My son John Paul suffers from multiple food allergies. Luckily, it’s nothing that affects his ability to breathe. Still, there is a myriad of foods that affect his system, causing him to break out in hives and get itchy.
Beef is probably his strongest allergy. His body just rejects it. Eggs come next. Dairy and soy are also problematic unless they’re baked into something.
Over the years, it has made him a cautious eater.
We try to encourage but not force. Still, it bums me out he’ll never know the joy of a good Southern meatloaf or hamburger or real ice cream.
We went to the Farmers’ Market recently with the idea of creating a Southern comfort food extravaganza. He’s already into delicious food and Southern classics such as biscuits, bacon and green beans. I was hoping to add a few more down-home dishes to his menu.
He was skeptical, so I promised some chicken tenders and French fries as a backup.
We stocked up heavy with green tomatoes and okra plus some zucchini and eggplant.
I ran by the store the next day to get the other necessities, a nice Southern fried breading, oil, etc.
My failed attempt at homemade fried chicken
We don’t eat like this often – it turns out that Southern favorites aren’t the most healthy of choices – so I dug the deep fryer out of the back of the cabinet.
It. Didn’t. Work. Plugged it in. Turned it on. Nothing happened.
Therefore, I did the next best thing. I poured the oil into a deep pan and decided to fry everything on the stove.
For a while, things worked to perfection. The fried green tomatoes were perfect. Crispy and flavorful.
I did the fries in the air fryer – I know, not as good, but it’s efficient and healthier and helps to deliver the meal keeping everything warm.
The zucchini and eggplant turned out just as well as the tomatoes. Finally, it was time to create the fried okra.
The first batch turned out so well, I made a point of congratulating myself on my ingenuity and skill as a maker of the best Southern food – possibly in the world.
It was at that point that the Gods chose to punish me for my hubris.
The final batch of okra was a little bigger than I had been doing, but I wanted to be done so I dropped it all in.
The oil sizzled and frothed and began to swiftly rise over the top of the pot. The hot oil poured out onto the hot stove’s eye as smoked billowed forth. I tried desperately to avoid frying myself while preventing the whole situation from erupting into flames.
I’m not sure how I did it, but I narrowly avoided burning the kitchen to the ground.
JP allowed that he was content with his air-fried French fries as Leslie opened every window in the house to let out the smoke and stench of my failure.
Next time I decide to introduce the boy to the best Southern food, like great fried chicken, we’re going out to eat.
Where are the best places to get fried chicken in Pigeon Forge, TN?
First of all, let’s establish some ground rules. We’re talking about fried chicken, not chicken wings, chicken tenders or chicken livers or even Nashville Hot Chicken.
I think the first three are self-explanatory but my system is ill-equipped to deal with the heat of hot chicken so I’m in no position to recommend one spot over the other.
That eliminates the Chicken Guy by Guy Fieri from the discussion. While Fieri has one of the more popular chicken restaurants in Gatlinburg, his place in Pigeon Forge – Downtown Flavortown – has a bizarre menu. You can get “Wangs” – which makes me irrationally irritated every time I read it.
This rule also knocks out Bennett’s Pit Bar-b-Que wings – which they mercifully spell correctly. They do have chicken tenders, which are OK but not really fried chicken in my book. Also, if you go to a barbecue place, get something barbecued. That’s the way God wants it.
When it comes to the cuisine of the Smoky Mountains, I think barbecue is probably most people’s first association. But the Smokies are a great place to find crispy fried chicken done just right.
With that in mind, here are some of the best places to get fried chicken in Pigeon Forge for when you’re hankering for yard bird fried to perfection.
10. The Local Goat (Pigeon Forge)
The Local Goat is a local favorite, probably the best restaurant on the list.
But while they deep fry deviled eggs and green tomatoes, most of the chicken dishes are grilled. They do offer chicken tenders, but honestly, you don’t go to the Local Goat for chicken tenders.
However, they do also offer a Southern Chicken & Waffles meal which features a crispy chicken breast.
Additionally, the Local Goat offers juicy burgers. The buns and rolls are baked fresh daily.
9. Frizzle Chicken Farmhouse Cafe (Pigeon Forge)
Barely squawking its way onto our list is the Frizzle Chicken Farmhouse Cafe and its animatronic chickens.
This is a lunch and breakfast place, but while there’s no true fried chicken option, the Chicken and Waffles earn this spot.
I am docking points, however.
In truth, I find it disturbing to eat chicken with the animatronic Frizzle Chickens looking down from above. I can feel the judgment from Dolly Parthen, Tanya Clucker, Oprah Henfrey and Elvis Preslay.
8. Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen (Pigeon Forge)
I’ve given Paula Deen’s a lot of guff over the years, fairly so, I think.
But fried chicken is a perfect main course for a family-style restaurant like this that specializes in comfort foods. It’s a good spot for the crew to sit down and enjoy some Southern fried chicken, family style.
The homemade biscuits are also delicious.
7. Timberwood Grill (Pigeon Forge)
We’ll keep this short. Specifically, any place that serves “cracklins” knows its way around a fryer.
The Twin Forks Kickin’ Chicken is boneless – points off for boneless – buttermilk marinated chicken breast dredged in secret seasonings.
Points awarded for the use of the word dredged and secret seasonings – fried golden and topped with white gravy. This is good, crispy fried chicken.
6. Old Mill Pottery House Cafe (Pigeon Forge)
The Old Mill Pottery House Cafe is one of the best places to eat in Pigeon Forge. The only downside? Wait times can be lengthy due to its popularity.
If you get a chance to eat there, the Buttermilk Chicken Melt, which has fried chicken breasts topped with mushrooms and melted buttermilk cheese, was absolutely delicious.
5. Mama’s Farmhouse (Pigeon Forge)
Chicken is very popular down on the farm.
At Mama’s, they say it took two years to perfect their award-winning fried chicken dinners. If I’m being honest, two years doesn’t seem like enough but the chicken is quite good.
4. Applewood Farmhouse Grill (Sevierville)
The first four items on the supper menu are chicken items.
This is a good sign.
The first is bone-in fried chicken, golden brown and juicy. It’s perfection. It’s so good that we’re willing to overlook the fact that the restaurant is technically in Sevierville.
It’s a great option whether you’re eating breakfast, lunch or dinner.
3. Mama’s Chicken Kitchen (Gatlinburg)
If you love Mama’s Farmhouse, Mama’s Chicken Kitchen in Gatlinburg offers the same delicious chicken served by the plate or by the bucket.
It’s perfect for a picnic in the Smoky Mountains or for feeding a large group of people.
I’m awarding bonus points for convenience.
2. Old Mill Restaurant (Pigeon Forge)
The Old Mill Restaurant offers two kinds of delicious fried chicken, breasts and legs, as well as other classic American dishes. Try the Combo Platter, coated in their special blend of spices and stone-ground breading.
I don’t know if stone ground breading is inherently better, but I’m going to assume it is.
It’s one of the most popular restaurants in the area, so wait times may be long.
1. Huck Finn’s Catfish (Pigeon Forge)
Admittedly, I don’t like recommending a fried catfish place for chicken, but at Huck Finn’s their whole deal is frying stuff. Gator? Fried. Chicken livers? Crunchy.
Corn nuggets. Pickles. Shrimp. All fried.
They even deep fry the bacon. If you want something fried, you can rely on the folks at Huck Finn’s Catfish to do it.
Where is your favorite fried chicken venue in Pigeon Forge TN? Let us know in the comments!