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Best Fried Chicken

Well I just finished reading the Washingtonian Magazine Best of Issue. I am taking some exception to the Best Fried Chicken in DC and surrounding areas. Popeye's was number one. KFC, GBD, Central Michel Richard were also mentioned. I just can't believe these are the only good best places for fried chicken. If so I am going to need to go downtown and make myself some money. Do you have the names of any other places where they make great fried chicken in DC and surrounding area?

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  1. My favorite right now is probably at Rays to the Third. Super golden and crispy. They have a great system there, even though it's not as good as the late lamented smoked then fried chicken at Rays East of the River.

    Central is very, very good in a very different way - so rich that you need two to share.

    GBD has a weird set up. You can only get their chicken breast at dinner. It's a half breast for $5.50, so it's expensive for what you get, but it's my ideal of a picnic basket fried chicken.

    There are some other good ones, but I don't say they are better than Popeye's.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      Does Flavors still have a chicken in this race? That place used to be one of the first mentioned when the subject of fried chicken came up. Maybe nobody goes there any more because it's too crowded? ;)

      Hard to believe that Popeye's is at the top (or near, depending on whose list) of the list. Surely there's enough variation between individual shops and times of day that it can't always be that good all over town. I stopped going to the Popeye's in Willston because the chicken always tasted like fish. Any consistently good NoVA Popeye's that I should try when I feel like a cholesterol boost?

      1. re: MikeR

        My local Popeye's is Willston, and I've never noticed the fish problem. Maybe you're a super taster!

        Flavors fried chicken is very good as is Horace and Dickie's at 12th and H, NE. But I don't think people need to go out of their way as I can't promise they're better than Popeye's.

        1. re: Steve

          Well, maybe it's better now. I gave up on it more than 5 years ago. Maybe I should try it again.

        2. re: MikeR

          The trick is finding a Popeye's that does a high volume.

          1. re: MikeR

            I haven't been in a year, maybe, but Flavors was empty when I was there last. Fried chicken still good. It looked like they were doing a decent take out business, though I don't think fried chicken does well when it's been packed.

            1. re: chowser

              I'm gonna fry up some chicken on the back deck this weekend. Maybe some shrimp. Black beans, coleslaw and corn fritters, too. You all have talked me into it.

              1. re: flavrmeistr

                That sounds like the best bet of all. Hope the heat stays away!

                1. re: chowser

                  You'll have to get past the neighbors, which won't be easy.

                  Here are my tips for a successful fry orgy:

                  I like to do my frying outside. All you need is a good-sized wok with a ring and a decent burner. Canola oil works fine. Skin-on legs and thighs. Put 'em in a big bowl and pour in enough half and half to coat them all thoroughly. Chill in the icebox for an hour or so. Dredge them in seasoned flour (which you can buy at the store) and lay them out on a cookie sheet with wax paper in between each layer. Dredge them again when you see the half and half has soaked through the first layer of flour. Put them back in the icebox to chill. Same treatment works good for shrimp. I like big shrimp, big as I can get.

                  For corn fritters, Bisquick works just fine. Mix it a little thicker than you would for pancakes, but not too thick. Use milk and an egg. Cut the kernels off 3-4 ears of cooked sweet corn (uncooked makes a mess) and mix it in. Get your wok oil nice and hot (it takes longer than you think) about 325-350. Drop the batter in with a teaspoon (you don't want your fritters too big). Not hot enough, your food soaks up the oil and gets nasty, too hot and you have burnt food and a fire hazard. I use big steel bowls with a few paper towels between batches. Don't cover the bowl so everything stays crispy.

                  Shrimps fry pretty quick, no more than 3-4 minutes. Chicken thighs and legs take longer about 12-15 minutes. Don't put in more than 6 pieces at a time with a standard-size wok. Get one of those long-handled fry scooper-strainers for loading-removing food so you don't burn yourself.

                  Above all, watch what you're doing. Keep children and drunks/idiots away from the fryer and stay fit for duty (don't get to f**cked up to fry). Roulez bon temps et bon apetit! Tell Popeye's to go to hell.

                2. re: flavrmeistr

                  Great. What time shall we be over?

            1. It's hard to beat Central.

              Busboys & Poets is good as well, but not as good as Central.

              1. Dempsey's Grill in Middletown, MD. Fabulous.

                1 Reply
                1. I recently wrote about the fried chicken at Pearl Dive (I think also included in the Washingtonian article): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/905040

                  It's AMAZING!!!

                  You also might want to check out these threads: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/855863
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/890609