Fried chicken is the arguably the best boat food. Sure, subs are great, but they can get all mushy in the cooler and then there is the mayo and who wants pickles, or onions or mustard. Then waiting in the deli line with a complex order can quickly turn into an arduous exercise of patience.
Crispy poultry is easy to procure at a multitude of locations throughout the Keys, does not require any “customization” and the consumer only really needs 20 percent of their fingers to get the succulent meat to their lips.
Clean up is easy as the bones can be returned to the eco-system with a simple flip of the wrist and those two fingers just need to be dunked in the saltwater.
So, there’s only one matter left to settle: which is better, fried chicken from Dion’s Quik Mart or Publix Super Market? The Weekly staff set about conducting a “rigorous” blind taste test of Dion’s and Publix regular fried chicken that included replicating the conditions; the chicken “aged” at room temperature for a few hours before being consumed. And our experts included graduates of the Brass Monkey College of Ribaldry, the Grimes School of Spearfishing Excellence and the authors of “How to Make Wild Birds Your Friends.”
Travis is partial to Dion’s — he’s at the convenience store every morning to provision for the day. “I can tell right away that this is the Dion’s chicken. Actually, both are pretty good. I just like fried chicken. But Dion’s is more convenient, I can get it anywhere in the Keys.”
This tour leader walked into the taste test with no bias, but said the decision was easy to make. “The Publix fried chicken has more crunch and a cleaner taste.”
This Middle Keys expert said he’s partial to Dion’s Chicken, but the taste test revealed Publix has good poultry, too. “I don’t think it was a good day for the Dion’s fryer. It’s best at 4 a.m. when it’s cooked by that mean Spanish lady.”
A new transplant to the Keys, Elise is already wise in the ways of the islands. “I feel like the Publix chicken is healthier. But that’s because if I’m eating Dion’s chicken, I know I already made some unhealthy choices that night.”
Wink, an education-bird-in-training from the Marathon Wild Bird Center, had no opinion. He’s a pescatarian and does not eat fried chicken.
*It was pretty much a tie. While everyone liked the Publix chicken better in the harsh reality of daylight, no one was going to say anything bad about Dion’s chicken because of its medicinal properties at 4 a.m.
Fried chicken is better than that boy who said he will die for you. Fried chicken actually died for you. Fried chicken is true love.