On this past episode of Top 5 Restaurants, Geoffrey Zakarian and Sunny Anderson revealed that fried chicken is the No. 1 most-ordered restaurant dish in the country. Do you even have to ask yourself why? What makes fried chicken so enjoyable is its crunchy exterior and its moist and meaty interior. Your mouth has to be watering by now! Find out which five fried chicken dishes made it onto the top-five list and then vote on your favorite. Warning: There’s more mouthwatering ahead.
You’ve heard of the dish fried chicken and waffles (and we have one below), but have you heard of fried chicken and doughnuts? Well, at Federal Donuts in Philadelphia they’ve got it, and it’s not just any fried chicken — it’s Korean-style, which means it’s fried twice, making it one of the crispiest chickens around. Enjoy the chicken either slathered in chile-garlic glaze or dusted in buttermilk ranch seasoning.
At The People’s Pig in Portland, Ore., the chicken isn’t just fried, it’s smoked. And surprisingly, the chicken sandwich that owner Cliff Allen serves is more popular than the restaurant’s pork offerings, because it’s just that good. Smoked over white oak, the chicken is then fried after being coated in Old Bay-seasoned flour and batter. It’s served in a sandwich, where the bread is spread with spicy mayo and jalapeno jelly.
It’s Edna Lewis’ sacred recipe for fried chicken that Chef Zeb Stevenson uses at Watershed on Peachtree in Atlanta. The three-day process starts with a brine, then a buttermilk soak, and then the chicken is finally dredged in a mix of flour and cornstarch for lightness before it’s fried the old-fashioned way in a cast-iron skillet with pork fat.
Longman & Eagle in Chicago makes a chicken and waffles dish that goes beyond the norm. First the chicken is brined in vinegar and honey, then it’s coated in a seasoned flour, and finally it’s fried in beef fat for deep flavor. The dish also features a hash made with sweet potatoes and Berkshire pork belly. The waffle recipe includes maple syrup in the batter to amplify the sweet flavor.
At Martha Lou’s Kitchen in Charleston, S.C., don’t look for all the bells and whistles of a Michelin-rated restaurant, but expect to find some of the best Southern food around. Since 1983 Martha Lou Gadsden has been dishing out her specialties, which include her fried chicken, seasoned in a blend of secret spices and then dredged in self-rising flour — it’s the baking soda in the flour that helps create the extra-crispy exterior once the chicken hits the hot peanut oil.
Browse through the photo gallery to see what Top 5 Restaurants features as the country’s best fried chicken dishes. Then vote in the poll to tell us which dish is your favorite.