history of brunch staple chicken and waffles
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Around for years, chicken and waffles has seen a revival as of late as brunch has become a top trend in American cuisine. The combination of juicy, tender chicken on top of warm, buttery waffles is decadent and has the makings of the perfect flavor combination.

“The obsession with brunch has put a lot of sweet and savory dishes in the spotlight,” said Chef Richard Hales of Bird & Bone at The Confidante Miami Beach located in Miami, Florida.

The buzz surrounding chicken and waffles doesn’t seem to be slowing down—in fact, it seems that restaurants are adding it to their menus for all types of meals and are creating their own signature versions of the dish.

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Where Did Chicken and Waffles Come From?

So, where did the chicken and waffles craze begin?

According to Hales, there are several origins of chicken and waffles in the U.S., dating pretty far back. One, he said, starts with a farm.

“On a farm, cooking chickens for breakfast is common and I’ve heard the Pennsylvania Dutch came up with chicken and waffles,” he said. Their version of the dish is said to have been plain chicken that was braised or simmered and would be placed on top of a plain waffle.

But, he notes, the version of the chicken and waffles that have made its way into mainstream brunch culture today was born of the soul food movement in American cuisine. The meal combined leftover fried chicken from the previous night with the classic breakfast elements of waffles and syrup. However, the exact location of the origin of this dish is unknown—some claim the Harlem section of Los Angeles, California was the first to popularize the staple, while others allege that Baltimore, Maryland was the founding father of chicken and waffles.

Either way, Hales says that no matter where the dish originated from, there is one region that has laid claim to bringing the meal to the point of where it is today.

“It’s an indulgence made popular in Southern cooking,” he says.

Why It’s Popular Now

Hales says that one of the reasons the dish remains so popular is that it is versatile when it comes to both ingredients and time of ingesting.

“Chicken and waffles can be eaten anytime of the day. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, yes, but also, it’s a great late-night food after too many drinks—it’s perfect then as well as a great hangover cure the next morning. That’s 24 hours of eating chicken and waffles possibilities,” says Hales.

He also says that restaurants love to add the dish to its menu because it’s easy to customize and elevate to a more sophisticated plate.

“I like to flavor the butter and syrup with bourbon and ingredients that are over the top. Changing the flavor of the waffle is a good start, too. We like to serve it alongside our blackberry bourbon iced tea cocktail,” he adds.

Make Your Own

Basic Buttermilk Fried Chicken

best buttermilk fried chicken

Chowhound

Crispy, juicy, tender, and well-seasoned, this fried chicken is the perfect waffle topper. Get our Basic Buttermilk Fried Chicken recipe.

Savory Cheddar Waffles

Savory Cheddar Waffles

Chowhound

Feeling like chicken and waffles with an even more Southern spin? Like cheesy grits, make your chicken and waffles dish a little bit extra by adding cheddar and parmesan to the waffle mix. Your friends will thank you. Get our Savory Cheddar Waffles recipe.

Then consider an easy DIY infused maple syrup to really take it over the top.

Related Video: Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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