Five must-try fried chicken plates in Alabama

Five must-try fried chicken plates in Alabama
Here are six different but delicious ways to enjoy fried chicken in Alabama. (Matt Wake/ Ike Morgan/ Bob Carlton/ Haley Laurence/ Alabama Media Group)

There’s a lot of good fried chicken out there – and especially in Alabama.

Fried chicken is probably only second to barbecue in foods that Alabama restaurants do well. Visit most towns in Alabama and locals will give you recommendations on where to find an awesome piece of fried bird.

There are so many places that deserve a mention for their amazing fried chicken. Little Donkey in Birmingham serves fantastic Mexican food – as well as fried chicken that will make your grandma proud. Mary’s Southern Kitchen in Mobile offers crispy chicken that could end any fight. And the fried chicken on the buffet at Stagecoach Cafe in Stockton is just out of this world.

But for this list, I narrowed it down to the best of the best: The fried chicken I’d want if I could only eat fried chicken from one restaurant the rest of my life. Here are my picks:

Martin’s Restaurant

1796 Carter Hill Road, Montgomery

Martin’s has been a Montgomery institution for generations. The meat-and-three has been in the Capitol City for more than 80 years, and you can find some seriously appetizing country cooking there. You won’t be disappointed with anything you order, from the pineapple-and-cheese casserole to rice and gravy, but we’re here for the fried chicken, and let me tell you: Martin’s has some extraordinary – and unique – fried chicken.

You can order the regular fried chicken, which is juicy and delicious and hits the spot, or you can go for the pulley bones. Yep, we said pulley bones. That’s the part of the chicken between the breasts, and it has some pretty devoted fans. Make sure you get there early because there’s a limited amount each day.

And after all that food, it’s hard to save room for dessert, but we’d recommend grabbing some sweet treats to go. Martin’s has homemade pies with meringue so high it’ll make you gasp.

Martin’s famous fried chicken is on Alabama’s 100 Dishes list from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Jackson’s Fried Chicken

231 Claiborne St., Camden

The fried chicken at Jackson’s in Camden is some of the best you will find in Alabama. (Bob Carlton)

Camden may have a population of only around 2,000, but some big names have passed through town – all because of Jackson’s Fried Chicken. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg ate at the chicken joint in 2017 during his famous tour across the country, and a travel writer from the Sunday Times in London stopped by to write about the food. The distance they traveled was well worth it because Jackson’s serves some seriously crispy and satisfying fried chicken.

While you’re there, make sure to also check out the COB, aka a chicken sandwich. It’s served on a hoagie bun with a spicy sauce, and it’s even more stellar when you add jalapenos to the mix. It’s a crowd pleaser in Wilcox County and beyond.

Eugene’s Hot Chicken

2268 9th Ave. N., Birmingham and 3232 Galleria Circle, Suite 101, Hoover 

In 2015, the Eugene’s Hot Chicken food truck hit the streets of the Magic City. Owned by Zebbie Carney, the truck was a hit from the start, and usually had a long line of people waiting to try his version of Nashville chicken. The venture was so successful that now there are also two brick-and-mortar locations of Eugene’s – one in the Uptown entertainment district of Birmingham and another in Hoover – as well as the food truck.

One bite at Eugene’s shows you how it’s gotten so popular so quickly. The chicken is just simply delicious, and you can choose the level of heat you want, if any. If you want to go all in, try the hottest level you can get, “Stupid Hot,” which is described on the menu as “for the bold and the daring.” Just don’t blame us – it’s really dang hot. We warned you.

Even if you don’t want the fire and just go Southern style with zero heat, you won’t regret it. This is some pretty legit fried chicken, y’all.

Eugene’s Hot Chicken has the recipe for success from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The Chicken Shack in Luverne

665 Forest Ave., Luverne

If you’ve driven through small town Alabama to get to Florida beaches, chances are you’ve driven through Luverne. And while it may just look like another sweet small town to you, it’s home to something special: The Chicken Shack.

The Chicken Shack serves up country cooking and sweet treats, but the star of the show is (of course) the fried chicken. It’s called The Chicken Shack for a reason, after all. The chicken is flavorful, crispy and some of the best fried poultry you will ever eat. There are plenty of places in the state that make great fried chicken, as I’ve mentioned, but it takes a special talent to make fried chicken that is this darn good.

Don’t believe me? Many others agree. The Chicken Shack has won multiple statewide awards, including AL.com’s Alabama’s Best Fried Chicken competition in 2018 and Simply Southern’s Bama’s Best Fried Chicken the same year. And if you haven’t already, you should make stopping at The Chicken Shack one of your beach traditions.

Betty Mae’s Restaurant

2007 N. Memorial Pkwy #L, Huntsville

Looking for some fried chicken that will make you want to curl up for a long nap afterward? Well then, Betty Mae’s is the place for you.

The Rocket City soul food joint serves up some of the finest comfort food you’ll find in heaping portions. The chicken and dressing is divine. The collards are perfectly seasoned. The mac and cheese is so tasty it’ll make you want to throw out your own prized recipe and start fresh.

But let’s talk fried chicken. Because Betty Mae’s has some of the best around, and that’s saying something. The chicken is juicy and flavorful – a combination that many places miss out on – and will make you smile the moment you bite into it, along with everything else on your plate. Trust me on this one.

Just make sure you make time for that nap.

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