One of our favorite things in the world is fried chicken. We've enjoyed it in New Orleans, Charleston, Savannah, Chicago and all places in between. About a year ago though, we tried some that has changed the way we will think about chicken for the rest of our lives; It's broasted chicken, and if you've never had it before, find it.
Whatever you have to do to get some, do it - it is really that good. It's juicy and crispy and really one of the best things we've EVER eaten. Broasted chicken is similar to fried chicken, but is made in a pressure fryer instead of a traditional deep fryer, which cooks the chicken faster and prevents it from drying out.
I've always been a white meat kinda guy but the problem is, as most people know, it tends to get dry in a hurry. With this method, the breast stays moist and juicy. And as much as I love white meat, the dark meat is even better - I've been converted. I've never had a drumstick that is as flavorful and fall-off-the-bone tender as the one we had that glorious day about a year ago.
You may think chicken of this caliber would come from the south, or a big city full of Michelin-starred restaurants, but the best chicken we've ever come across is from Wisconsin.
Our first broasted chicken experience was at a party my father threw to celebrate our marriage. My dad's side of the family is from Two Creeks, Wisconsin, about an hour and a half north of Milwaukee, and we ate at a local supper club called Machut's, which is known for their chicken and Friday fish fries.
The fried perch at Machut's is amazing, but the show stopper is the chicken. Served family style with fries, sauerkraut, potato salad, coleslaw and rye bread, they keep it coming until you have to beg them to stop. It's one of those meals where, no matter how full you get, you just want to keep eating. Crispy and moist with just enough seasoning to compliment, but not overpower the chicken - I can truly say I ate about a chicken and a half before I knew what happened -- just dirty napkins and chicken bones as far as the eye could see. We sat afterwards in a chicken haze, plotting the next time we would have it again.
The next time came just a few days ago when my wife and I headed up to Wisconsin to visit the family. We heard from a cousin about another broasted chicken place that was proported to have "the best chicken in the state." With only a couple days to see the family, we organized a dinner with as many people as possible - a whopping 17 - and headed to Suster's Arcade (pronounced Shooster's).
Don't let the arcade in the name fool you, it comes from the fact that they used to have three bowling lanes in the back which have since been replaced with a banquet room. From what we've been told, the lanes were not automatic and required you to set your own pins (awesome).
We all hung in the bar area and had drinks while a bartender walked around and took each family's order separately. When each order was ready, they wheeled it out on a little metal cart, called your name and brought you back into the dinning room to eat.
For less than $10 you got four pieces of beautiful chicken, your choice of potatoes, coleslaw, a roll, a side of cranberry sauce and a boat full of gravy. I can't begin to describe how amazing this chicken was; the breading was light and crispy, the meat was moist and juicy and each bite seemed better than the last. The only problem was because we were visiting with family, we had to make sure we were being social and not just devouring our food.
The end of the meal came too quickly, and we joked that as soon as we had finished we wanted to order another. Somehow we refrained, but we promised each other this would not be the last time we ate this simple, yet wonderful take on fried chicken.
If it seems like we have over exaggerated how good this stuff is, we have not. This chicken will make believers of anyone lucky enough to try it. But beware, there are many places out there that use the word "broasted" and do not use a pressure fryer. Please, make sure the next time you go out for chicken, make it broasted and make sure its the real deal - you will be so happy you did.
If you know of any other broasted chicken places around, please, please let us know and we will be sure to visit soon - but we can't promise to save any for you.