Saturday, January 28, 2017

Off the Map: The Fried Chicken Version of Cheers

Fried Chicken with Sweet Spicy Love Sauce -- Uncle Lou's Southern Kitchen, Memphis, TN
Uncle Lou's Southern Kitchen

If day one in Memphis was the reign of pulled pork, day two is the reign of fried chicken. The morning begins with a drive over the Mississippi to Arkansas, merely to say we've been there, including a stop at the fast food chain, Krystal's (which Vodka insists on referring to as Krystal Milkquake, in reference to its most famous product). 
Nothing like Coffee and a Milkquake at 8:00 AM
Without thinking much about it, she places an order for a chicken biscuit sandwich... meaning that she just added yet another fried chicken dish to her day's consumption.
Just Trying to Match the Pulled Pork Quota from Yesterday
Thankfully, we have a four hour respite in Graceland to allow the chicken and milkquakes to settle before we head to Uncle Lou's Southern Kitchen, home of fried chicken with sweet spicy love sauce, as recommended by Guy Fieri on the WITH MY HANDS episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate
Obviously, Guy Made an Impression on the Carpeting
Located in a nondescript strip mall on the side of an even more nondescript road, it's hard to tell what we're getting ourselves into from the outside. 
Hey, Pete and Sam -- Now THIS Is Some Clear Signage
But as soon as we open the doors, we are greeted by a jolly man wearing a polo shirt embroidered with the words "Uncle Lou." Not only does he say hello warmly, but upon hearing that we have ventured to his establishment all the way from New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, respectively, he proceeds to start hugging us. 
Hey Uncle Lou, We Barely Even Hug One Another
Vodka inquires about ordering some fried chicken, and, in what has become a pattern in Memphis, Uncle Lou is insistent that ordering just one piece each will not be enough. 
If You Saw the Size of Our Milkquakes, You Would Agree That It Is, In Fact, Enough
We halfheartedly try to explain how much more we have to eat today, and Uncle Lou eventually relents, taking our order himself for two breasts and a thigh. It appears all chicken comes with the choice of two sauces (homestyle or sweet spicy love) and the sweet spicy love can be mild or hot. Vodka and Diet Coke, the spice wimps, choose mild, while Whiskey Sour goes for hot.
And Just to Prove Who the Adventurous One Is, It's Tagged with a Pepper
We settle in at one of the side tables and glance around the premises, where it becomes clear that not only is everyone else here a local, but they also all seem to have long-standing relationships with Uncle Lou himself. Our new friend can now be found in the corner holding a toddler, while another patron exits and tells us, unprovoked, "This is the best chicken you'll ever have." It's essentially like dining at the fried chicken version of Cheers.
Where Everybody Knows Your Name and Writes a Review on a Paper Towel
Our chicken is escorted to our table moments later, and it looks unlike any fried chicken we've seen before. Namely, it looks more like grilled barbeque chicken with a slightly more textured skin. 
Interesting Meat You Have Here, Uncle Lou
Whiskey Sour ties a napkin around her neck to serve as a bib for what is sure to be a messy exercise, and we dive in.
In Her Defense, We Saddled Her with the Messy Plate
And the chicken, well, it is truly delicious. 
Way to Not Lie, Random Patrons Reviewing It for Us
The meat itself is juicy, the skin has a gentle crisp, and the sauce completely lives up to its "sweet spicy love" name. On the tongue, the creation has the distinct taste of slightly smoky sweet barbeque sauce, but the longer is rests on the palate, the more the heat reveals itself, until our lips have a very mild burn going on.
Good to the Last Drop
In the end, we decide that as good as this chicken is, it doesn't quite hit the 5 star mark, mostly because we prefer a bigger crunch, and that's just not what Uncle Lou's is meant to do. And so, it is being given a 4 star rating, though a very high 4 star rating. That's one star for the sweet, one star for the spicy, and two stars for the love.

Uncle Lou's Southern Kitchen's Fried Chicken with Sweet Spicy Love Sauce: 4 stars

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