Chicken Done Proper – A Story of Provenance and Process.
At Mad Egg, our ethos is Chicken Done Proper, which is why we hold the title for the best chicken sandwich in Dublin. But back to Chicken Done Proper. What does this mean exactly? Considering chicken has assumed prime shopping-basket real estate along with bread, milk, and eggs, it is surely ‘Proper’ in shops and restaurants across the country!
Well unfortunately not… As it has become such a sought-after protein, the exponential increase in demand has led retailers and restaurants into a race to the bottom, both in terms of price and quality. This has seen a huge impact on not only the taste of the Birds but the standards whereby they are reared.
When we were developing the menu for Mad Egg, we visited a dozen farms and spoke with countless food reps, most quoted the high price and a lack of restaurant and supermarket demand for free-range chicken as a reason for not supplying it. We were having none of it.
We said from day one that traceability and provenance were priority one for us. Not only because we believe in the ethics of sustainable farming but it was also a clear business decision. We look at our chicken like any product of any business, as a seller of said product you want it to be the very best on the market. We knew that slow grown, free-range Irish chickens who have lived happy, healthy lives with access to green pasture, food and water develop fuller and more flavorful. Offering significantly better taste and quality than the majority of our competition. So it was and is a no brainer!
So we had chosen our chicken, now what? Now comes the long arduous testing process… We knew we wanted to be ‘THE Fried Chicken Guys’ and be known for having the Best Fried Chicken around and best chicken sandwich in Dublin, this was a tough goal from the outset in a competitive market-place! One that took us on a 14 month path of continuous testing and improvement pre-opening.
We tried countless methods of tenderizing the meat the make it super juicy and tender, from soaking in butter milk overnight to bringing it in a variety of spices and liquids. We settled on tea-brining. It gave us by far the best results of anything we tried. We brine all of our Birds for 48 hours to give maximum tenderness pre-coating.
Once we had the right level of tenderness we needed to get that signature crunch and spice from our coating. Que another few thousand kilos/ltrs of spice mix and buttermilk! Eventually, we settled on a process called double dredging, which is basically coating in herb spiced buttermilk and our own secret house spice mix twice and then cooking to order!
So there you have it. The road to Chicken Done Proper! It has been a long but amazing journey to get this far but we are only getting started! We haven’t even discussed how we settled on our Buns… 😉