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Fried chicken, aka southern fried chicken, is battered or breaded by the piece and fried in hot oil.
You will find fried chicken everywhere in the United States. Beyond KFC and Chick-Fil-A. Many venues call it southern fried chicken. The reason is that it first took hold as a staple dish among slaves in the South. They were allowed to keep chickens but not hogs or cattle. They added African-accented spice and seasoning to fairly bland recipes that originated in the British Isles.
After the Civil War, fried chicken grew in popularity. It became a relatively inexpensive entree for Sunday supper. Because it keeps well after cooking, it often anchors picnic menus.
Not including air-frying, cooks fry chicken in a deep-fryer or a frying pan. Or they broast it, the patented name for pressure-frying. Before dropping them in hot oil, cooks batter or bread the individual pieces. This creates a seasoned coat that holds in moisture.
Notable styles around the nation include…
Full-bore fried chicken dinners, soup to nuts, put Kansas City at the top of many people’s favorite places to eat.
Chicken Maryland goes from the frying pan into a baking oven. Before serving, the chef smothers it with cream gravy.
Springfield, Missouri, boasts a unique style of cashew chicken. This Chinese-American fusion dish comes with brown oyster sauce, decorated with cashews and green onions.
Six different restaurants in Crawford County, Kansas, along a highway known as Chicken Dinner Road all serve a unique fried chicken dinner. Vinegar-and-oil-based German potato salad and slaw accompany especially succulent batter-clad chicken.
Some detour-worthy gas-station eateries earn fame for fried chicken in a humble setting. Roadfood devotees single out Bobop’s Marathon station of Estil, South Carolina and the Chicken Coop of Lovingston, Virginia. In Southbury, Connecticut, a convenience store named Patty’s Pantry draws travelers from I-84 for its fry-kettle skills.
Every year in May, Gordonsville, Virginia, hosts a Fried Chicken Festival. It honors the “fried chicken ladies” of post-Civil War days. They used to stand on the train platform offering trays of fried chicken and biscuits to travelers. Back then, Gordonsville touted itself as the Chicken Leg Center of the Universe.