Preview: The Official Fried Chicken is Broaster 2.0
What if a machine invented in Beloit, WI in 1954 was the key to a better future?
Old tech meets new tech in tiny fried chicken shop set to launch on 46e and Minnehaha Avenue. Official Fried Chicken is a new concept from Funky Grits creator Jared Brewington, and it just might be a game changer.
You’ve heard the term “roast chicken” yes?
On the menus of supper clubs, city bars, and drive-ins throughout the Midwest, it’s embedded with normal script like we’re all supposed to know what it means. I’m sure I’m not the only person who first assumed it was some evil magic that brought broiling and roasting together in a bizarre technique resulting in crispy chicken. Never happier to be so wrong.
Because to be roast chicken, you have to have a real Broaster, which is a pressure fryer invented by LAM Phelan in 1954. Brewington thinks this is the way of the future: “I was looking for a product that was efficient, fast and delicious. I needed all three to make it work.
Here’s what the Broaster 1800 brings to this chicken party. The pressure fryer is cleaner, easier and more friendly for small spaces. The system is smooth and automated, the machine regulates the heat of the oil, the basket design keeps the chicken moving for more even frying, and the pressure cooks whole birds in much less time than oil frying. opened. Moreover, the bird is just less fat. I watched the whole walkthrough and my first thought was: the Instant Pot generation would hang on this.
I was standing next to the newly installed machinery in the new space yesterday when the Minneapolis city inspector came in and said, “Well, what the hell is that?” Do you know what is one of the most expensive parts of building a new restaurant? The hood system. Exhausting all the fumes from the kitchen requires a massive HVAC system that must channel unpleasant air outside, which usually means going through the roof or the side of the building, which can be difficult and expensive in tall structures or crowded urban spaces. OFC will be opening next week on the ground floor of a brand new apartment building and, due to the nature of closed-lid pressure frying, there will be no need for ventilation. For a fried chicken shop.
“That means we can build this kitchen almost anywhere. We don’t need to find the “perfect” location, it can work in smaller footprints and neighborhoods that don’t yet have traditional dining spaces. It is an e-kitchen, fully electric. It’s plug and play,” Brewington said. “And with a smaller kitchen, we can have fewer staff and pay them more.”
Director Chloe McGee confirms this to be true. She has a deep love for fried chicken and is in charge of the kitchen team, which she says will be around 3 people preparing and cooking. McGee says it’s a better paying job than others, but she’s more excited about the possibilities it presents.
Because let’s go from efficient to fast and delicious.
OFC takes old Broaster frying technology and marries it with new technology to make it work for today’s world. This is a pickup joint, there are no seats. I can’t even call it counter service, because there is no counter. It’s seamless, contactless ordering and delivery.
You enter and find the command screen next to the menu painted on the wall. You enter your order with your phone number. Once your order is ready, it will be placed in a high-tech, temperature-controlled locker to keep it warm and ready for you. Placing the food in the locker will generate a text with a QR code, which you scan on the locker to open your order door and deliver the chicken to your warm little hands.
This can all happen in minutes, you’re not looking for a 20+ minute wait time for the fried bird because once the chicken comes out of the Broaster it’s moved to an air conditioned holding cabinet with the right humidity. and temperature to keep it crisp, hot and juicy for hours. This allows the kitchen to cook in batches and hold plenty of chicken so it’s ready to go when orders come in.
“But it still has to be delicious,” McGee told me. Originally from Mississippi, she claims to have eaten a lot of fried chicken in her day and doesn’t want to compromise on flavor and juiciness just to be fast. “I was skeptical, but we went through the training on this equipment and I was surprised at the quality of the chicken. We’ll look at it and figure out when, how much we should cook in advance, but it’s still fresh, hot and juicy when we put it in the locker. Every time.”
Brewington keeps it simple with this first try, just three flavors of fried chicken and fries, that’s it. It uses Broaster’s signature breading mix, combined with its own spice blend to create an original Buffalo-style, barbecue-flavored seasoning. Although he is unable to make gluten-free chicken at this time, he noted that due to pressure frying, they use much less flour on their chicken than others.
Being a long time fan of the grilled bird, I can’t wait to see how this one flies. Tried OFC flavors right out of the Broaster and it was beyond delicious. It was everything you wanted, fully flavored in breading and meat, with super crispy skin that didn’t fall apart when you took a bite. The crackle was real and I didn’t feel like I had ingested a cup of deep fryer grease. I can’t wait to compare this to the bird that goes through the cabinet and locker system. What I can do when OFC officially opens next week.
If all goes well, this is just the beginning. You obviously don’t build a plug and play kitchen to keep it in a corner. Brewington sees the potential for this concept to expand, as does McGee, “I’m willing to travel wherever we need it, bring fried chicken and train others to do it. That’s really something.”
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