Monday, May 19, 2014

Chicken Index: The Chicken Index

So, when I first created this blog, I thought that there would be some chicken involved. That is, fried chicken. But aside from the kinda-recipe in the very first post, there's been very little chicken talk.

I've been thinking for some time that the blog really needs an index of places that serve fried chicken.  Actually, the world needs an index of places that serve fried chicken. Because there's a lot of variation in fried chicken--bone-in or otherwise, skin on or otherwise, battered or dusted or crumbed, flavored or just chicken-flavored, and the classic question of pan-fried or deep-fried. So just knowing if a restaurant is, in general, good or not, doesn't tell you much about the chicken. A very fine restaurant that sells peppery battered chicken is not my chicken place, though it might be someone else's.

Now, classic fried chicken, in my view, is bone in, skin on, dusted/dredged with flour and not too much pepper, and pan fried. But that doesn't mean that there isn't plenty of other very fine chicken out there, some of it where you wouldn't expect. For example, who would have thought that the Medford Food4Less would have some pretty good chicken? How could you know, if you're not told, that the crust on the skinless "put a bird on it" chicken at The Original in Portland has some weird magical ingredient that makes it taste rather as if it isn't skinless? And how would you know that their evening fried chicken entree, while quite good, is an altogether different fried chicken?

The public has a right to know.

I've been debating just how to present the information, though. A chart, so you can scan across and check out just the (for example) bone-in entries? Just reviews, like perfume reviews? A cross between the two?

I'm thinking of the cross between the two--an index, and if I get around to writing a full review, I'd link to it. The index would have entries like:

Smithfield's: Chicken pieces, bone in, skin on, light breading, no excess added flavorings, incredibly moist white meat, and you can get chicken as a side! Recommended.

Tot: Wings, bone in, skin on, no breading, medium spicy sauce, juicy meat. If you crave plain fried wings, they can leave off the sauce. Recommended. Use caution if you're a spice wimp like me.

Does that work? What else does a chicken addict want to know?

Hungry now.

Image: By Douglas Paul Perkins. Wikimedia Commons.


  1. Despite growing up in Fried-Chicken Central (every church potluck dinner will have at least two dishes of fried chicken), I don't absolutely love the stuff. Probably the skin... I just. Can't. with the skin. Oh, I EAT fried chicken, but I pull the skin off and leave it on the side of my plate, and my husband snitches it.

    That said, around here there's Your Mama's Fried Chicken, whatever her recipe may be, and there's Wade's. That's a small local grocery store chain, six stores, and they make THE best fried chicken. Even with the skin, I enjoy eating it.

    From watching them cook it, I can tell you that they soak chicken pieces in buttermilk, hand-dip them in flour, then in a very thin batter and then into flour again, and then place them into these funky deep fryers that somehow are also steamers (or maybe pressure-cookers, I can't tell). It is juicy and tender and wonderful. Better than my mother's.

    I don't make good fried chicken myself... I'm too impatient.

  2. We just have KFC over here as far as I know. I did love that chain of fried chicken restaurants I saw on a US work trip once that had the slogan: 'Born and Breaded in South Carolina'. Or maybe it was North, but you get the idea.

  3. Yo, Mals! Oh, the skin, the skin, I love the skin. But if you didn't...yes, fried-chicken skin is a very intense experience. If you dislike it, that would be a whole lot of dislike.

    Ooh. I want to experience the Wade's chicken. I have heard about frying thicken in a pressure cooker (Is it the same thing as broasting? What is broasting? I dunno.) but I've never tried it.

    Buttermilk brine. I keep thinking of trying that. Mmm.

  4. Yo, Vanessa! Ooh, having only KFC feels like a sad thing. Calvin Trillin claims that Colonel Sanders...hey, wait, the column is available on the New Yorker site:

    If I knew of a proper pan-fried chicken purveyor, I'd recommend that you get on a plane and come over to try it. Seriously. OK, probably not seriously, but more seriously than you'd think.