For the best fried okra, start with fresh okra. Cut off and discard the tip and stem ends from the okra. Cut the okra into ½-inch-thick slices.
Pour about 2 cups of buttermilk into a bowl. Add okra to the milk, stirring to get all of the okra coated. Cover and chill about 45 minutes.
Place self-rising cornmeal, self-rising flour, salt and ground red pepper in a plastic zip-lock bag. Seal the bag and turn a few times to combine the ingredients.
Remove okra from the milk using a slotted spoon, and place okra in the bag. Seal the bag and turn several times to get the okra coated with the cornmeal mixture.
Add vegetable oil and bacon drippings to a dept of 2 inches into a Dutch oven or cast-iron skillet. Heat the mixture to 375 degrees. Fry okra, in batches, 4 minutes or until golden. Make sure that the okra is not too crowded in the pan.
Remove okra from the pan, and drain on paper towels. Because the coating mixture has both self-rising cornmeal and self-rising flour, the final product has a texture and appearance that’s similar to that of corn fritters.