In the wake of the comfort food craze and Southern cuisine revival, fried chicken has become a ubiquitous menu item across the country. Not all fried chicken is made equal though-the perfect piece of fried chicken features crunchy, well-spiced skin and succulent flesh. At Red Rooster, the fried yard bird comes golden-crusted and juicy on the inside. On its bed of white mace gravy and hot sauce, the chicken hits you with just the right level of heat. Adjust the spice with a metal can of "shake," a magical bright red powder that brings a world of complexity to the bird.
In Houston, Frenchy's Chicken serves up a Creole-spiced bird. Lots of garlic and cayenne blasts the crust with a New Orleans style heat. For an original New Orleans fried chicken dinner, head to Willie Mae's Scotch House. Destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, Willie Mae's was rebuilt by a group of volunteers working with the Southern Foodways Alliance.
Chicago's South Side hosts some spectacular fried chicken, too. Izola's chicken showcases a dark brown crust that covers perfectly cooked meat. A sign inside reads, "Your wife a bum cook? Eat at IZOLA'S!" Even those who enjoy fine cooking at home will eventually crave a piece of Izola's chicken.
To read a longer list of fried chicken spots, click here. If you're in the mood for a fried chicken dinner, try making this twist on the classic dish with this fried chicken and yucca salad recipe from New American Table.