Being a “Good Son of the South”, I consider myself to know a bit about fried chicken like Capt Willy . I had to go to NC recently and took the time to stop by Barefoot’s Country Store & Grill on Highway 701 just 4 miles east of I-95 just south of Smithfield, NC.
To my notion, Barefoot’s has the best fried Chicken available to mankind. The first time I had it was at family event where it was catered. Even though it was not just pulled out of the fryer, it was mighty fine to me.
Normally I am a wings and legs man but to truly “test” the true characteristics of the bird I chose to get the white meat. My additional selections were freshly boiled and mashed potatoes (still with some lumps in them) and gravy plus onion rings all for $6. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to drink so I got both the tea and the Cheerwine (a local cherry flavored soft drink). Additional choices are Brunswick Stew (a tomato based chicken stew with the vegetable garden thrown in), green beans, fried okra,fried squash (in season), both french fries and wedges,potato salad and finally cole slaw. Meat Selections include NC pork BBQ(meat,salt, crushed red pepper and vinegar…that’s all), fried or grilled pork chops, chicken liver or gizzards, Hamburger steakmbeef stew, country style steak and fried shrimp,oysters, scallops, flounder (my cousin says it is the “best ever”), trout,or mullet. Hamburgers,Carolina Packer hotdogs, BBQ and other sandwiches are available too. This is true “Down East” Carolina cookin’.
Upon tearing into the breast, I found the skin to be light, crisp and not too crunchy. I am not certain he doesn’t mix in a bit of rice flour. The seasoning was light but upon looking at the crust it had a goodly bit of pepper to it. This was a bit surprising to me as I usually like the spicier chicken at Popeye’s (for mass production fried chicken). The white meat of the breast was very moist yet done. For those of you that remember the broasted chicken from the old Burger Queen it was reminiscent of that.There was a freshness of the meat that is not common to most restaurants (or country stores : ) ). It may have to do with the availability of very fresh chicken in the area. Shoot! For all I know that chicken could have been scratchin’ in the yard just 30 minutes prior. The mashed potatoes had a few lumps to them and was like velvet slipping down my goozle. The corn meal hush puppies were somewhat sweet and had just a hint of onion to them. The onion rings were lightly battered (not dusted) and even though that was the case it did not overwhelm the sweetness of the onion. They were not at all greasy.
I was a bit slow on the draw and missed out on the homemade carrot cake with cream cheese icing but did eat some of Miss Vivian’s Apple Jack. They are a bit like empanadas and this one was made from dried apple, sugar and cinnamon. I did enjoy it but I could have had another chicken wing in place of the desert.
I know there will be other things I need to try there such as the BBQ and the fried flounder and other seafood, it sure will be hard to order anything other than that chicken.