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Pecking Order

The best fried chicken in Chicago
Best Fried Chicken in Chicago 2014

We've declared August 11-22 Fried Chicken Fortnight. Look out for two weeks full of recipes for prime crispiness, chef tips and more.

From farm fresh and Southern fried to finger-lickin'-good dive finds, these are seven of our favorite spots to score fried chicken around Chicago.

① Big Jones in Andersonville
Chef-owner Paul Fehribach brings Southern charm to the Windy City, and his award-winning fried chicken ($21) is one such example of stick-to-your-ribs cooking done right. The locally sourced chicken is dredged in seasoned cornmeal; fried in a flavorful blend of leaf lard, clarified butter and ham drippings; and served with voodoo greens and butter beans.

② The Roost Carolina Kitchen in Lakeview
Get your chicken-sandwich fix morning, noon and night at this food truck-turned-casual eatery. The classic, bone-out sandwich ($9) comes with two sides of your choosing (we'll take the cucumber coleslaw and peach cobbler, please) and a Nashville Hot crust with some serious sass, thanks to cayenne pepper and Louisiana hot sauce.

③ Honey Butter Fried Chicken in Avondale
The juicy, flavorful fried chicken, made with Miller Amish Farms birds, stays true to the restaurant's name: It comes with a big pat of subtly sweet honey butter ($8 for a two-piece serving). Order a fresh-baked, honeycomb-shaped corn muffin on the side and a tall glass of house-made lemonade ($3.50).

④ Leghorn in Ukrainian Village
This hipster-to-the-core BYOB chicken shack serves a strong political agenda alongside its customizable fried chicken sandwiches. Instead of netting all $6 of that sustainably raised, pickle-brined thigh sandwich piled with anything from Kewpie mayo to Wisconsin cheddar cheese, the restaurant scrapes 2 percent off the top and donates it to local gay rights organizations.

⑤ Harold's Chicken Shack in multiple locations
What started as a small, South Side chain has turned into one of Chicago's most ubiquitous fried chicken purveyors. Half-birds ($9) are fried to order and stay remarkably moist on the inside and crisp on the outside. Keep the grease fest alive with an order of fries.

⑥ Parson's Chicken & Fish in Logan Square
Between its tempura-and-beer-battered fish fry and delightfully crispy, 12-hour brined, chile pepper-rubbed fried chicken, it goes without saying that the birthplace of the Negroni slushie knows its way around a deep fryer. The can't-miss? A bone-out fried Amish chicken thigh sandwich ($10), stacked with slaw, American cheese, hot sauce, aioli and NorthStar pickles.

⑦ Smalls Smoke Shack and More in Irving Park
We love getting our barbecue on at Smalls, but we might just love its lightly crusted, buttermilk-brined and five-spice-flecked fried chicken ($11.75 for a half-bird) a little more. Each order comes with house-cut fries, banana ketchup, Texas toast and "not slaw" (a.k.a. spiced pickles) to cut through the greasiness.

Big Jones 5347 N. Clark St. Chicago IL 60640 773-275-5725 The Roost Carolina Kitchen 1467 W. Irving Park Rd. Chicago IL 60613 312-261-5564 Honey Butter Fried Chicken 3361 N. Elston Ave. Chicago IL 60618 773-478-4000 Leghorn 959 N. Western Ave. Chicago IL 60622 773-394-4444 Harold's Chicken Shack 100 W. 87th St. Chicago IL 60620 773-224-3314 Parson's Chicken & Fish 2952 W. Armitage Ave. Chicago IL 60647 773-384-3333 Smalls Smoke Shack and More 4009 N. Albany Ave. Chicago IL 60618 312-857-4221
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