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Fried Chicken & Waffles

For years I've heard about Roscoe's and heard about this southern staple, but never tried it. It always seemed somewhat silly to me. I know I like fried chicken, I somewhat like waffles, what's not to like. So the other night I tried it at Wild Turkey in Yonkers. I figured everything else is delicious, why not.

I just don't get it. I mean received a plate of some of the best buttermilk battered fried chicken I've ever tasted. Some nice corn on the cob cooked on a grill. And a waffle with syrup? It just didn't go. Was I supposed to eat one before the other? Together? I know I didn't want syrup on my Fried Chicken.

Honestly, are there two things that go together less than these two items? Maybe I needed a different atmosphere, but I just didn't get it. Someone explain the excitement over this pairing. And please don't tell me "when it's good." My food was excellent, it just shouldn't have shared a plate!

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  1. I was wondering the same thing about the chicken and waffle pairing. The Travel Channel answered it for me on one of their "Food Paradise" shows. They said something along the lines of people who showed up at soul food restaurants for a late night bite, and couldn't decide between breakfast and lunch/dinner. So the chef put two specials of the house on one plate. And people seemed to like the sweet & savory mix, so it stuck!

    I haven't been to Wild Turkey, but I've tried it at Cafeteria in Chelsea. I like to eat them separately - I save the waffle for last -- but that's just me!

    1. I used to work in a private club in PA that had Chicken & Waffle night on Wednesdays. It was our busiest night. All the local businessmen, judges, attorneys and bankers scrambled downtown to score all you can eat chicken and waffles. But ours were very different from what you described. Ours was homemade waffles served w/ pulled, roastsed chicken and smothered in gravy with a side of mashed potatoes and a vegetable. No syrup. It was delicious and a very simple comfort food. I've not heard of it w/ fried chicken and syrup. Yuck.

      10 Replies
      1. re: lynnlato

        What you explained makes some sense. That sounds almost like Kentucky Hot Brown, with the sliced turkey with bacon and tomato on french toast, smothered ina delicious white cheese gravy. Wild Turkey has that also, and it is delicious. That makes sense, becasue the french toast just asks as the "biscuit."

        1. re: jhopp217

          hat Kentucky Hot Brown sounds yummy. I could dig that. As we all know, everything is improved with bacon. :)

          1. re: lynnlato

            Yeah, like our poor bar cookie in process that died on that other board. I'm with you--everything's better with bacon (and butter!).

            I still have it in the back of my mind to make corn waffles and chili. Bet that is a very tasty combo.

            1. re: kattyeyes

              Yea, the cookie thing was doomed from the start - but it was fun.

              I like the way u think, Kattyeyes. Corn waffles sound tasty!

              I'm gonna make those bacon cookies - I swear. I'm just working out the details in my mind yet. I'm thinking candied pecans and bacon. Similiar to a nut mix I made of a recipe from the NYT. Any ideas for the batter?

              1. re: lynnlato

                And to make the waffles just a tad different, adding shredded cheddar to the batter with diced jalapeno, even, would complement chili nicely. I will do this someday!

                Glad the bacon cookie game is back on. :) I will pop you a note offline with batter suggestions. I'm still liking the idea of an oatmeal-based foundation--salty/sweet dough to accompany salty/sweet add-ins.

                1. re: kattyeyes

                  Made chili and plain ol' (undoctored) Jiffy corn waffles tonight. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! I highly recommend this combo to any chili 'n cornbread lovers.

            2. re: lynnlato

              hot browns are the best part of thanksgiving, i always make sure to cook too big of a bird so that i can have hot browns for leftovers :)

          2. re: lynnlato

            I have had chicken and waffles, its a great dish. I had it at the old Coffee Cup.
            What can be bad? I love fried chicken, I love waffles, fried chicken is sometimes served with honey, maple syrup has a similar flavor profile and serves as a great bridge between the chicken and the waffle.
            Here is a little trivia Gladys Knight of Gladys Knight & the Pips owns a chain of restaurants called Gladys Knight Chicken & Waffle

            1. re: GodfatherofLunch

              Yes!! That was it! They were on the Travel Channel - in Atlanta on that show Man vs. Food! Gladys looks great!! (and so do her chicken & waffles!)

              1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                Just took a look at the chicken and waffles dish from Gladys Knight and Ron Winan's. Apparently it is four fried chicken wings & one waffle for $9.50. it's called the midnight and from what I gather it is served with a packet of butter, and orange slice and hot sauce. no syrup in the picture! Although I'm sure you can ask for it.

            2. There was a thread on chicken and waffles over in General Chowhounding recently that may be of interest:

              1. I never eat waffles - never. And I don't like sweets. But the last three times we've been to NYC we've gone to Amy Ruth's in Harlem and had chicken and waffles for breakfast. And loved 'em! They also have waffles with fried fish, shrimp, can't remember what else. I think it is probably that sweet/savory combo. I don't know that I'd want it for lunch or dinner. Don't know why. But late night after too many cocktails sounds good. (Granted I'm too *old* for that any more but in my youth it would have been appealing!)

                1. For whatever it is worth, I've lived all over the South for my entire 52 years, and I had never, ever even heard of chicken and waffles until I saw it mentioned on this board. You might be able to get chicken and waffles here now, but I sure don't think is is a southern staple...

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Clarkafella

                    I'm 62 and grew up in Atlanta (which doesn't/didn't qualify as "The South" necessarily) and never heard of C&W either. But I know that there are some here (perhaps in the thread referenced by kattyeyes) that did eat it in the South.

                    1. re: Clarkafella

                      Vacationed for over 20 years here and it was always around. Never did like, still don't. but a lot do. Each to their own taste.

                      1. re: Clarkafella

                        Chicken and Waffles originated in Harlem, USA not the south.

                        1. re: Clarkafella

                          That's because chicken and waffles isn't "southern" food, per se. And unless I'm mistaken, it's a dish that has only recently become popular outside of the African American community. You've probably been able to get it in soul food restaurants for ages, but it wasn't "mainstream".

                          1. re: Suzy Q

                            Chicken & Waffles has been a Pennsylvania Dutch staple for a very long time. However, they never served it with fried chicken, but rather chicken sauteed w/ a mirepoix and stewed in stock. The chicken was then pulled and served over the waffles w/ gravy. Often, they added mashed potatoes to the plate - can u say carb overload? But no syrup was involved.

                        2. The earliest reference to chicken and waffles I can recall is in Billie Holiday's "autobiography". Her mother would fry 'em up for the band before they left to go on the road.

                          I was surprised to see it on the menu in Pennsylvania Amish country, but it turned out to be chicken in gravy and NOT fried chicken. Just didn't do it for me.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Up With Olives

                            That's how we had it (see my post above). Being from Central PA makes sense that it's probably a PA Dutch thang. It's good - similiar to chicken and biscuits as Jhopp pointed out, and there is no syrup involved.

                            1. re: lynnlato

                              My grandmother was a Johnny Bull from Somerset County, PA, and she said that church suppers used to feature chicken and waffle dinners, but their fried chicken and waffles was served with gravy, not syrup. They were all off-the-boat from NOrthern England in that area, working the mines and smelters, circa 1900. But then these Brits also ate pork roast and saurkraut. Go figure.

                            1. it is not a southern food, it originated in harlem in NYC. but it probably an extension from the southern classic of chicken and biscuits.

                              i think it is a great combination, and i like when they syrup gets on my waffle. hell - people make honey fried chicken, so why not syrup?

                              1. I don't think it's any stranger than eating cornbread with honey along with your fried chicken.

                                1. I think I may have first heard of it from the movie "Jackie Brown", when the gangster (Samuel L Jackson) lures his victim out of his apartment with promises of Roscoe's Chicken N Waffles, then kills him.

                                  Then I think I saw a tv show where Snoop Dogg brings David Beckham to Roscoe's to let him sample the food.

                                  So my media-saturated brain has always wanted to try this stuff. The idea of it being sweet, with (corn) syrup, does not appeal, but the idea of the texture of waffles with the texture of fried chicken does appeal.

                                  So I tried it at home, with store-bought Eggos and the fried chicken from Bojangles. (I am not into deep-frying at home and prefer to leave that to professionals.) Not surprisingly, it wasn't all that good with the Eggos. Actually, it was a little bit better with the blueberry waffles than it was with the plain waffles, so maybe a little sweetness does help after all. Point of all this being, I wish I had a Roscoe's nearby so I could really try it.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Budget Palate

                                    OMG, I actually own a copy of "Jackie Brown" and have watched it several times, but didn't remember there was a Roscoe's reference in it. Gives new meaning to "to die for," doesn't it? ;)

                                    I think, barring a trip to Roscoe's, you might have a better shot at replicating it by making waffles at home (rather than Eggo's) and buy your fave fried chicken again. You can pick up a decent mix at the supermarket with malt in it--that seems to be a key ingredient in extra-tasty waffles.

                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                      Yes, it's just a quick joke in there. Great flick by the way.

                                      I think messing around with a waffle iron might be a fun hobby to get into. Thanks for the suggestion.

                                      And here's to chowhounds mixing fine cuisine and fast food, and what is perceived as "high" culture with "low" culture, and everything in between, with reckless abandon!

                                      1. re: Budget Palate

                                        Big cheers to that! :) Happy waffling!

                                  2. For me personally, I eat them together. Also I don't like it when the waffle is savory, I prefer a standard breakfast waffle w/ syrup - not gravy.

                                    It sounds weird, but it does make sense - the whole salty/sweet thing is a pattern that you see w/ some frequency.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: jgg13

                                      Right on! To the nay sayers I say Don't knock it till you try it.

                                      1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                        Or as my mom (still) likes to say, "Don't like it *too* much!" In other words, less for you means more for me. ;)

                                      2. re: jgg13

                                        Just to add a little PA Dutch soul food in here, it's very common for them to eat their scrapple with syrup. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.

                                      3. What? You don't like it when syrup from your pancakes gets on your breakfast sausage??

                                        I've been to Roscoe's for the Chicken and Waffles and it was good.

                                        **note** I do not care for chicken and biscuits, so the idea of waffles with gravy sounds terrible to me. Much better syrup with good fried chicken and crispy waffles.

                                        1. One of my favorite cookbooks is Waffles From Morning To Midnight. Used copies available on Amazon. Lots of savory waffle recipes. Fun stuff!

                                          1. Maybe it's just something you have to grow up eating- I love it, but can see how it may not appeal to everyone. By the way, chicken and waffles did not start in Harlem. Yes, there are some famous restaurants who feature it, and they're great at what they do, but just about everything on their menu(and the people behind those restaurants) are Southern.

                                            I don't know if I'd call it a Southern staple, but has always been very popular where my family is from(North/South Carolina, and Alabama). Just a cultural thing, I think.

                                            1. Mmmmmmmmm sounds so good. Could it be one of those things that you'd need to try again? A wonderful friend of mine once told me I'd have to try sushi at least 3 times before I decided I hated it. She was right & now I can't imagine not having it in my life.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                Sushi and pizza were two tastes I acquired instantly; something in me recognized these as things I'd been missing and unconsciously searching for all my life. I must say I had no such epiphany with chicken and waffles, though there is a Roscoe's three blocks away to which we dutifully take every out-of-town guest.

                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                  Sushi and Pizza separetely I assume, Haha. I don't want to see a thread on here with reviews from Will Owen's Pizza & Sushi. The whole idea of the "three cheese spicy tuna roll" or the "Uni Calzone" is a little much!

                                                  1. re: jhopp217

                                                    Pizza at 13, sushi at 40. Not too much overlap there...

                                                  2. re: Will Owen

                                                    My first taste of sushi was forced. The guy I was with bought some supermarket sushi- and shoved a piece in my mouth in the parking lot. The smell of hot asphalt and fishy fish wrapped in gummy rice did not a sushi lover make me.... ;o)
                                                    Tried it again (forced) at a lousy Chinese buffet.
                                                    Then finally my cousin took me to an actual sushi bar- she ordered a bunch of things and had me try. Not standing in a parking lot of the grocery store in 89* heat helped!
                                                    It wasn't until then I realized that the other stuff was just seaweed, rice and weirdness - the items she ordered tasted amazing, and I was hooked.