A Book Dedicated To The Best Fried Chicken In America

This post originally appeared on Ocean Drive.

Lee Brian Schrager, best known as the founder of the Food Network New York City and South Beach Wine & Food Festivals, would argue that any time is a good time for fried chicken. But there are few better places in Miami than Yardbird, the ardently Southern eatery off Lincoln Road. We sat down for a proper meal with Schrager to chat about his new book, Fried & True (available May 20), which chronicles more than 50 of America’s best fried chicken recipes—both back-road and big-city iterations—and explores the phenomenon of what Schrager calls America’s “number-one guilty pleasure.”

Why write a book about fried chicken?
I love it. It’s something that everyone relates to. When I told people about the book, some said, “We don’t eat fried chicken,” but no one said, “We don’t like it.” And there are so many great recipes.

I understand that as a kid, your love for fried chicken got you into some trouble.
Howard Johnson’s used to have an all-you-can-eat fried chicken night. I would go with a group of five guys—we were like 13 years old—and could really pack away the food. I think they probably lost money on us, so it’s true, we were asked not to return to the Howard Johnson’s in Massapequa, New York.

What’s your take on the fried chicken here at Yardbird?
It’s not the first time I’ve seen fried chicken with a waffle or with watermelon, but all together, it’s great. It’s really crispy on the outside, and when you bite into it, it’s moist. I love the contrast. The green tomato chowchow on the waffles is fun, too.

Read the full interview with Lee Brian Schrager at Ocean Drive.