We’ve all heard the saying “it tastes like chicken” before, but what does chicken really taste like? Are we supposed to believe that all chicken is created equal and therefore all chicken is equally delicious? You might label me a speciesist for saying this, but I think that’s some cluckin’ bullshit. There is a whole spectrum of chicken quality and not all of it is up to snuff.
Like with our vegetables, many of our chickens have been bred for size with little thought put into how they will actually taste. We end up with one-pound chicken breasts at the store, but it might as well be a one pound sack of water given how little flavor it has on its own. Even with an organic, free-range bird, the flavor can go a variety of ways depending on how it is prepared. Some preparations just taste better and more like chicken than others. For example, the best piece of steamed chicken isn’t going to have anywhere near the amount of flavor as a piece of good fried chicken.
Now when I say good fried chicken, I’m not talking about some wack-ass KFC. Good fried chicken is nothing like that slimy hot garbage that the Colonel’s servin’ up. Unlike that bucket of horrors, good fried chicken is a thing of beauty. It’s hot and crispy on the outside, moist and flavorful on the inside and golden brown in color.
Good fried chicken can be eaten all by itself, hot or cold, but I like mine accompanied with something else. One of my all time favorite ways to eat fried chicken is to pair it with waffles. I like my chicken and waffles with butter and syrup, especially if the chicken is spicy. It’s hard to beat spicy fried chicken covered in real maple syrup on a freshly made, crispy waffle. The mix of sweet, savory and spicy is next-level and a must for fans of breakfast for dinner.
I don’t always want breakfast, however, so my other (and most) favorite way to eat fried chicken is on a sandwich. There are probably a million different ways you could pair two pieces of bread with fried chicken, and I bet most of them are pretty good. Fried chicken and sandwiches just go so well together; it’s hard to fuck it up, but it is possible. A good rule of thumb is to keep it simple; if the chicken is good, you won’t need much else.
The Organic Coup, a fried chicken sandwich and salad joint in the UV shopping center on Howe, has really taken this idea to heart. The Organic Coup has a simple menu with the chicken sandwich being the main draw. It’s got some spice to it, but not too much to scare people off, and it still has that crunch that we all look for in good fried chicken. The sandwich comes topped with a slaw made of pickled carrots, pickled red onion, sliced jalapeños and cabbage all tossed lightly in oil. From there you can choose from their selection of sauces to personalize your chicken sandwich-eating experience.
This is the way fried chicken for the masses should be. It’s like how I used to feel about Chick- Fil-A before they started hating on the gays and I had to stop going there. Real fried chicken should be about love, not hate. It’s here to bring us joy, not to be used as a tool to exclude other people. The people behind The Organic Coup seem to get that, and I’m happy to eat their delicious fried chicken instead of Chick-Fil-A’s.
As good as it is, sometimes even The Organic Coup can’t satisfy my cravings for fried chicken. Sometimes I just need it to be spicy. When I need a piece of chicken that will burn a hole through my body, there is only one other place I turn to: Nash and Proper. Nash and Proper (3621 Broadway,) is a hot fried chicken food truck, but it’s so much more than that. It’s an oasis in the desert of mild, tasteless chicken. If Heaven itself took the form of a chicken and then killed and fried itself before jumping into a vat of flaming hot sauce and onto a plate, it would still not be as good as Nash and Proper.
This fried chicken is the real deal. It’s perfectly seasoned and cooked in such a way that it comes out extremely crispy while being one of the juiciest pieces of chicken I’ve ever eaten. It helps that they use leg and thigh meat, but I don’t think lovers of white meat will miss anything with this sandwich. As if it weren’t good enough already, Nash and Proper takes the extra step of giving their chicken a dunk in a vat of spicy hot oil before serving it up. Top that with a simple but delicious slaw, some pickles and a spicy aioli covered brioche bun and you have yourself a masterpiece for your mouth!
If I had to pick, I’d say Nash & Proper is the best fried chicken in town, but I’m always looking to be proven wrong. If you think I am, then show me! All you have to do is mail a choice piece of your favorite fried chicken to Submerge Magazine c/o Bocephus Chigger. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!