Chicken and biscuits have long been Southern-fried friends. In addition to cozying up in fast food family meals, the duo has found renewed popularity at Portland, Ore.'s perennially packed Pine State Biscuits. To uncover what Boise has to offer in this department, we picked two fried chicken and biscuit brunch plates at popular downtown eateries Juniper and Red Feather to square off in Boise Weekly's inaugural Dish Duel.
Presentation: The top half of the biscuit arrived perched like a dainty pill box hat on a dripping stack of fried chicken, cheese and egg. Lumpy gravy oozed down the floppy egg and pooled on the crisscrossed bacon.
Biscuit: Well-seasoned but a bit dry; held itself together under pressure.
Chicken: Fried to a crispy chestnut brown with a salty crunch, but lacked moisture.
Gravy: Nice consistency—not too floury with a pleasant hint of black pepper and tiny nubs of sausage but didn't stretch far enough to adequately dampen the chicken or the biscuit.
Extras: A fried egg with wisps of gray around the edges of its chalky, overcooked yolk.
Final Verdict: The dish came with a steak knife, which was 100 percent necessary to attack this layered monstrosity. Props for the awesome gravy and crispy chicken, props withheld for overall dryness. This dish needed a little more ladle love on the gravy front and a lot less heat in the egg department.
Son of a Biscuit at Red Feather ($8.25)
Name: Son of a Biscuit (Red Feather)
Description: Housemade buttermilk biscuit, fried chicken, country gravy, Vermont maple syrup, side of bacon
Presentation: A snapper-sized slab of fried chicken flattened the bottom biscuit while the top biscuit was a modest island surrounded by an angled reef of fried chicken with rising tides of gravy and pools of syrup.
Biscuit: Cheesy and crumbly; like the topping on a chicken pot pie casserole.
Chicken: Spot-on southern-fried batter with a light peanut butter hue that concealed moist, tender meat. This puppy would make Paula Deen proud.
Gravy: Thick, peppery and ample, the mega-savory sausage gravy was at odds with the equally abundant puddle of maple syrup.
Extras: Four slices of thick-cut, pepper-crusted bacon that would've made a meal on their own.
Final Verdict: Props for the sheer size of this beastly meal. It's the kind of thing that should win you a photo on the wall for finishing. Points deducted for the chicken shedding its crunchy shell with minimal fork prodding. More points deducted for pairing sausage gravy and maple syrup.
Winner: Juniper. Though Red Feather's freakishly large slab of fried chicken was superior, Juniper's sandwich was (somehow) a more modest and manageable undertaking. To be fair, Red Feather also offers a fried chicken, biscuit, bacon and fried egg combo, but seeing as we're already battling gout after this brunch brawl, someone else will have to tackle it.