Image from Gus’s Fried Chicken in Austin, TX
To know me is to know that I know fried chicken. I’ve probably eaten at over 1000 establishments in my lifetime that serve fried chicken. I’ve eaten fried chicken in 47 of the 50 states and I am not one to leave a chicken challenge on the table as I will go to multiple places in a city if there is an argument about who’s fried chicken is the best.
Fried chicken is an art form. To get it right, requires balance and careful attention to detail. One would think that it had to be fried pretty to be good but I’ve learned that looks are only a part of the equation.
You have to make sure that you get the seasoning of the meat right. The breading and meat have to compliment each other. The flavor of the chicken has to explode in the mouth and leave a watering of the mouth that makes you want to keep biting into the chicken time after time.
Good fried chicken can stand alone. It doesn’t need anything on it. It doesn’t have to be complimented with something to eat with it. It should be good hot or cold. It should be as flavorful the day after as it was the day it was fried. That being said, these are the best fried chicken establishments that I’ve visited.
20. Florida Avenue Grill – Wasington DC – a good meal and a history lesson.
19. Snappy Lunch – Mount Airy, NC – Grab it to go and it will change your life. Grab a pork chop sandwich too.
18. Birch and Barley – Pullman, WA – sleeper in the middle of nowhere.
17. Royal Farms – Baltimore, MD – best chicken I’ve ever eaten that didn’t come from a restaurant.
16. Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles – Los Angeles, CA – Better than I expected but it didn’t live up to the hype.
15. The Pit Original Barbecue – Raleigh, NC – It is a barbecue joint but the fried chicken is incredible.
14. Degustos – Indianapolis, IN – Still on the list. The seasonings are the key.
13. Pies and Thighs – Brooklyn, NY – I don’t know if it was because I was hungry or because it was good. As soon as I ate it I knew it was going on the list.
12. Sweetie Pies – St. Louis, MO – an omission from my last post. Since revisiting they’ve found that magic again.
11. Harolds Chicken Shack – Chicago, IL – Its a must try.
10. 713 – Houston, TX – A sleeper spot in Houston. Get the half chicken and thank me later.
9. Beasley Fried Chicken and Honey – Raleigh, NC – Seriously it gets better every time I go.
8. Eagle – Cincinnati, OH – Haven’t been here in a while but it never disappoints. Best restaurant the OTR has to offer.
7. Lee’s Chicken and Donuts – Houston, TX – this place will have you wanting chicken for all 3 meals. Get the donut chicken sandwich. You’re welcome.
6. Hip Hop Chicken – Baltimore, MD – I thought this place was a joke. Trust me the chicken ain’t playing. It will make you dance.
5. 2 Fat 2 Fly – Columbia, SC – Food Truck but who cares. Stuffed chicken was so good. Made me wings with bacon mac and cheese stuffed inside.
4. Frenchy’s – Houston, TX – this is the best fried chicken in Houston. Get the jalepeno on the side.
3. Dames Chicken and Waffles – Durham, NC – maybe I’m biased. But Dames chicken is like crack. It be calling me.
2. Rudy’s Fried Chicken – Dallas, TX – easily the best fried chicken in Dallas. All that’s on the menu is chicken and fries.
1. Gus’s – Memphis, TN, Atlanta, GA, Kansas City, MO & Austin, TX – It will change your life. Don’t go alone. Take a friend who loves chicken and split an 8 piece.
If you have one to add to the list, list it in the comments section and I will be glad to check it out the next time I’m in the area. Thanks.