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Chicken 'N Waffles ... how best to eat it?

Two questions -- one is borne of etiquette, the other is motivated by maximizing the experience.

So bear with me, please.

As to the first, is it more proper to use knife and fork, or to attack the dish with bare hands? Or a combination of both?

On the second question, what's the best way to maximze the sweet and savory potential this dish has to offer?

In other words, do you somehow combine the fried chicken with the waffle and syrup and butter in each bite? Do you drizzle the syrup on both the chicken and waffle? What about the butter? Do you ever put the chicken on top of the waffle so that it can rest to allow some of that good salty grease to permeate those nooks and crannies in the waffle?

Or is it better to consume each (chicken and waffle) separately? Because the joy is just having both dishes at the same meal (not necessarily with each mouthful).

What about gravy? Is it preferrable to syrup? Or should it be in addition to syrup?

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  1. I like them separate...savory then sweet. That waffle better be crisp and not limp.

    1. I fork up a bite of chicken, waffle and gravy (thoroughly dunked) and drag it through the syrup. If it doesn't drip on my shirt when I lift it to my mouth, something isn't quite right.

      1. Never had it with gravy. I put syrup on the chicken and the waffle and eat bites of them together.

        1. Ours always arrives with the chicken on the waffle. It's the only time I don't eat fried chicken with my fingers. (I can't imagine eating a waffle that way - with my fingers I mean.) . Knife and fork is the way to go. If the chicken is crisp enough, the waffle can be tender and I won't kvetch. Syrup, please; if there's gravy, it's gotta be a lot better than most chicken gravy I've found in restaurants.

          1. When eating this dish out I use a knife and fork. Butter and syrup on the waffles, just syrup on the chicken, and take a small piece of each in one bite. However, when I make it at home, I use chicken tenderloins for the fried chicken, put one on half a waffle, fold up like a taco and dunk into a waiting ramekin of hot maple syrup.

            1. Sweet and savory aside, I've never gotten how to eat finger food and fork/knife at the same time. If you get a fried chicken wing, served with the waffle, do you eat the chicken wing with fingers, then clean your hands and eat your waffle? Waffle w/ fingers? I can't be bothered to eat a fried chicken wing with fork and knife. I just can't mix finger foods w/ fork foods.

              5 Replies
              1. re: chowser

                I'm with you on that. Growing up in the Midwest and then living 20-some years in Tennessee, I think Mrs. O was the first person I ever met who eats fried chicken with a fork. However, while it requires a certain level of dexterity to manage, I have no great difficulty using my fingers to lift a piece of chicken and dip it into syrup, or gravy if that's what we're eating, and then nibble off the anointed flesh. This is pieces on a bone, of course; if you want to eat breast meat you'll probably want to use knife and fork. And if the thigh is cut that oddball fashion with the chunk of pelvis attached - WHY do people do that? - then it's going to be a problem too. But drumsticks and wings should be easy enough.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  Growing up I had a friend who went to a military academy. When he came over for dinner, he ate fried chicken with a knife and fork. He said at the academy no one eats with their fingers.

                2. re: chowser

                  "I just can't mix finger foods w/ fork foods."

                  That's really my issue as well.

                  Fried chicken (and, really, fried chicken is only really fried chicken with bone-in chicken pieces) is meant to be eaten with fingers and intermittent licking of those fingers.

                  Waffles, on the other hand, to me are purely knife/fork endeavor, esp. after you slather on the syrup, butter or whatever.

                  Now, put the two together, I am at a loss. To me, there's no real point in eating Chicken N Waffles if I am eating each dish separately. This dish was concocted to be enjoyed by having both (chicken AND waffle) in one bite in my opinion.

                  So, for me, to tear off a piece of chicken with my hands, then wipe down, then pick up the knife and fork to cut off a piece of waffle and combine with the aforementioned finger separated chicken piece just seems so not right. It's like an affront to the laws of nature.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Get messy. Slather on the butter, but hold off on the syrup. Tear off a piece of chicken, tear of a piece of waffle, hold together and then dip into the syrup.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      If you're served a whole leg, separate drumstick from thigh and back with knife & fork. Then if you're right-handed, hold the fried chicken piece (on the bone) in your left hand. Cut and eat buttered waffle with syrup with the fork in your right hand. No need to touch fried chicken with your clean right hand nor touch a utensil with your oily/syrupy left hand.

                      After thoroughly enjoying yourself, tidy up with the "hand wipes" thoughtfully provided by the eating establishment.