By Brian Mark Griffin
I have only had one bad experience with fried chicken. My parents were out one evening when I was in high school, and I had some friends over. Everybody got hungry, and I found some frozen chicken tenders. I thawed them in the microwave, because as everyone knows, all great recipes begin and occasionally end in the microwave. I had a metal pot of vegetable oil that I had heated up on the stove, and once the chicken was thawed, wet, and white, I dumped the entire contents of the plate into the oil. The microwave juices (where the flavor is at) boiled over in the oil, spilled over the sides of the pot, ignited on the burner, and shot a funnel of fire to the ceiling. The one bit of pride I have taken from the story is that I reacted quickly (7 or 8 seconds) in the frenzy of panicking teenagers. I grabbed the pot and ran out the front door. I looked around for a moment holding what must have looked like a rocket engine before I threw the contents of the pot into the street. It was a beautiful rainbow of fire in the dead of night.
I returned inside to find my friends looking at a black ceiling and a mostly destroyed plant that my mother kept above the stove. At this moment, my mother called me to tell me that she and my father were on the way home from the mall, which gave me about 15 minutes if my mom was driving, and about 9 if my dad was. We had to act fast. As a team, I believed that we could do it. For some reason (I put a hole in the wall a few weeks earlier by throwing a book in a fit of learning) we had a bucket of white paint in the garage. Two of us scrubbed and painted. Two others did what they could for the plant, while Bryce, being ever helpful, went outside and barbecued the rest of the chicken. It worked. We did it. When we finished, you couldn’t tell that anything had happened at all. But I told my parents what happened pretty much right away. If you ask them, they will tell you all about my crippling honesty.
I learned something important that evening. Deep frying delicious chicken was probably better left to the professionals. And nobody that I have found can do it better in the Tri-Cities than The Chicken Shack.
This one was awesome. It was a smorgasbord of entrees and sauces from my dreams. The first thing that was brought to our table was about a gallon of their sauces, which are all made in house. There were myriad options covering a wide range of spice levels and cultural influences. The favorites were the honey habanero, the Cajun and the hot teriyaki, though their standard buffalo sauces were fantastic as well. They prepared our chicken dry to give us a chance to check out all of the flavors of this ziggurat of sauces, and I recommend giving this a go yourself, because apart from the perfectly cooked wings and fingers, the real story is in the flavors of the sauces. I am normally more of a bone-in kind of guy, but I found myself drawn to the fingers. None of the chicken is ever frozen, and the fingers were perfectly breaded and tender. They were served with some of the best fries, garlic fries and tater tots that I have had in town to give you something else to dip into the endless choices of sauces. I am a huge fan of thin cut fries. It’s easier to fit six or seven in your mouth at a time, but also easier to pace yourself if you so choose. But have you ever seen someone eat one thin cut French fry at a time?
Speaking of fries, we also had a basket of the buffalo chicken fries. There is nothing groundbreaking about a giant basket of fries with cheese and buffalo sauce, but everything fit together so perfectly that this struck me as a must try for a group, or maybe just some someone who has an… ambitious… capacity…
Tenders crispy or grilled, your choice!
To throw in a curveball, we went for some beef and checked out the hamburger. They are 100% angus beef, and are exactly what you would hope for. Nothing more and nothing less. Just a burger, a bun, some lettuce, tomato, onion and cheese. Burgers are one of those things that are better left alone. There are those who have come before us who have forged the way in the burger art, and I am certain that there has been no stone left unturned. I have had burgers with pineapples on them. I have even had a burger with kimchi. Pickled cabbage? What are we trying to prove? Is it possible that we have gone too far, only to discover that what we needed all along was that from which we have strayed in an audacious attempt to improve? Who are we to question the masters who have come before? Give me a basket. Give me a burger, or some fried birds, and let’s be done with it. We have reached the pinnacle. There is nothing here upon which to build.
I am beginning to think that plates are ostentatious and ghastly. Something about eating food out of paper lined baskets has always appealed to me. And for the life of me, I can not turn down fried chicken. I don’t think I have ever actually been eating fried chicken and thought “you know what? I don’t think that I can eat any more of this. I have had plenty, so I am going to go do something else now.” The only reason that I stop eating fried chicken is because of self esteem. I am concerned that someone might notice just how much fried chicken I am eating, and tell their friends. Then their friends tell their friends, and suddenly I have to just stay in my house by myself and eat chicken in my the crawl space.
Actually, that doesn’t sound too bad.
Chicken Shack VIBE Facts- Chicken & Beef are all fresh, no frozen meats at the shack. They have over 30+ sauces all made in house & they stay good for at least a month once you bring home. Many gluten free options. They also own Wine Notes Wine Bar (attached down the hall) which carries an extremely good wine selection by the glass & bottle. Bottle purchases are always 25% OFF to buy and take home. They carry bottles, cans & great tap craft brews. They both have a VIP text club text: SHACK to 78816 for Chicken Shack & WINESHACK to rec both brand’s texts. Summer months they’ve a patio that honestly is one of the best live music venues in town.
Oh, by the way, I’m a realtor, and I know that real estate doesn’t have to be as expensive as it is. Give me a call at 509-551-4141, or check out my website at homeandharbor.net. Let’s get some lunch.