When we get together with my wife’s family, it always seems like there’s fried chicken around. It doesn’t really matter if it’s lunch or dinner, or who else we are with, somehow there is always fried chicken… and I’m certainly not complaining.
Growing up in the Chicagoland area I’ve had my fair share of decent fried chicken. Of course there are always the basic chain chicken restaurants like KFC, Brown’s Chicken and Popeye’s, of which Popeye’s is definitely the best, but we’ve also got incredible, more traditional, places like Harold’s Chicken and The Chicken Shack (Evanston). And not to mention some of the more “fancy” chicken spots that have cropped up like Honey Butter Fried Chicken and Parson’s Chicken and Fish.
But regardless of the name on the sign, it’s always about the chicken. And the chicken we had this weekend was definitely the best fried chicken I’ve ever had in the Chicago area. I might even go as far as to say the best fried chicken I’ve ever had, period.
Broasted Fried Chicken
Ok, so I’m not sure if it’s considered cheating by comparing the chicken we had this weekend to more traditional fried chicken, because the restaurant we got the chicken from this time broasts their chicken instead of frying it the traditional way.
Broasted chicken is technically fried, but it’s fried in a pressure cooker contraption that helps to better seal in the juices. As opposed to traditional fried chicken which is just dropped into a vat of oil and… well… fried.
The difference is clear as day though once you look at the broasted chicken vs. the fried chicken. The broasted chicken skin just seems lighter and flakier, while almost bubbling off of the meat underneath. It’s deliciously crunchy and leaves the chicken extremely tender and moist.
My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
With traditional fried chicken, the skin tends to tighten up and form itself around the chicken, which is also delicious, it’s just an obvious difference when you look at the two next to each other. I wish I was able to take a picture of the broasted chicken next to a piece of fried chicken so you could see, but fortunately, on this day, all we had was the delicious, delicious broasted chicken.
The Whistle Stop Cafe – Diamond, IL
I don’t believe I’ve ever had broasted chicken before, so there are probably other places that prepare their fried chicken this way, so you may not have to venture all the way out to Diamond, IL, but we were down in Morris, IL visiting a friend of my father in-law for the day, and his friend could not stop raving about how good this chicken was.
He ordered up a tray of broasted chicken from The Whistle Stop Cafe and I’ve never tasted anything like it. I mean, he claimed it was the best chicken he’s ever had, but I used to live right near The Chicken Shack in Evanston, which is top notch, so I just assumed this wasn’t going to be as good as that…
Boy was I wrong.
As I mentioned before, the broasting process keeps the chicken meat extremely moist and tender, which was outstanding, but where the chicken really shines is in the skin. I’m not sure what they batter it with, or what seasonings they might use before broasting it, but it was absolutely amazing. I went back for thirds, which is something I rarely do, but it was that good.
I even had to take a bunch of it home to eat later.
I’m telling you, it was definitely the best fried chicken I’ve ever had, and I might make the hour and a half drive just to get more some day… but probably not. There’s gotta be some restaurants in the area that also do broasted chicken. I mean, from what I read, broasting is a process that was created in Wisconsin, so I can’t imagine that there aren’t other restaurants in the area that are serving up chicken prepared the same way.
And really, I have nothing more to say on this since the chicken is the only thing we ordered from this restaurant. So if you’re ever down near Diamond, IL and want to have some of the best fried chicken, definitely check out The Whistle Stop Cafe.
I can’t speak for anything else about the restaurant though, because we didn’t actually go there, but as long as you get the chicken, nothing else will matter.