So, whiskey chicken sandwich from Plenty (1710 E Passyunk Ave. 267.909.8033). You’re quite the dish!
Yeah? Oh, well thanks so much. I get it. That’s the name of this new column, huh? The one where you find a dish totally knee-buckling delicious and then interview it to ask how it came to be?
This is that, yes. Do tell us. How did you get to become so amazingly mouthwatering?
Well, a couple things. First, Tim McGinnis, chef at Plenty, buys the chicken he uses to make me from a company called Free Bird. Their tagline: “Marching to the beat of a different drumstick.” Kinda cheesy, I know, but they are incredible birds. They’re located just outside Fredericksburg, Pa., near Lancaster, and the birds there are antibiotic-free, fed an all-veg, all-natural diet (no animal by-products) and are “free to roam.” Happy guys.
That sounds pretty great.
Yeah, that’s what I just said. Anyway, at Plenty those birds are brined whole in a simple sugar, salt and water solution for 24 hours. After that, they’re smoked over hickory until they’ve reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. When they come out, their skin is crisp, and the color of mahogany—the thing basically looks like a Peking duck. The chicken cools, the meat is pulled off the bone and finely chopped—crunchy skin and all.
Where’s the whiskey come in?
McGinnis puts a bunch of bourbon and brown sugar in a pot, and cooks it down to a kinda sorta gastrique. Once it’s right, he folds that into the meat with some celery seed and thin slices of celery.
Fantastic. You really are quite the dish.
I know, right? A guy had me the other day and told McGinnis I was the best thing he’s put in his mouth all year. I’m an $8 sandwich, so I think it’s important that I be a pretty remarkable mouth party—an intense mix of smoke and sweet and bourbon. Come by. Eat me.
Dinner with Luke Palladino