To paraphrase Fred Schneider, “If you see the big cock from the side of the road, make a quick left turn and head to the Chicken Shack, baby!”
Luther is the type of place that’s filled with plenty of typically attractive barbeque joints but, like a mostly homely date to the prom that could be the greatest love of your life if only you’d gave them a chance, there’s the Chicken Shack, 18725 E. Highway 66, a rundown brick building that serves up some of the best broasted chicken on Route 66.
Broasted, by the way, means the chicken is fried in a pressure cooker and, I tell you what, as we stood in the gas station next door and saw the Shack’s cooks bring out aluminum chafing pans filled with cuts of that freshly broasted poultry, I just had to say out loud “See ya next time, brisket, because I feel like chicken tonight!”
(I didn’t really say that. I would never say that.)
Newcomers, however, may feel like turning around when they walk in and see the very small and usually-filled dining room; trouble not your engorged heart, because once past the solid door on the side, there’s about two or three other dining rooms—add-ons I’m guessing, complete with a few patio heaters—as well as an outside area where people can bring their dogs and kids, usually in that order.
And while the Chicken Shack has items like wings and strips, it’s the broasted half-chicken and one side meal deal ($9.49) that’s the thing that people around town apparently caw all about; so I ordered a helping of that with a side of beans, an extra side of okra ($3.00), and, of course, a Dr. Pepper, complete with pure cane sugar in a glass bottle. The novelty!
Sadly, the one drawback of the Shack was that, by the time you get your food, you’ll probably have to buy another Dr. Pepper, the previous one long drunken; we ended up waiting a little more than half an hour for our eats, mostly because, I suppose, they make their food extremely to order and were serving quite a few hungry people that day. For me to forgive this, the chicken had better be good…
But the chicken was better than good…it was very good. With a taste that bests even your favorite fried joint, the Shack’s broasted chicken is a pressure-fried spectacle of savoriness, featuring half of a chicken quartered in the requisite four-pieces and served up in a large basket. With each cut a moist monstrosity of barnyard fowl, I say forget about the usual splashes of hot sauce, ranch or ketchup; you won’t need any of that with this chicken.
While the crunchy-enough okra is, per the cashier, from a bag, I got to give it up for the beans: they may be from a can, but the Shack manages to add in their own goodness, like jalapenos, and reclaim the frijole-loving taste for the heat-craving people of Luther. With my mouth slightly burning, I chugged a bottle full of Dr. Pepper, desperately trying to feel normal again.
Chicken juices dribbling down my chin and soda softly pooling in my lap, off to the back of the restaurant I could have sworn I heard a woman holler “Tin roof…broasted!” Cómpralo ya!