Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Houston >
May 7, 2011 09:39 AM

Randall's Fried Chicken

Anybody tried this? I saw it mentioned several times in recent months in the Press blogs - very favorably - so I thought I'd check it out. I was very pleasantly surprised. For supermarket fried chicken it is remarkably good and not bad when rated against non-supermarket chicken. In fact, right now, it's my go to place. My nearest Frenchy's outlet is disappointing and it's a long drive over to Scott St. to the original or any other fried chicken joint of note.

I have noted a little strange taste - I'm guessing from the cooking oil? It's noticeable on the first bite but doesn't bother me after that. I've tried it at 3 different stores, 4 times so far, and got it every time. Not offensive, just a little strange, to me.

One thing I like is, if you don't want to order a la carte (I just get dark meat pieces), you can get a reasonably priced plate and have a choice of sides other than the usual mashed potatoes, cole slaw, french fries, etc.; something like green beans or a pasta salad.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Brookshire Brothers supermarket does a really good fried chicken. Not from Brookshire, but Tyler, the stores are in most towns around Houston and east Texas. The website says it is fresh, never frozen. I've been to the ones in Hempstead, Bellville, and Brenham where I scored some fresh oysters the day after Ike. I had plenty of food, but with no power, a roadie was in order.

    17 Replies
    1. re: James Cristinian

      I had never heard that. I have never been to a Brookshire Bros, in fact, don't remember ever even seeing one. The nearest one to me is Katy, I see, significantly further than Scott Street!

      1. re: brucesw

        Tried Brookshire Bros chicken. Pretty good. Heavy crust that stayed on the pieces. A bit salty but good flavor. Better than I've had at any of the other Houston area grocers. I'll go back again. The best grocery store fried chicken I've had is a Publix. But you'll have to go several hundred miles to get to a Publix. My favorite local grocery store fried chicken though is the plain breaded wings at Kroger. Not as good as Hooters but more PC.

        1. re: txpickyeater

          I finally had the chance to try this recently; coming back into town, I took the detour up to the Katy store. I got 8 pieces, 4 regular, 4 spicy, thinking it would be good to have some on hand to snack on out of the fridge. Because of the huge pieces, especially the wings and breast pieces, I had 5 leftover pieces.

          Hot and fresh it was good but the spicy variety wasn’t noticeably spicy. I noted the very thick crust/batter and also the extra crunchiness, neither of which were to my liking. The thick batter, thickest I think I’ve ever had, soaked up a lot of grease. Of course if you’re going to eat fried chicken you’re going to eat some grease but this was really bad on the cold leftover pieces as the soggy, thick, grease-soaked batter was inedible and I was tearing big chunks of it off and throwing it in the trash. The crunchiness factor was just over the top for me - I like crispy, but this was beyond that to hard.

          Summing up, I’d eat it again and with some relish but I won’t buy enough for leftovers and will probably buy a la carte so I can get just dark pieces. I couldn’t say that this is the best super market fried chicken I’ve ever had.

          1. re: brucesw

            Kroger's does a good fried chicken, and it doesn't have the thick batter you mentioned, that is the two I've tried, the Echo Lane store, and the Westview/ Wirt one. I mentioned Brookshire Brothers chicken, and will add why we find Hempstead a destination. We get off US 290 at Hockley, and take Business 290 through Waller, Prairie View, and the on to Hempstead, with zero the stress of 290. Just on the right before Hempstead is Krolzyck Meats with the Exxon pumps out front. They have a small meat/sausage market along with a delicious sausage on a bun cooked in on of those hot dog rotissierie cookers. Twice I've seen Union Pacific railroad crews stop their train and cross the highway for the sausages. We get extras for leftovers. After that is Delorio Farms, good for in summer season vegetables and melons. Then there is Hempsted Fried Chicken, just really good chicken owned by a nice young couple. If anyone is in the area, throw them some business. Next door is Brookshire Brothers Grocery, very good, and not heavily battered. Finally, the real jewel in Hempstead is the Texas DPS office, where a wait can be from 0-20 minutes. Last time we went I took the wifeacita to Navasota for antiques, but Brenham and Bellville are aslo short drives.

            1. re: James Cristinian

              Well I do intend to try it again some time but never go anywhere close to Hempstead. I know there used to be one in Brookshire but now that is a BB Foods or something so may not have the fried chicken. I'll have to look for other locations on their website and make a note when I'm traveling. Maybe I just hit the Katy store on an off day of some sort.

              I have never had any good fried chicken from Kroger so it's never even considered.

              I did stop off at the Frenchy's in the parking lot of the Fiesta on S. Main/Kirby, near Reliant, over the weekend and was very pleased. Usually I find the satellite Frenchy's are not as good as Scott St. but this was great. Admittedly I haven't even been to Scott St. for a couple of years since it's so far and I had forgotten how juicy and flavorful Frenchy's can be.

              1. re: brucesw

                I went to UH for a a bunch o years, and never went to Frenchy's. I feel bad about that. What makes it so good? I like Church's for fast food chicken, specifically the one in Stafford. The pieces are really big, like the commercial said, and it was tender and juicy and crunchy and always hot.

                1. re: Lambowner

                  Frenchy's is a cross of cajun and soul food fried chicken. It's a balance of spices that Popeyes can't come close to. Every bit as good as Barbeque Inn fried chicken but for different reasons. It also is the best cold fried chicken I remember having. Still crispy after a day in the fridge in a zip lock bag. They also actively sell wings that make me very happy.

                  1. re: Lambowner

                    txpickyeater has said it well except that I think Frenchy's is way better than BBQ Inn. I am very hard to please with 'home-cooking' and just am not impressed with BBQ Inn except for the fried shrimp..

                    Frenchy's is juicy, flavorful, very unique, always did it better than Popeye's, which, I have read, has declined considerably since the founder died (haven't been in years). Because of the crowds, especially at the Scott St. original, the turnover is very quick and what you get is always very fresh out of the fryers and hasn't been sitting around under heat lamps. The only drawback is the long lines.

                    I was going to a Church's near me regularly several years ago; can't remember why I stopped but it perhaps was the quest for better sides? I don't remember the chicken as being exceptional, just close by and convenient. BTW, my favorite side at Frenchy's is the greens; I must have them.

                    1. re: brucesw

                      Brucesw, I like the fried oysters at BBQ Inn as much as the shrimp. I also like the fried catfish and chicken fried steak, although I could see some not liking the steak, since it's not the pounded thin variety. We went to Frenchy's Scott Street recently on the way to Galveston, and it was excellent as always. My favorite side there is the red beans and rice with andouille sausage. We also got some of the delicious greens. The wife and I spent 28 dollars there, but we did it for plenty of leftovers. There is a Popeye's just up the street, but rarely is anyone there. We saw some construction workers going in and I can only guess they didn't want to wait in line. Popeye's gets a lot of love from national hounds, so I tried it twice and did not like it, and it does seem to have been better in the past. The red beans and rice also get love but I find them terrible, liquid smoke flavored, no sausage, and dried out rice.

                      1. re: James Cristinian

                        I don't believe I've ever had the fried oysters at BBQ Inn. I don't order them often anywhere since I like oysters on the half shell and most places around here, in my experience, overcook them horribly, turning them into crunchy little nuggets that are as far from what the texture of an oyster should be as possible. I have had the cat and will take a pass: there are (or at least were at that time) places to get it better. The CFS is okay for what it is, it's the gravy that's unacceptable, lacking in flavor that can't be corrected by dousing with table salt and black pepper that was ground in a factory in Hoboken 4 years ago, or, for that matter, black pepper ground at the table.

                        1. re: brucesw

                          It seems as though you're critical of the fried oysters at BBQ Inn but haven't had them. The ladies do a great job of lightly frying them, and they come out plump as they should be. A bonus is you can order them by the piece just like the shrimp. Try a couple next time, they don't disappoint I'm also a big fan of half shell oysters, or any oysters for that matter. An overcooked oyster story. Ralph and Kacco's from Louisiana made a brief foray into our market back in the 80's I believe. A friend and I ordered fried oysters and they came out way overcooked. We sent them back and they were worse. My buddy did a little demonstration for the server, bouncing a few several inches off the table. We should have called the cops for oyster abuse. So I do know your pain, but give BBQ Inn another chance if you will, or not.

                          1. re: James Cristinian

                            Not critical of something I've never had, just very leery. Sounds like they do them right; I appreciate the information and will keep it in mind next time time I go.

                            1. re: brucesw

                              I always do.

                              Whether I'm having chicken fried steak or fried chicken, there's always a couple of fried shrimp AND fried oysters added to the order.

                              (Thanks again for the headsup, James!)

                            2. re: James Cristinian

                              Woooorst ever fried oysters I ever sampled were at Carmelo's. Awful black rubber balls inside of a hard as rock overly breaded round shell of something reminicient of Jack in the Box jalapeno poppers. Sysco all the way and deep fried for 30 minutes or so. I have some great memories of that place, but haven't been able to return in the past couple of years since being served this $25 plate of travesty.

                      2. re: Lambowner

                        Old reply Lambsy, but the Stafford Church's is the best I've found. I worked in Stafford for four years, and hit Church's too many times. They have a meeting room there for district or regional staff, and if you pull up and see a dozen or so identical cars, you're set for perfect chicken. Back in the day the Ford Taurus was the company car. If you're real lucky the folks meeting will take a break and you can listen into some inside chicken talk such as, "I've got a truckload of thighs, anyone want 'em?" Reply. "I'll take that truck of thighs!" Really fascinating stuff that you only get at the Stafford location, plus the best chicken Church's has to offer.

                      3. re: brucesw

                        More on Brookshire Bros. - I trekked out to Prause Meat Market in La Grange this week. The meat and sausage were both very disappointing and I left still quite hungry. Passing through Columbus I spotted the BB on 71, about 5 blocks north of I-10 and gave the fried chicken another try. I got just about the last of a batch; they said there would be fresh coming out in a few minutes but I didn't want to wait. This was a much more satisfactory sample. No where near as thick or hard a coating, wonderfully juicy considering it had been under a heat lamp for some time. I only got dark meat pieces. The left over piece I had from the fridge still had soaked up too much grease in the batter but otherwise I was very pleased with the meal.

                        I happened upon another Brookshire Brothers, a very new looking one, on the western edge of Eagle Lake on 90-A, also.

                        1. re: brucesw

                          Having spent more than my fair share of time in East Texas, I just want to point out for the uninitiated that there are Brookshire's and then there are Brookshire Bros. dotting the landscape in East Texas. The two are completely unrelated save for sharing a name, and have been since the 1930's.

            2. I do buy the boneless fried chicken strips and like them very much. I know I've tried the fried chicken once long ago and liked it, I'll have to try them again. Thanks

              1. I love them, especially the wings. I pick up a half of a dozen at the Wilcrest/Westheimer store pretty regularly on Sunday mornings.


                Be right back.

                1. Specifically the Randall's at Shepherd and Westheimer location right? Thats is the one that I thought was supposed to have the best FC.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jscarbor

                    That location was mentioned in one of the Press articles as I recall; not too surprising since most of their writers (and those of the Chron) seem to live in either the Montrose or Heights.

                    I've never been to that location. The Signature Cafe is a Safeway division/department and is in every store and I assume they all use the same recipe.

                    I've been to the Bellaire store, which is where the off taste of the oil was worst, the one on W. Bellfort @ Kirkwood, which had very poor turnover and the chicken had been under heat lamps too long, and mostly the Meyer Park store on S. Post Oak, where I've been maybe a half dozen times.

                    Again, not the best fc in town but it's a matter of convenience for me rather than driving all the way over to Scott St.

                  2. I was at a Randall's recently in the morning hours and saw a pile of freshly fried chicken so I took home three pieces. I had one immediately, oven baked one in the next days in an attempt to crisp it up, and threw the third away after those efforts. The crust fell off upon touch, that is to say, most of it in the bag on the way home. It was never crunchy but rather floury, tough and chewy. One of those moments I felt like stretching the limits of good judgment and it was completely wasted calories. Now I'm steamed.