Within the small retail center of Evanston Plaza, there are several houses of chicken: the locally owned, charcoal-grilled Pollo Tropical; the fourth-largest chicken restaurant chain, Church’s Chicken; and the mash-up king of cooking methods known as Broaster Chicken.
If you go
What: Broaster ChickenWhere: 5335 Dorchester Road, North CharlestonHours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Monday-Friday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. SaturdayFor more: 608-3900
Yes, that’s an awful lot of poultry per capita.
Broasting, as one may or may not assume, combines the cooking concepts of pressure cooking, deep-frying and sorcery.
Just kidding on the last one. But it does involve a little magic, or at least a bit of creativity, as conjured up by L.A.M. Phelan in the 1950s.
An entrepreneur/inventor to the nth degree, Phelan’s reach is vast. He helped conceive and build the first automatic gasoline pump, first automatic toilet and first automatic commercial refrigerator.
So, all that, and he’s still probably best-known for broasting.
Today, the Beloit, Wis.-based Broaster Co. continues Phelan’s legacy, offering food-service equipment, fresh and frozen foods, and fried, er, broasted chicken at a few restaurants, including the takeout location in North Charleston.
In keeping with business practices, every order is sealed and prepared in a Broaster pressure-fryer, each piece simmering and cooking up to a golden shade.
From start to finish, the wait time is 13 minutes.
And guess what? A fresh order is surprisingly, shockingly, quite good.
The skin crinkles up to produce a great crunch as the meat retains its moisture. The portions are appropriately sized and typically served up alongside onion rings, fries, fried okra or a handful of other sides.
Otherwise, Broaster offers a large catering menu, including wings and other plus-size selections.
My advice: Drop the skepticism and try a two-piece order. Phelan may have been on to something.
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