The chicken biscuit that caught my eye

April, 8, 2011
04/08/11
2:30
PM ET

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- I am something of an expert on fast-food fried chicken, having devoted considerable time and intensity of thought to the subject. I know how many days chicken can sit in your fridge before it makes you sick, how many pieces are needed to feed 25. (Fifty if I'm not there … 60 if I am.) I can eat chicken with one hand while driving. I can eat chicken while playing Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home" on the piano. I can text, drive and eat a leg.

I have long believed, without hesitation or doubt, that Popeye's is king. A five-tool player. How can you not love a place serving a dry spice that must be named after a Breaux Bridge exotic dancer: Cajun Sparkle. My truck console is often filled with their tiny packets of Louisiana Hot Sauce. Usually, I like three-piece dark meat with an extra biscuit and dirty rice. Sometimes I mix it up and get red beans. Their chicken is better than my mom's. For my Ole Miss tailgates, I order a few boxes the day before and, early in the morning, I drive over to the gas station that houses this temple of unsaturated fat. The smell wafts out over the pumps, toward Highway 7, much in the way a beautiful woman's perfume lingers when she sashays past. I crave the stuff. Listen: One of my best friends is a James Beard Award-winning chef, the best chef in the South two years ago, and one game, he kindly fried a big beer box of chicken for my party and, secretly, I was sort of disappointed to miss a week of Popeye's.

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Bojangles
Wright Thompson/ESPN My muse.

Which brings me to this morning and my betrayal.

Of late, another has caught my eye.

Let me explain.

There are two ways to the golf course. One takes back roads, lined with tall trees, through the posh Augusta neighborhood where Jack Nicklaus rented a house when he was in his prime. The traffic is pretty light there. The drive is peaceful.

Then there is Washington Road. It's a banana republic of a street, a quilt of brake lights, lined with various islands in America's tacky archipelago: chain Italian joints, a Hooters, bars that advertise shots, selling cigars and sex to dudes running away from their families for a few days to watch golf. This is a road for the desperate and the stupid. Stop, start, gun, screech, for miles. So, this morning, I pulled out of our subdivision, faced with a choice. Right, to the leafy streets? Or left, to the shooting gallery.

I chose left.

Bojangles Chicken 'n Biscuits is to the left, on Washington Road. I've been jonesin' for Bojangles. I have landed in Charlotte two gates from my connecting flight and schlepped all the way over to B Concourse to get some chicken, hoofing it back just in time to catch the plane. There is something awesome about breaking a sweat in the pursuit of fried food.

Bojangles, see, has the greatest single fast-food item on the planet, a little bundle of joy called the Cajun Filet Biscuit. It makes me cheat on Popeye's. I need one of those prepaid drug dealer phones just to call the thing. It's not perfect -- in the bag a lot, flaky, greasy, which is fine since I like 'em a bit country -- but, damn, y'all, the biscuit looks fine in the morning. It's my muse.

I'm moved to villanelle:

Do not be afraid of high fructose corn

Fried chicken is worth a thallium treadmill

Poems on Bojangles read like soft-core porn


Crispy and spicy in the Masters morn

I feel blood in my arteries grow still

Do not be afraid of high fructose corn


Oh! Beautiful biscuit, where were you born?

And, oh! Why can I never get my fill?

Poems on Bojangles read like soft core porn


I do not care about my boyish form

Or if Olestra is there against my will

Do not be afraid of high fructose corn


The forecast is a cholesterol storm

I need sweet tea and a Lipitor pill

Poems on Bojangles read like soft core porn


So, dear biscuit, you are a dress well worn

Sing in my veins like a bird on a sill

Do not be afraid of high fructose corn

Poems on Bojangles read like soft core porn

Wright Thompson | email

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
Wright Thompson (@wrightthompson) is a senior writer for ESPN.com and The Magazine. He has been featured in seven editions of Best American Sports Writing and lives in Oxford, Mississippi.
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