix these amounts of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then whisk in the buttermilk until it's thoroughly mixed.

Pour the batter over the chickens and marinate for up to five days - keep refrigerated, of course.

For frying
Now mix another 4x the above dry ingredients, and add:
2 lbs. cornstarch
8 qts. all-purpose organic whole wheat flour

Dredge the marinated chicken pieces in the dry herbs/flour/cornstarch mixture mix.
Fry the dredged chicken in a large skillet with hot peanut oil @ 375 degrees. Once chicken has reached a golden brown color, finish cooking it in the oven.