The Clock Out Writers’ Roundtable: Chicken Sandwiches

Surprise! The internet is arguing again. Thankfully, this one’s more fun than what usually pops off. What we’ve got ourselves is a good old-fashioned chicken war. That’s right. A battle of breading. A skirmish of seasonings. While we here at The Clock Out will happily indulge in swearing allegiances in just about every other debate possible, we’ve decided to take the high road with this one. Instead of slandering our poultry opponents, a few of us stated our case about our favorite chicken joints.

Cush (@207Cush): The best chicken sandwich I have ever had was from a place called “Stock and Barrel” in Nashville. It made me feel like I’d never tasted fried chicken, or food in general, prior to that meal. If I could go back and repeat one thing from that trip, it would be that meal, probably.
P.S. The Popeyes new sandwich is good, but not life changing.

If Cush had said his favorite chicken place was in Washington or Vermont, I would’ve been a little skeptical. But Nashville has their own style of chicken. I’m quite unsurprised Cush found his chicken spot during his trip to the hot chicken Mecca.

Petebyrnes (@iambigpete): Fried chicken is my favorite food, so I should be an authority on this subject. I don’t want to talk about the sandwich wars that are going on right now, I just like to keep it simple. The answer is: Raisin’ MotherFuckin’ Canes. When I lived in Orange County I would get this twice a week. Caniac Combo, sub the slaw for another piece of toast, extra sauce. The sauce is the best condiment of any fast food chain, period. That’s saying a lot coming from a guy from California that can have In-N-Out whenever he wants. Now that I don’t live there, I make sure whenever I visit SoCal I make a trip to Canes. Like a pilgrimage to my fried chicken mecca. Six burn-your-mouth-hot strips and a large Arnold Palmer make it worth the typical 20-30 minute long drive-thru line. Do they have spicy? No, they don’t need it. They’ve perfected the tendy. That’s all I need. I love this place so much I bought a hat from them.

I’m going to save Pete’s claim that enjoying In-N-Out validates his chicken opinion for another column. Cane’s is a solid choice. They’ve got sauce, they’ve got special lemonade, they’ve got tender combos with about 5k calories worth of food. It’s about as chicken joint as any fast food place is going to get. I’m in. Snag me a box combo.

Okaymissmackay (@_mmmk8): I cannot imagine anywhere else outdoing what I consider to be the greatest chicken sandwich in the world, which, just so happens to come from Chick-Fil-A. The buttery, toasted bun; the crisp, breaded chicken breast, cooked in peanut oil, and the dill pickles? Top it off with your favorite sauce and ~*mwah*~, chef’s kiss. Yes, Chick-Fil-A is the GOAT sandwich. I said it. Now, do their policies somewhat teeter on the edge of separation of church and state? Yes. Do they make a great freaking sandwich? Also, yes. Do I feel guilty when eating said sandwich? A bit, but good LAWT is it delicious. With that said, while I do believe that Chick-Fil-A is hands down the best out there, I would be willing to give Popeyes a test run. It’d make for a nice Sunday.

Lot to agree with here. After all, Chick-Fil-A does claim to serve the original chicken sandwich, so it’s only natural they’re going to have some fans. While I don’t know where Miss Mackay was going with the separation of church and state thing, I’m not going to concern myself with it because this is a chicken article. We’re here to talk bird. Plus, I can’t agree more that any Sunday is exponentially bolstered by Popeye’s.

Madoff (@BLMInvestment): The best chicken place on the planet is a little place tucked in the hills of West Virginia called Dirty Bird. The staff are wonderful. I messed up my order once and they corrected it. This wouldn’t seem like a big deal, but it was over the phone. They sell out all the time, close for the summer, and are open from lunch to 4:30(ish). If you’re ever in town, check it out. Their chicken is out of this world.

Now this, this is what I suggested this piece for. Yes, franchises are great. But I want to hear how the fried chicken at the convenience store on the two-lane road tastes. Tell me about the chicken place that’s owned by someone’s 80-year-old grandma who has a lit Marlboro Red on her lips while she’s back in the kitchen.

Brian Bisgard (@BrianBisgard): I almost hate myself for picking this one, because I try to shuck the Red Ass Aggie stereotype whenever I can, but damnit this place is just too good. My favorite chicken place is Layne’s in College Station. Some people call it Diet Cane’s, because of the obvious name similarities, the very similar menus, somewhat similar breading styles, and the maybe similar sauces offered. I have no idea when Cane’s was founded, but Layne’s has been slinging up the best chicken tenders you’ll ever have since 1994. They’re cheap. They’re quick, and they even made a believer of out of my Texas graduate capital R roommate. Next time you’re in College Station, grab the tender combo with extra sauce instead of coleslaw.

Noam (@noampao): Guys, I need to get something off my chest. I’m usually a very open and honest person, and this secret has been weighing on me for years.

I…don’t really care about fried chicken. Ahhhhhhh, that’s nice to
finally say out loud. I know every reader from below the Mason-Dixon
has already stopped reading and is hammering out an angry comment on
their sticky, sweet tea-stained keyboard, but please, let me explain.

It’s not that fried chicken is bad, it’s just…nothing. No matter how
many spices and herbs and “secret recipes” go into the batter, it all
kind of tastes the same. Why do you think all these chicken places
have fire sauces? Because that’s the only way to differentiate their
chicken from other chicken.

Anyway, when it comes to which restaurant is my favorite, I think it’s
clear that I don’t really care. I mainly just came here to argue. I’ve
never had Popeyes, or Raising Cane’s, or Zaxby’s, or Bojanagles, or
Church’s, or any of the other trash fast food joints that get brought
up when people start talking about fried chicken. I’ve had Chick-fil-A
twice, and it was, as expected, fine. The sauces were bomb, and I can
only imagine how good the chicken sandwich would have been if it was a
burger instead.

If I have to pick, I’m going with Roscoe’s Chicken And Waffles. The
fried chicken is as good as all fried chicken, but more importantly, I
can cover it in with syrup and eat it with waffles, the way chicken
was meant to be consumed.

I saved the hottest take for last. As much as I want to, I can’t really disagree with Noam here. His thoughts on the spectrum of chicken flavor are basically identical to my opinion on pizza. You’ve got a tiny minority of trash, a tiny minority of excellence, and the vast, middle-of-the-Bell-Curve majority are so similar you could probably swap the chicken and no one would notice. That’s another reason why I suggested this piece. I wanted us all to plead our cases on why one spot that serves chicken, sauce, and sweet tea is leaps and bounds better than that other spot that serves chicken, sauce, and sweet tea. Don’t bash Noam. Instead, buy him a #1 combo from your favorite joint next time he’s in your city.

I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get @PJHart and @delph_13 in on this. As a fellow Austinite, I would’ve loved to see Icehouse’s thoughts on some of our local poultry purveyors. And Lord only knows what sort of secret backwoods chicken gem Delph eats at. Nevertheless, I think we covered a good variety of tender and sandwich options. If you’ve got a favorite spot you want to show some love, sing their praises in the comments.


  1. Roost Fried Chicken in Bozeman, MT. We stop there every time we’re passing through on our way to the in-laws and ate there regularly in college. Their chicken and waffles are pretty much the best thing ever, pecan butter and a slightly spicy maple syrup make it killer. The owners moved up from Alabama for the fishing.


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