Last Call: A peek behind the curtains of America's greatest fried chicken

Illustration for article titled Last Call: A peek behind the curtains of Americas greatest fried chicken
Photo: Brendan Smialowski (Getty Images)
Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

Throw the words “Best Burger” or “Best Pizza” up on the internet and it’s like throwing a carcass at a pack of vultures. You’re inviting people to scream share their deeply held opinions and defend it to their deaths.

But on the subject of best fried chicken in America, I will not concede that the race is even close. The greatest fried chicken in these United States, in my humble opinion and the opinions of many well-traveled food folks, can be found at Willie Mae’s Scotch House in New Orleans. I’m not here to start an argument, I’m only making a statement of fact. If you’ve been lucky to come to Treme, brave the lines and dine here, you know. Just look at this screengrab:

Illustration for article titled Last Call: A peek behind the curtains of Americas greatest fried chicken

What I’d like to share today is a regrettably brief peek behind-the-scenes at Willie Mae’s kitchen, courtesy of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Here we find out a few of its precioussecrets: The cayenne wet batter is responsible for its incomparable smooth-and-craggy crust, and it’s fried in oil at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. And that’s all we get. But watching this video gives me the warm and fuzzies, and it makes me yearn—for fried chicken, New Orleans, and one of the most essential restaurants in our country.

(Oh, and the second best fried chicken in America? For my vote, I’m going with these guys.)

Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.

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Tangentially related, I was recently talking to a Nashville guy who was pointing out that nationwide, places are calling fried chicken with Buffalo sauce “Nashville hot,” instead of the cayenne/oil signature heat you get in Nashville. I have vowed to call fake Nashville hot chicken “Neneh Cherry Chicken,” now because of the Buffalo Stance.