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The Great American Fried Chicken Roadmap

The Great American Fried Chicken Roadmap

Is there any food more representative of American cuisine than fried chicken? It has deep and meaningful roots in the nation’s history, distinct regional preparations across the country (from skillet-fried to cornmeal-crusted), and it has inspired food lovers emigrating here from other nations to create their own versions of it (Korean fried chicken is particularly popular right now, but there are plenty of other varieties to speak of).

So in honor of National Fried Chicken Day, coming up Friday, July 6, here is a thoughtfully curated, comprehensive guide to the best fried chicken this country has to offer.

Fried chicken has its roots in country kitchens of the South, soaked in buttermilk, shaken in a brown paper bag with seasoned flour, and prepared in a cast-iron skillet filled with bubbling liquid lard. The oldest fried chicken recipe on record is published in The Virginia House-Wife, written by Mary Randolph in 1828. Since then the American classic has been prepared in countless ways — from soaked in a spicy vinegar-based marinade and deep-fried, Peruvian-style to served upscale in four-star restaurants with maple-honey butter or other accoutrements.

For the purposes of creating this list, The Daily Meal called on its network of contributors and experts across the country, who know their local food scenes like the back of their hands, to weigh in on the issue. We also did intensive national research and looked at reference guides and literature written on the state of fried chicken in America. The result is a guide organized by city, listing the leading fried-chicken establishment in the area followed by honorable mentions in many cases. The cities range from New York City to Seattle to Birmingham, Ala., and many places in between.

So which establishments made the list? There’s President Obama’s favorite Chicago spot, Harold’s Chicken Shack, known for serving up the star of the show with no frills, just white bread and hot sauce. The fried chicken at Willie Mae’s Scotch House was a no-brainer, and the James Beard Foundation agrees — they named it an "American Classic" in 2005. And the list wouldn't be complete without Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken in Mason, Tenn., which has been delighting locals and visitors alike with crispy, juicy chicken for decades.

Considering how seriously many food lovers take their favorite fried chicken, there are bound to be some disagreements. Please comment below if one of your cherished standbys didn’t make the cut.

Click below to enlarge The Great American Fried Chicken Roadmap and print out a version for yourself.

Additional reporting contributed by Maggie Gorman, Zanny Allport, Mackenzie Barth, Ellandrea McKissack, and Chrissy Harris.


The Great American Fried Chicken Roadmap - Recipes

Step 1 Wash the chicken pieces in cold water, pat dry with paper towels and cut the breasts in half so all of the pieces will be of similar size. Sprinkle the chicken with the lemon juice and one-half teaspoon salt.

Step 2 Mix the flour, dry mustard, white pepper and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and put the mixture into a paper bag. Drop the chicken pieces in the bag one by one and shake the bag to dust them. As you remove a piece from the bag, shake it thoroughly to get rid of the excess flour and place the piece on a long strip of wax paper near the stove, where it will be easy to reach when you're frying.

Step 3Add the shortening and lard to a heavy cast iron pot with a lid over medium heat. The fat should be about one-fourth inch deep. While it is heating, heat the oven to 250 degrees and put a large shallow baking dish in it.

Step 4When the fat is hot but not smoking, add the legs and thighs and cover the pan at once. Turn the heat to low and let the chicken fry, lifting the cover every now and then to check its progress. When the pieces are deep brown on one side, turn them over with tongs and cover the pan again. As each piece of chicken is done (about 14 to 20 minutes, depending on the piece), transfer it to the baking dish in the oven and replace it with an uncooked piece.


1. Chicken Annie’s: Pittsburg, Kan.

Chicken Annie’s is known throughout Pittsburg, Kan., for its signature fried chicken and guaranteed hospitality. The restaurant started from humble beginnings. When founder Ann Pichler’s husband was injured in a coal mine accident in 1934, she began serving fried chicken out of their home to support the family. Word quickly spread of the delicious fried chicken, and in 1972 the restaurant moved from the home to its present building. Now, the family continues the tradition of excellent food and warm hospitality with their "thin crust" fried chicken and famous home-battered onion rings.


The Best Fried Chicken In America

Is there any food more representative of American cuisine than fried chicken? It has deep and meaningful roots in the nation's history, distinct regional preparations across the country (from skillet-fried to cornmeal-crusted), and it has inspired food lovers emigrating here from other nations to create their own versions of it (Korean fried chicken is particularly popular right now, but there are plenty of other varieties to speak of).

So in honor of National Fried Chicken Day, on Friday, July 6, here is a thoughtfully curated, comprehensive guide to the best fried chicken this country has to offer.

Fried chicken has its roots in country kitchens of the South, soaked in buttermilk, shaken in a brown paper bag with seasoned flour, and prepared in a cast-iron skillet filled with bubbling liquid lard. The oldest fried chicken recipe on record is published in The Virginia House-Wife, written by Mary Randolph in 1828. Since then the American classic has been prepared in countless ways -- from soaked in a spicy vinegar-based marinade and deep-fried, Peruvian-style to served upscale in four-star restaurants with maple-honey butter or other accoutrements.

For the purposes of creating this list, The Daily Meal called on its network of contributors and experts across the country, who know their local food scenes like the back of their hands, to weigh in on the issue. We also did intensive national research and looked at reference guides and literature written on the state of fried chicken in America. The result is a guide organized by city, listing the leading fried-chicken establishment in the area followed by honorable mentions in many cases. The cities range from New York City to Seattle to Birmingham, Ala., and many places in between.

So which establishments made the list? There's President Obama's favorite Chicago spot, Harold's Chicken Shack, known for serving up the star of the show with no frills, just white bread and hot sauce. The fried chicken at Willie Mae's Scotch House was a no-brainer, and the James Beard Foundation agrees -- they named it an "American Classic" in 2005. And the list wouldn't be complete without Gus's Fried Chicken in Mason, Ga., which has been delighting locals and visitors alike with crispy, juicy chicken for decades.

Considering how seriously many food lovers take their favorite fried chicken, there is bound to be some disagreements.


American fried chicken

There are three great feast days in winter: Thanksgiving, Christmas and Super Bowl Sunday. Of these, only the Super Bowl involves food that is actually popular. Out goes cranberry sauce and in come chicken wings, chips, guacamole, pizza and beer. On this day of days, we not only eat our favorite things, but we also come to it with high feeling and great sense of occasion. It is the Last Snack. There won’t be another license to graze like it until March Madness strikes.

As the day approaches, all we need is a game plan. Not so much what to eat, but in what order? The way food goes down, or, indeed, whether we should attempt to eat at all, will depend entirely on how our guys are doing.

The commander in chief’s nemesis, pretzels, along with tortilla chips and black bean salsa, should be served first, while the choking risk is lowest and everyone’s sitting up straight, before sacks, fumbles, interceptions and blown field goals assume cataclysmically throat-tightening proportions.

As Tom Brady shoots a bullet past Jevon Kearse, it’s time to move on to tension-relieving foods, stuff that can be gnawed, ripped and torn: pizza, chicken legs, more pizza. Come to think of it, maybe fried chicken would be the idea this year, since the game’s in Jacksonville, Fla. Fry up a lot of it it’s almost as good cold.

The mangos in the black bean salsa extend the Florida metaphor the queso fresco will please guests who only pretend to like the sport.

The menu’s the same for losers and winners, with the note that losers may wish to skulk to the kitchen to run down the clock building elaborate sandwiches to supplement the fried chicken either can be chewed in a sulky reclining position, while inspiring envy in fans of the wrong team. And coleslaw goes with both.

Anything that can be spilled, stain the sofa or end up on the drapes should not come out until halftime, during which there’s no chance that an Akers kick might bounce off the goal post.

We thoughtfully left out the gravy because if Donovan McNabb is sacked for a 20-yard loss, the only righteous reaction for an Eagles fan would be to thwack the drumstick against the sofa.

Armed with menu plans for an exciting game, we do have to face the possibility of a rout. The average margin of Super Bowl victories is 16 points, and only eight games of the 38 have been decided by fewer than seven points.

This can’t be fixed with pizza. You either have to switch sports, or go to the video store, rent “Friday Night Lights” and go back to the snacking strategies A or B.

Then, real game or fictional, all you need is a prize. Key lime pie is as good for winners as losers, at once sour and sweet.


Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 200 F and place a rack in a large baking pan.

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

In a medium bowl, combine the milk and eggs. Whisk to blend well.

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

In a large heavy-duty resealable plastic food storage bag, combine the flour, 2 tablespoons salt, and pepper. Seal and shake to combine.

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Dip the chicken pieces in the milk and egg mixture and let excess drip off into the bowl. Set already dipped pieces aside on a plate until you have three or four.

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Add the dipped chicken pieces to the bag of seasoned flour.

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Seal the bag and shake well to coat the chicken pieces thoroughly.

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Heat the oil in a deep, heavy skillet to 350 F. While it's heating up, set aside a large serving plate lined with paper towels.

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Fry the chicken, a few pieces at a time, for about 10 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Be careful not to put too many chicken pieces in at once—even if they can comfortably fit—since this will dramatically drop the temperature of the oil, affecting the crispness of the final product. Note that chicken breasts will take a little less time than dark meat pieces.

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

With a slotted spoon, move the done chicken pieces onto the paper towel-lined platter to drain. Sprinkle immediately with salt.

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Transfer the drained and seasoned chicken to the prepared pan with a rack. Keep warm in the preheated oven while frying subsequent batches. Depending on the size of your pan, this recipe will require about 3 to 4 batches.

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  • If you're going to substitute the vegetable oil, make sure that it's suitable for deep-frying. Oils with a low smoke point will burn at the temperature this recipe requires and fill your kitchen with smoke rather than the tempting smell of fried chicken.
  • The best way to check for doneness is to use a meat thermometer. The minimum safe temperature for chicken is 165 F. Alternatively, you can pierce it with a fork to see if juices run clear.
  • Leftover fried chicken can be reheated with good results. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature. Heat the oven to 400 F. Put the chicken pieces on a rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes until heated through and crisp.

Recipe Variations

    can replace the milk. Another version of Southern fried chicken soaks it in a buttermilk marinade for at least 6 hours. This ensures the chicken is juicy and can help the flour stick better.
  • Replace the milk with evaporated milk if you prefer.
  • Use a seasoned salt blend as a substitute for the salt and pepper.
  • Add more seasonings to the flour. Cajun seasoning is always a hit, and paprika, cayenne, and poultry seasoning are popular additions. You can also try the blend used in a copycat KFC chicken recipe.
  • Add about 1/2 cup of fine, dry breadcrumbs to the flour mixture.

Why Isn't My Fried Chicken Crispy?

Oil temperature is the main reason why fried chicken doesn't get crispy. If it's not warm enough, the chicken needs to cook longer and will get soggy from soaking up too much oil. When the oil is too hot you risk raw meat and burnt breading. Avoid crowding the pan and use a thermometer to monitor the oil temperature to ensure it stays close to 350 F at all times. It will fluctuate but if you stay ahead of it and adjust the burner accordingly, the chicken will cook properly.


Ultimate Fried Chicken Road Map

We know, you think your mom makes the best fried chicken out there. Nostalgia and hometown bias aside, though, many of us are also very opinionated about our favorite fried chicken joints outside of our own childhood kitchens.

Fried chicken is a quintessential American dish, along with hamburgers, hot dogs, apple pie, barbecue, peanut butter, and casseroles. It’s cheap, relatively easy to prepare (although some obviously do it better than others), and is a great equalizer: no matter who you are or where you’re from, you’re expected to eat it with your hands.

Fried chicken may have a particularly strong association with the Southeast, but its roots belong to many immigrant populations who settled in all corners of the country. People from West African, European, and Asian ethnicities can all take some credit for both introducing and continuing the fried chicken tradition stateside. And just how important is this dish to Americans today? Well, it has its own national holiday: July 6.

Last year, we brought you an extensive roadmap of the country’s best places for fried chicken. So how did we come up for additions to this year’s roadmap? We considered reader feedback while also consulting our staff and several national experts. Along with some necessary Midwest mentions (such as a couple of infamous dueling restaurants in Pittsburg, Kan.), we’ve included a unique venue that feeds its scraps to local raccoons, as well as a North Carolina church kitchen turned popular local restaurant.

Flour, water, salt, chicken, and lard are just the beginning when it comes to fried chicken. These basic ingredients lay the foundation for customization — whether it’s a vinegar-based marinade, cayenne, or even maple-honey butter. The possibilities are (actually) endless. Everyone’s got their favorite, so if your preferred establishment didn’t make this year’s cut, let us know by leaving a comment.

We’ve listed the best of the best here, so be sure to consult our slideshow for the next time that you stray from your mom’s recipe.

Dallas Fearing’s:
Dallas Located in The Ritz-Carlton Dallas, Fearing’s features modern Southwestern-American cuisine with a farm-to-table approach (think barbecued duck tamales or antelope with a cactus pear glaze). But the real treat comes during the weekend brunch, which features Granny Fearing’s “Paper Bag Shook” Fried Chicken — an authentic version of the Southern classic. Choose from one of the many dining venues on-site, from the outdoor patio to the more upscale Gallery if you’re dining chef-side in Dean’s Kitchen, or at the Chef’s Table, look for the ebullient chef Dean Fearing himself, who is often present.


America's Best Fried Chicken Spots

We know, we know. You think your mom makes the best fried chicken period. Nostalgia and hometown bias aside, though, many of us are also very opinionated about our favorite fried chicken joints outside of our own childhood kitchens.

Fried chicken is a quintessential American dish, along with hamburgers, hot dogs, apple pie, barbecue, peanut butter, and casseroles. It's cheap, relatively easy to prepare (although some obviously do it better than others), and a great equalizer: no matter who you are or where you're from, you're expected to eat it with your hands.

Fried chicken may have a particularly strong association with the Southeast, but its roots belong to many immigrant populations who settled in all corners of the country. West African, European, and Asian cultures can all take some credit for both introducing and continuing the fried chicken tradition stateside. And just how important is this dish to Americans today? Well, it has its own national holiday: July 6.

Last year, we brought you an extensive roadmap of the country's best places for fried chicken. This year, however, we decided to put together a list of the best spots for fried chicken across America (which you can certainly make into a road trip if you'd like!). So, how did we develop this year's list? We considered reader feedback while also consulting our staff and several national experts. Along with some necessary Midwest mentions (such as a couple of infamous dueling restaurants in Pittsburg, Kan.), we've included a unique venue that feeds its scraps to local raccoons, as well as a North Carolina church kitchen turned popular local restaurant.

Flour, water, salt, chicken, and lard are just the beginning when it comes to fried chicken. These basic ingredients lay the foundation for customization, whether it's a vinegar-based marinade, cayenne, or even maple-honey butter. The possibilities are endless. Everyone's got their favorite, so if your preferred establishment didn't make this year's cut, let us know by leaving a comment or tweeting @TheDailyMeal.

In ranking our list for the best fried chicken spots in America, we considered, of course, the taste and quality of the fried chicken (as reported by customer reviews, critics, and firsthand knowledge), any awards or accolades the venue has received, any awards or accolades the dish itself has received, the décor and atmosphere, and the price for the meal as well as the overall ratings by diners across the States.

We've listed the best of the best here, so be sure to consult our slideshow the next time you stray from your mom's recipe.


Method

  • Put the drumsticks into a bowl and add the buttermilk. Cover with plastic wrap and make sure it touches the mixture so that the drumsticks stay submerged into the buttermilk. Refrigerate for 8 hours.
  • Place a frying pan with seed oil over medium-low heat.
  • In a bowl add the flour, the corn starch, the cumin, the paprika, the garlic, the cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, the thyme, and mix.
  • Remove the drumsticks, transfer them to the bowl with the spices, and add them to the frying pan in two batches.
  • Fry them over low heat for about 15 minutes until they are cooked through.
  • Alternatively, you can sauté them in the pan for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a baking pan and bake them in a preheated oven at 180 ο C (350 ο F) set to fan for 15 minutes.
  • Serve with yogurt.


How does buttermilk fried chicken taste?

Oh, it tastes good. Make this recipe and you'll be enjoying succulent, juicy pieces of chicken, coated in a warm, crispy and slightly spicy batter.

I served ours with new potatoes and a spinach and cherry tomato salad - the whole family loved it.

Why is fried chicken so tasty?

It's the magic combination of the ingredients and the cooking method. Tasty free-range chicken, buttermilk with that hint of acidity and delicious spices are the foundation, while deep frying foods is a 'dry-heat' cooking method that gives the chicken its characteristic crispy texture while at the same time sealing in the moisture.

Deep frying also means the flavours don't get diluted in water and the spices get to bind to the fat from the skin and in the oil, which helps particular taste receptors in your tongue to open up and appreciate the flavour for longer. SO GOOD.

What does Marinating chicken in buttermilk do?

Buttermilk is a popular ingredient when making Southern-style fried chicken. The slightly acidic buttermilk helps tenderise the chicken by breaking down some of the proteins in the meat.

Because buttermilk is nice and thick, it also sticks well to the chicken, meaning you get a really great coating when you go dip it into the flour.

You can easily get buttermilk in the supermarket, but if you don't have any, you can use plain yogurt, soured with a squeeze of lemon and left to sit for a few minutes. This should then have a similar acidity, and therefore the same effect of allowing the enzymes to tenderise the meat as it marinades.


Best Fried Chicken Restaurants in America How do these rankings work?

1. Hattie B’s Hot Chicken – Birmingham, Alabama

This a family-owned restaurant serving-up Nashville hot chicken and Southern hospitality. They now have outlets in Memphis, Birmingham, Atlanta and Las Vegas, as word spreads about their amazing chicken.

Order it plain or, even better, in a bun with their delicious slaw and pickles.

2. Lucky Wishbone – Anchorage, Alaska

Lucky Wishbone opened in 1955 and still going strong, serving up classic fries chicken and hamburgers. Any business that survives that long and still has so many loyal customers is a winner in our books.

The perfect match for their chicken is their milkshakes, of which they have 40 different flavours.

3. The Horny Toad – Phoenix, Arizona

They are well known across the state for their chicken and the bbq sauce, which they insist on making from scratch. Once you taste it for the first time you will see why this place is so loved.

They also have a dog-friendly patio and a newly-expanded Saloon. Live entertainment and music is offered seasonally for those who want to kick their heels up.

4. Monte Ne Inn Chicken – Rogers, Arkansas

They’ve been serving their chicken for just shy of 50 years and they keep things classic, which is just how their customers like it. Why fix it if it isn’t broken?

The chicken is super crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and comes served with their traditional sides, which are simply delicious.

5. Ad Hoc + Addendum – Yountville, California

Chef Thomas Keller’s family-style restaurant in Yountville known for buttermilk fried chicken and BBQ. If a chef of his stature is going to take on fried chicken then you know it will be special.

Their garden and picnic area are the perfect place to sit outside both spaces are open from spring to harvest.

6. Juniper Valley Ranch – Colorado Springs, Colorado

This is a fourth generation family-owned restaurant known for their legendary skillet fried chicken. People drive from all over the state just to get their hands on it.

FYI, look out for their Nashville-style hot fried chicken which they serve on Sunday nights.

7. Greer’s Chicken – Bristol, Connecticut

They only serve their chicken to go with no indoor seating, but that doesn’t put people off. Grab it to go or in the warmer months sit outside with your fellow diners licking your fingers clean.

Seriously crispy on the outside and about as delicious as fried chicken can get.

8. Lettie’s Kitchen – Hockessin, Delaware

Their fried chicken is the stuff of local legend and constantly winning awards. They serve it family-style in a super relaxed setting, or you can take it to go which many people do too.

They have lots of other delicious classics on the menu but you would be foolish to ignore the chicken.

9. Bird & Bone – Miami, Florida

Some might be surprised to find fried chicken this good in such a high-end hotel. Bird & Bone is in the The Confidante Miami Beach hotel and is the perfect antidote to the bland and boring food that most hotels serve.

Huge portions and even bigger flavour makes this the perfect way to start off your stay in Miami.

10. Wifesaver – Augusta, Georgia

They first opened their doors in 1965 and now have five locations. Anybody who is been making fried chicken this long and with this much success knows what they are doing.

Simple stripped back setting, huge flavour, perfectly crisp chicken and seriously affordable pricing. It ticks every single box.

11. Vons Chicken – Honolulu, Hawaii

This popular Korean fried chicken restaurant mini-chain has addictively good crispy fried Shoyu chicken. It’s supposedly healthier than a typical buttermilk fried chicken, too.

Grab it to go and get ready to be licking spices off your hands all night.

12. Solid – Boise, Idaho

This late-night spot is a great place for a midnight chicken feast after a few beers. Actually it’s a great place for a chicken feast at any time.

The Chicken and Waffles dish here is a local favourite. A half chicken, fried and served atop a fresh Belgian waffle, with whipped butter and warm maple syrup. Yum.

13. Crisp – Chicago, Illinois

The Plain Jane fried chicken at this counter-service Korean joint has cult status in Chicago. Despite the name, there’s nothing plain about this chicken. For the purist who likes their fried chicken sans any sauces, this version is for you.

It’s simply fried to golden perfection.

14. Hollyhock Hill – Indianapolis, Indiana

Founded in 1928, Hollyhock Hill doesn’t just serve classic Indiana fried chicken, they helped invent it. This family style restaurant serves full plates of fried chicken with all the trimmings… Mash potato, corn, green beans and fresh butter rolls.

Their chicken is available for breakfast, lunch, dinner – the dream.

15. Bubba – Des Moines, Iowa

Specialising in Southern favourites and classic cocktails, Bubba is hands down the best spot in Iowa for fried chicken.

Order the Chicken and Waffles for a loaded plate of Buttermilk fried chicken and Anson Mills rice waffle with whipped honey butter and house bread-and-butter pickles.

16. Beer Kitchen – Kansas City, Kansas

Beer Kitchen has great beers (duh) and other dishes, but it’s their fried chicken that stands out.

This ‘breakfast at anytime’ dish is on a new level: cornflake-crusted fried chicken breast, with a maple and mustard marinade, cheddar-bacon-chive waffle, chicken pan gravy and maple syrup.

17. Royals Hot Chicken – Louisville, Kentucky

Royals Hot Chicken are masters at Nashville-style hot chicken, in which the exterior of the fried chicken is seasoned with a spicy chile oil and a blend of chile spices.

Feeling brave? Choose the spice level of your chicken from Classic Fried, Medium, Hot, X-Hot, or Gonzo.

18. Willie Mae’s Scotch House – New Orleans, Louisiana

This is a local and international favourite, known for its simple menu and famous fried chicken. Willie Mae Seaton started serving her delicious chicken over 30 years ago, and even made her way back to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to keep her secret recipe alive.

Choose between white or dark fried chicken – that’s the entire menu.

19. Figgy’s Takeout & Catering – Portland, Maine

Figgy’s Takeout and Catering does all your favourite comfort food, including their skillet fried chicken, done the proper way in a cast iron pan.

Order one of the buttermilk sandwiches stuffed with their crunchy and seasoned chicken and you’ll be a lifetime fan. The amazingly good sandwiches come with creamy mash and gravy.

20. Jumbo Jumbo – Baltimore, Maryland

Jumbo Jumbo Café has been serving authentic Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine to the lucky folk of Rockville since 2003. Their crispy Asian-style chicken is perfectly flavoured, with a crunch unlike any in the state.

21. BISq – Boston, Massachusetts

This elegant wine bar and restaurant might not be the first place that springs to mind when thinking of the best fried chicken in America, but it should.

BISq’s classy take on the comfort food dish comes with either Thai Bird Chili Salt, Buttermilk Ranch or Chipotle BBQ. It’s out-of-this-world tasty.

22. Motor City Soul Food – Detroit, Michigan

If you want properly delicious soul food, then Michigan’s Motor City Soul Food is the only place you need to go. Everything is carryout here, so choose your food from the huge menu and get feasting on their salty fried chicken.

Sides include candied yams, spaghetti, cabbage, sweetcorn, mash and so, so much more.

23. Revival – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Revival is famous in the Twin Cities for its Southern fried chicken that never fails to pack a serious flavour punch. It’s a chef-driven project so they use farm-raised chickens and add a bit of pizazz.

Good news for coeliacs – they even have a gluten-free fried chicken version.

24. Old Country Store – Lorman, Mississippi

Old Country Store might be remote, but it’s worth seeking out for its chicken alone. Their mouthwatering fried chicken is cooked up singing cook, Mr. D.

Even better is that’s an all-you-can-eat buffet, so you can fill yourself up to the brim with these tasty bites. The best $12.95 you’ll spend.

25. Byrd & Barrel – St. Louis, Missouri

Byrd & Barrel’s goal is to change the fast food game by serving locally sourced hand made food in a fast food environment, aka gourmet fried chicken, but fast.

Chow down on their buttermilk fried nugs, fried chicken sandwiches or a classic chicken and waffles. All incredible – just don’t forget the Kool Aid pickles.

26. Roost Fried Chicken – Bozeman, Montana

Roost serves up traditional Southern recipes with a twist here and there. Order their succulent chicken in a family-size bucket, fried on a stick or in a sweet and savoury waffle dish.

The only hard part is choosing between Nashville Hot or Sweet Heat.

27. Time Out Foods – Omaha, Nebraska

Time Out Foods is one of the oldest black-owned businesses in North Omaha and still prepares the same menu as it did when first open over 40 years ago.

It’s a local household name at this stage, and with good reason. Chicken this good deserves to be shouted about.

28. Mochiko Chicken – Las Vegas, Nevada

Mochicko Chicken is a Hawaiian-style fried chicken joint where you can load those tasty and sticky bites onto rice bowls.

There’s lots of tempting sauces you can choose: honey teriyaki, mango and garlic or katsu, to name but a few. You’ll be back for more of this chicken again and again.

29. The Puritan Backroom – Manchester, New Hampshire

Famous for their chicken tenders, homemade ice cream and Frozen Mudslides, the Backroom has been serving crispy chicken since 1917.

You can’t go wrong with an order of the fried chicken tenders with onion rings – it’s up to you to get them spicy or coated in coconut flakes.

30. Hoagitos – Belmar, New Jersey

This year-round spot serves cooked to order “Hoagitos”, or mini-subs, sliders and sides, stuffed with freshly fried chicken that’s almost impossibly good.

Their fried chicken sandwiches include the Forbidden Chicken: crispy chicken thigh with a sweet ‘n’ spicy glaze, carrot-daikon slaw and garlic mayo.

31. Frank’s Famous Chicken & Waffles – Albuquerque, New Mexico

These crispy chicken wings are some of the best fried chicken in America you’ll ever taste. The vibe of this homey restaurant is just as good as the food.

Don’t leave without trying the Famous Jr.: three crunchy wings and a fluffy waffle, with a dollop of whipped cinnamon butter.

32. Pies n Thighs – Brooklyn, New York

This Williamsburg icon has been feeding NYC its salty, crispy fried chicken since 2006, and people are still as obsessed as ever.

The crispy chicken cutlet on a buttermilk biscuit slathered in hot sauce and honey butter is an absolute classic. Finish it off with sweet tea and a glazed doughnut.

33. Mandolin – Raleigh, North Carolina

Just like Raleigh itself, Mandolin is Southern at its roots, but draws influences from around the world.

The result? Fried chicken breast on buckwheat waffles with braised greens, sautéed mushrooms, bacon-mushroom cream and truffle honey.

34. Rustica Eatery and Tavern – Moorhead, North Dakota

Rustica Eatery and Tavern has a menu made up of traditional American fare with European influences, with a key dish being their fried chicken.

The heavenly buttermilk fried chicken comes with green chile ranch and tomato preserves. Dee-lish.

35. Mahall’s – Cleveland, Ohio

Don’t judge this unassuming bowling alley and music venue on your first thoughts – this is where you’ll soon be running to bite into perfectly fried chicken. Take a break from your night out for a greasy chicken feast.

Dip into Mahall’s hot honey sauce for extra irresistible flavour.

36. Eischen’s Bar – Okarche, Oklahoma

This legendary restaurant goes through 24,000 pieces of chicken per week.

Just ask for a the ‘Fried Chicken’ order. It consists of eight pieces: two breasts, two thighs, two wings and two legs. It’s served with sliced white bread, sweet pickles, dill pickles and onion slices, and is incredible.

37. Lighthouse Restaurant & Bar – Portland, Oregon

The Lighthouse is a mecca for scratch-made, comforting American classics, so it goes without saying that fried chicken is a menu highlight.

Get the boneless buttermilk-brined fried chicken with braised greens, sour cream mashed potatoes, and gravy or in a ciabatta sandwich.

38. Poi Dog – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Poi Dog serves Hawaii-style plate lunches with fried Spam, Kalua pork, small-batch tofu poke and mochiko- and furikake-battered chicken. It’s that chicken that really makes out mouths water.

Their tender chicken comes with yuzu mayo, pickled red cabbage and fluffy rice.

39. Bucktown – Providence, Rhode Island

Bucktown focuses on classic Southern comfort food and does it oh-so well. Their chicken is perfectly moist yet crispy and comes in all the best forms.

Think: chicken ‘n’ waffles, with homemade biscuits, a chicken thigh sandwich, chicken tenders and fries or a full bucket of all the best chicken pieces.

40. Jestine’s Kitchen – South Carolina

Jestine’s Kitchen is superb traditional Southern home cooking, with a long legacy of making large and perfectly crispy fried chicken. Order the Chuck ‘n’ Cluck which has both meatloaf and fried chicken drumsticks for a real treat.

The lines outside tell you all you need to know (you can even get a t-shirt that says “I survived the line at Jestine’s Kitchen.”)

41. The Keg Chicken – Sioux Falls, South Dakota

This old school restaurant had some tough times over the years with closures, but reopened in 2015 and is back serving their droolworthy fried chicken yet again.

Each chicken dinner (get the mixed dark and white meat!) comes with a choice of two sides. The secret to the crispy batter? They only ever fry one piece of chicken at a time.

42. Arnold’s Country Kitchen – Nashville, Tennessee

Arnold’s is a ‘mom and pop’ family business that’s been a local landmark since the 1980s. . Grab a red tray and head for the cafeteria-style line to load up on the famous “meat-and-three”.

The buffet menu changes daily so check out the website before you arrive to be sure your favourite dish is on it.

43. Max’s Wine Dive – Austin, Texas

With the motto “Fried Chicken and Champagne — Why The Hell Not?”, you can just tell that Max’s Wine Dive does things differently. Order a portion of the jalapeño-buttermilk marinated fried chicken, home fries, collard greens, Texas toast and chipotle honey.

And yes, grab a glass of champers to rinse it down.

44. Purgatory Bar – Salt Lake City, Utah

This funky bar has non-traditional pub food that puts all other pub grub to shame. While basically everything on the menu is incredible, it’s the fried chicken that steals the show.

It comes on a thick slab of toast with crema, chives, pickles and a side of buffalo sauce. Add a fried extra for the ultimate finishing touch.

45. Al’s French Frys – South Burlington, Vermont

Al’s is a Burlington-area institution, known for its fabulous French fries and addictively crispy, golden fried chicken. The four-piece fried chicken set is bone-in and super moist on the inside, yet crunchy on the outside.

A side order of the namesake ‘frys’ finish off this great fried chicken feast.

46. Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken – Virginia

They’ve been cooking up the best fried chicken since way back in 1966. Any restaurant thriving and with such loyal customers after half a century is doing something right.

Wonderfully crispy on the outside yet juicy in the middle, this is everything that you could want from a fried chicken feast.

47. JuneBaby – Seattle, Washington

Sunday is the night to come here for their special fried chicken night. The whole restaurant is an homage to Southern cooking and they leave no stone unturned in terms of authenticity.

So many wonderful Southern classics to choose from but save yourself for the fried chicken. As good as it gets for fried chicken in America.

48. Bluegrass Kitchen – Charleston, West Virginia

Bluegrass Kitchen cooks up fresh farm-to-table comfort food with a modern edge, with specialties including brunch, cocktails and vegetarian dishes.

You are here for one reason though, and that is to taste their delectable and drool-inducing fried chicken. Golden and crunchy.

49. Char’d – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

They cook their Korean BBQ meats on sizzling lava stones and serve them up with the most seasonal green vegetables. This is a simple concept, executed brilliantly.

The chicken is sticky, crispy and juicy all at once and explodes into your mouth with a huge burst of flavour.

50. Cafe Genevieve – Wyoming

This is one of the cutest and cosiest restaurants you will ever set foot in, while the word comfort food could have been invented for them.

Big portions, a great wine list and craft beers, best of all is the fried chicken which people come from miles around to feast on.


Watch the video: Korean Food Tour - SHORT RIBS BBQ and Juicy FRIED CHICKEN on 14-Hour Incheon Airport Layover! (January 2022).