Brooks Reitz Talks About What Makes Leon’s Chicken Special

leonsCharleston doesn’t want for fried chicken. But Brooks Reitz thinks it’s time to start thinking more broadly about the genre: Just as whole hog sauced with vinegar doesn’t represent the totality of barbecue, chicken with craggy, slip-off skin shouldn’t be considered the only fried chicken.

“There are different styles,” says the co-owner of Leon’s Oyster Shop, set to open this weekend.

Fried chicken is one of two menu pillars at Leon’s (as the name suggests, the other is oysters, available chargrilled and raw. Shucking will be supervised by Mike Rogers, who manned the legendary bar at New Orleans’ late Uglesich’s: Stories from the New York Times and USA Today celebrating his past achievements are already framed and hung behind the stand-up oyster station.) Reitz maintains the chicken is locally unique.

“I’d say the style it bears the most resemblance to is Nashville fried chicken, but without the hot,” Reitz says. “It’s brined and breaded. And I think the magic occurs in the time it sits. The skin almost becomes one with the chicken.” Continue reading

Husk’s Fried Chicken Featured on The Chew

friedchickenWhen it first debuted, Husk’s fried chicken was sold only by reservation. Then it was made available to a few lucky eaters who were first to follow social media clues to the restaurant’s bar. Now a nation of eaters is going to get a crack at the celebrated dish – or at least a good view of it.

Chef Sean Brock is preparing the fried chicken on today’s episode of The Chew. The segment was shot at Husk.

Back when it was fried in fried in butter, chicken fat, bacon fat and country ham fat, the chicken was named one of the best fried chickens in the U.S. by Food & Wine. The recipe has since evolved; Brock describes the current version as a mix of  styles including “gas station, honky tonk, Colonel Sanders, Husk five fat, hot chicken, and buffalo wings.”

The Chew airs on ABC at 1 p.m. After its initial broadcast, it will be archived here for online viewing.

Cainhoy Cookin’ Depot Brings Southern Cooking to Wando

chxdonutWhen Nathaniel Chamblin was nine years old, his father opened The Icehouse Café, then a small bar in a suburb of Washington D.C. Within a few years, it was one of the city’s top restaurants, branching into California cuisine long before its competitors and pouring microbrews by 1987.

Chamblin is planning to get off to a similarly modest start with Cainhoy Cookin’ Depot, opening next month in Wando. And while he doesn’t have any immediate plans to overtake the city’s leading restaurants, he says, “I have mad respect for all of the talent we have in town. But I wouldn’t mind going toe-to-toe with some of these chefs in an Iron Chef format, and they know it.”

Now 43, Chamblin has been involved in restaurants since he was a boy. After his family in 1991 sold The Icehouse Café, he gravitated toward restaurant consulting, moving to Charleston in 1997. He helped open Bull & Finch and Zinc Bistro, but didn’t spend much time in the kitchen: Cainhoy Cookin’ Depot is Chamblin’s first full-time chef job in 20 years. Continue reading

Missed Husk’s Fried Chicken on Friday? Too Bad.

huskadAs first reported by Eater Charleston, Husk last Friday night fried up a test batch of chicken. Unfortunately for fans of the dish who weren’t tuned into the right Twitter feed, there’s no telling when the chicken will appear again.

“The fried chicken may make some surprise appearances on the Bar at Husk menu, but it will not be a scripted or weekly occurrence as it is in Nashville,” says Husk’s general manager Dan Latimer. “In Charleston, if we have it again, the production will be limited, not on a specific day, and will most likely be in the same vein as Friday, where we hit social media and see what happens.”

At Husk Nashville, fried chicken is the centerpiece of Tuesday’s $12 plate lunch. The restaurant this month debuted a rotating menu of meat-and-twos, available on weekdays between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. In addition to chicken, Husk Nashville is serving roast beef, meatloaf, catfish and pork chops. Continue reading

O’Kelley Reflects on Frying Thighs for 500 Hungry SFA Attendees

sarahokelley

Southern Foodways Alliance

For a fried chicken supper at this past weekend’s Southern Foodways Alliance’s 16th annual symposium, organizers divvied up the most popular parts of the bird amongst cooks representing three of the region’s most iconic skillet-borne chickens. Sarah O’Kelley of The Glass Onion drew thighs.

“(Director) John T (Edge) said ‘you won the chicken lottery’,” recalls O’Kelley, who spent more than six hours in an Oxford, Miss. restaurant kitchen frying up 500 dark meat segments.

For the meal celebrating the program’s theme of “Women at Work,” O’Kelley was invited to prepare fried chicken in homage to Martha Lou Gasden’s rendition of the dish. Her chicken compatriots in the service tent, where symposium-goers clutching illustrated cardboard buckets thronged the tables, were Andre Prince Jeffries of Prince’s Hot Chicken in Nashville and Kerry Seaton-Stewart of Willie Mae’s Scotch House in New Orleans.

“I definitely felt a little bit of pressure,” O’Kelley says. “We do a great job with chicken, but we make it once a week. They do chicken all day, every day.” Continue reading