Like most foods that hold sway with our taste buds and memories, fried chicken is something that people definitely have opinions about. We asked readers for some of their go-tos for the crispy bird and you answered.
Although the word has been out about the fried chicken at the 71-year old Barbecue Inn, 116 W. Crosstimbers Rd., for decades, that doesn’t mean that it has gotten any less tasty.
“The biggest key is that we cook to order,” said David Skrehot, who runs the restaurant with his father Wayne. “It’s not sitting under a heat lamp.”
Skrehot said that they are selective about their poultry and work with local distributors that they have been buying from for many years. Also important is the cooking method for the chicken.
“We deep fry it,” he said. “We don’t do it in a skillet. I’ve had people argue with me about it and insist that we’re frying it in a skillet.”
They keep the seasoning simple, just salt and pepper. Skrehot says that people like the kind of chicken that they remember eating at their grandparent’s house.
“It takes them back,” said Skrehot, who notes that people want the taste without all the time and mess of home cooking. Their batter and recipe is a family secret at Barbecue Inn but Skrehot quotes his father when he says “we could show someone how we do it, and give the recipe to them and they still wouldn’t do it – it’s too much trouble.”
Of course, it takes a little time to fry the chicken for them too, about 25 to 30 minutes, down from 40 minutes in the 1950s.
“If they even look like they are in a hurry we tell them not to order it,” said Skrehot.
If you do, it’s more than worth it. The adult portion is three pieces and the child’s portion is two drumsticks or one breast. The crispy outside gives way to the tender, moist meat inside.
Skrehot said that six years ago when Travel + Leisure did a piece on their chicken, the article got so many hits that it ended up being placed at the top of the Yahoo homepage.
“We were bombarded,” he said. “There was a line out the door even in the daytime. It was a lot of fun.”
Readers also chimed in on the chicken at Onion Creek, 3106 White Oak Dr. Isaias, the executive chef of the Creek Group, said that the taste of their fried chicken draws people in as does their trademarked name – Greasy Lips Fried Chicken. The recipe, which has been around for 27 years, is top secret.
“I don’t think my way of cooking is any better,” he said. “I just pay special attention to the balance of flavors and texture. We play with the flavors that make [people] happy.”
Chef Brandi Key heads up another restaurant mentioned for its chicken – Max’s Wine Dive at 4720 Washington Ave.
She said that it’s the chipotle honey that makes their fried chicken so popular.
“The way we cook our chicken is better, first off, is because of our proprietary spice blend,” said Key. “That’s where all the flavor is at. We also only bread our chicken once which allows for a super crisp skin and crunch.”
Although the spice blend is under wraps, Chef Key says her favorite technique for frying chicken is to always marinate it in buttermilk.
“The acid in the buttermilk is a natural tenderizer that helps keep the chicken tender and moist,” she said. “Without buttermilk, fried chicken is just meat with some breading.”
Have a favorite we missed? We’d love to know about it.