Leslie Jordan Once Made Fried Chicken and Sweet Tea to Share on a Flight, and That Sums Up Why We Love Him

The beloved actor, writer, and singer shares the story — plus, his signature iced tea recipe.

Note: Our team was deeply saddened to learn about the sudden passing of Leslie Jordan on October 24, 2022. As this interview illustrates so poignantly, Jordan possessed a preternatural ability to make people feel at ease, regardless of circumstance. He was a friend — the best kind of friend — to anyone who needed one. He will not soon be forgotten, and we'll be making a (fresh!) batch of sweet tea in Leslie's honor.

It's impossible to watch Leslie Jordan's Instagram videos and not wish he were your best friend, guncle, or overall life guru. Even a year after his hilarious quarantine videos went viral, the actor continues to delight and pull heartstrings with posts addressed to his fellow hunker-downers and Sunday Mornin' Hymn Singin' videos with singer Travis Howard. And that's not to mention his new book, How Y'all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived, and a gospel album, Company's Comin', full of celebrity duets.

We were already privy to Leslie's Southern charm, but the Tennessee native recently shared a story on the Allrecipes podcast, Homemade — available for free at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, PlayerFM, and everywhere podcasts are available — that illustrates why the man is a true national treasure.

Homemade host Martie Duncan asked Leslie whether it's true that he prepared for his first cross-country flight on a private jet by bringing a home-cooked meal on board. Leslie's response: "I thought, well, wouldn't I get hungry?" (Valid question, really.)

"Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and her husband, Harry, when they got all the money for 'Designing Women,' Harry bought some airplanes. And then after that, we were doing a series with John Ritter called 'Hearts Afire.' And whenever they needed to send us out for publicity, we'd jump on Harry's private plane," Leslie says.

Episode Transcript

"We were gonna fly all the way to New York. I thought, well, that's a long trip. So, I fried a whole chicken. And I made some potato salad. And I had big jugs of sweet tea in Mason jars. Well, they laughed so hard at me because it was just beautifully catered, you know, they had all that," he says. "But what did we eat? Honey, we had fried chicken, potato salad, and iced tea."

Leslie Jordan with iced tea, fried chicken, potato salad
Allrecipes Illustration

How to Make Leslie Jordan's Sweet Tea

On the podcast, Leslie also shared how he brews iced tea. First, he boils enough water to fill a one-quart Mason jar. "My grandmother said it's got to be a rolling boil," he says. He then pours the water into the Mason jar over four bags of Lipton-brand black tea, letting the tea steep for five minutes. To finish it off, he stirs in 1/3 cup of granulated sugar.

"It's one of the things always in my refrigerator," Leslie says, clarifying that keeping sweet tea in the fridge over time can leave it cloudy. His solution is to stick to small batches (again, just a quart) and brewing a fresh batch daily.

"You go to a restaurant, and I want to tell them, 'Now listen, you can brew tea every day. That tea has been sitting in the fridge and it's cloudy and it's nasty," he says. "You need to make better ice tea."

Leslie, we're taking notes.

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