The Ticket Served Fried Chicken at a Southern Dallas Barbershop for Juneteenth

Categories: Dish, Media

BobandDanRadio.jpg
bobanddan.com
First of all, let's dispense with a very basic fact: everyone loves fried chicken. With the possible exception of vegetarians -- who, let's be honest, are just lying to themselves -- and some remote, yet-to-be-discovered hen worshipers in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, the fact that an individual enjoys poultry battered and cooked to crispy perfection in a vat of sizzling oil is basically like having 23 chromosomes or opposable thumbs.

But going out of one's way to point out that black people love fried chicken is not something that's typically done in polite society. While it may be true -- just as it's true for people of every other ethnicity ever -- it evokes uncomfortable scenes of black-faced minstrels prancing about Uncle Remus' plantation. And so when Sergio Garcia promises to serve Tiger Woods fried chicken, it doesn't go over terribly well.

That brings us to Juneteenth in Dallas where, to celebrate the anniversary of the belated emancipation of Texas' slaves 148 years ago, The Ticket's Bob and Dan Radio show broadcast live from to a black-owned southern Dallas barbershop. And served fried chicken. Then, given customer's presumably encyclopedic knowledge of the dish, asked them to guess where it came from. They called it the Juneteenth Tasting Challenge.

To a white guy from North Dallas (me!), the whole thing sounded fairly insensitive. But Donovan Lewis, the only black member of the BaD Radio trio, told Unfair Park after yesterday's show that he doesn't see it like that.

A bit of context is helpful. The Juneteenth broadcast has become something of a tradition for the show since Lewis joined it in 2006 and discovered that Bob and Dan knew next to nothing about the holiday, which had been Lewis' grandfather's favorite holiday growing up. He suggested the June 19 show help remedy that while simultaneously reaching out to listeners. "We don't get south of 20 too much," Lewis told me. "We wanted to just kind of bring the show to the hood."

WilliamsFriedChicken.jpg
Scott Reitz
Williams Chicken, always a Donovan Lewis stumbling block.
The fried chicken element wasn't added until this year, and Lewis insisted that it was done in perfect innocence. A few weeks ago, Lewis said, he was participating in an event, sort of an urban version of Family Feud. One of the questions that came up asked contestants what they'd choose for their last meal. Almost everyone said fried chicken.

The next time he was getting his hair cut, Lewis and his barber got to wondering if they were expert enough to source a piece of fried chicken going only by taste. "Our big bold claim was we could do it," Lewis says.

They decided to put it to the test on the show, and the barbershop where the challenge was dreamed up -- The Lavish Lounge on Wheatland Road at Highway 67 -- seemed the logical place.

Lewis and his co-hosts weren't blind to the racial overtones. "I think we wrestled over that a little, but [decided] we can't please everyone," he said. "I'm sure someone was offended out there, but we try to do stuff that's funny and compelling."

Lewis said the chicken tasting fell into that category.

"It's a fine line," Lewis said. "But it is what it is."

Lewis was three-out-of-five, for the record. He mixed up Williams and Church's, just like his wife told him he would.


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102 comments
Americano
Americano

I love Williams Chicken!  We used to go to the Hall St area back when it was a crime ridden cesspool to get Williams Chicken.  Not only was the chicken awesome, but Hookers would proposition you at the drive through.  For teenage boys from Lake Highlands this was an adventure.  We called it "chicken worth dying for".  So what's the beef with the Ticket serving chicken?

Obummer
Obummer

Yo as long as Sandra Fluke be get’in her free birf controls pills what diff’ do it make?

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

AND THIS CRAP IS NOT RACIST????   AND JUNETEENTH IS A PHONEY DATE, AND DID NOT FREE ANYONE....THAT HAPPENED ONLY FROM THE AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION AND END OF THE CIVIL WAR.   JUNETEENTH IS JUST NAGGER DAY AT THE FAIR.

Americano
Americano

I ate some watermelon that day.  I'm white, I guess that makes me a racist.

Obummer
Obummer

Yo ah didn't even git uh chickn wing.

amanuesis
amanuesis

Ehhhh... you know, it probably,in hindsight, wasn't a great idea... but you know why black people like fried chicken so much? Because it's fricken awesome, that's why. The same reason why I like it so much. I'm a 40 Yr old white dude, and I'd rather have fried chicken than steak. So what does color have to do with it again? Can't we all just stop being so sensitive? Can't we all just get along... and enjoy some De licious fried chicken??

Chris Chandler
Chris Chandler

The only thing racist about this, is the way Dallas Observer presents it. Like the Ticket did something so bad and anti P.C. "So. This happened yesterday." gimmie a fucking break. Even in all the comments no one cares OR thinks it's a big deal. But leave it to the biggest Liberal rag in Big D to point it out to the rest of us. And parade around the fact that white people ate fried chicken with black people. JEEZ! FYI D.O. white people eat fried chicken to. It wasn't racist until you made it that way.

Chip LaRowe
Chip LaRowe

Donnie flipped Williams and Churches. It was not a question of which was best, but the ability of the participants to discern which was which.

Chip LaRowe
Chip LaRowe

The challenge was to identify 5 different chicken purveyors, either by sight or taste. They were made aware of the options and

cactusflinthead
cactusflinthead

Didn't mention Dan and the 2/3 of a point. "Had that in my back pocket all day"

The bit might be considered insensitive if you had no knowledge of the participants. As it turns out it was a challenge of  the fried chicken expertise of willing participants. I am glad to see you got Donnie Do's feedback concerning this event. The interaction of him and the rest of the midday crew can be a study in ethnic differences. See if you can find a recent version of 'Ghetto Jeopardy' if you want something else that might be misconstrued as offensive or insensitive. What it does for me is give them a chance to speak aloud various and sundry gaps in their understanding of each other. 

"What does Santa get left for him in the hood? As in what sort of food and drink." Every once in a while they replay that particular interchange. Still a fav. 

Oh and Carlos Mencia, so there. 

Luis Cruz
Luis Cruz

I don't know about you guys but who doesn't love fried chicken

newmexafrica
newmexafrica

I went to a Korean restaurant recently and it was filled with... get this... KOREANS!  I was the only white guy there!  

It was like I walked into some kind of crazy Korean Separatist meeting!  THE HORROR!!!!

keithdylan
keithdylan

Wouldn't someone actually in the room said something about feeling offended if it truly was offensive to them?

newmexafrica
newmexafrica

I just hope nobody makes a racist insinuation that most people in India prefer Indian food and most people in China prefer Chinese food!  OH THE HORROR OF IT ALL!!!!

newmexafrica
newmexafrica

"To a white guy from North Dallas (me!), the whole thing sounded fairly insensitive."

What is it like to be so full of white guilt?

DirtyP1
DirtyP1

Eric,

How often do you listen to the show? I could be wrong but this was probably Donovan's idea. When there's something that relates to the community, he's usually the one that orchestrates it. I'm glad Donnie is on the Ticket and has a platform to put things out there like Juneteenth and Community Family Feud. This type of thing would obviously be way more controversial if it was 3 white radio hosts doing it versus a black african american male. If K104 was doing this same bit, would you write about it? There are times when the Ticket is right on the edge in terms of racism, but this particular show isn't. They're able to bring up sports issues involving minorities because they have one on the show. For example, the front running black guy that wears a Kobe jersey on Monday and on Tuesday wears a Lebron jersey, then Wednesday his Carmelo jersey.  If two white guys bring it up, it's racist, right? 

I can't tell if you're actually offended by this, doesn't seem like the commenters are, but if you are listen to BaD radio for a month or two.  

Stay hard.

cynicaloldbastard
cynicaloldbastard

Seeing how the city of Dallas just authorized the spending of $895,000 to relocate a mediocre southern Dallas fried chicken shop how is the ticket shtick an issue?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

I used to run five 21-quart Presto pressure cookers 8 minutes each, rotating off every two minutes.  Each pot held three chickens - 21 pieces.  Breaded with eleven different herbs and spices, it was brilliant!.  The trick was to pop that lid with a little pressure still in the pot then yank out the chicken fast.  What happened was that the chicken was cooking way above water boiling point so when the moisture (water) in the chicken depressurized, it steamed out of the chicken preventing it from getting greasy long enough to get the chicken out of the oil.

This produced miracle fried chicken.  You could take a napkin, wrap it around a big fat drumstick and twist the bone right out.  It was crispy, SUPER tender, and was a light golden brown but it was the flavor that got Grandmas - they couldn't beat it at home and marveled at the pressure-filled 400 degree oil scheme.

We literally had 'em wrapped around the store twice every Sunday after church, picking up bucket after bucket, and heading to the lake for a picnic.  This was in Paris, Texas circa 1968.  

It was cult chicken.  It was the best Fried Chicken there ever was.

Then the Feds said pressure cooking it that way was too dangerous (OSHA).

I refused to put on a HAZMAT suit and the art was lost.  Now you must use self-extracting pressure machines but those things can't get the pressure off fast enough before the chicken gets greasy.

We served that chicken with packets of honey, or in a squirt bottle if you ate it in the store.

Joe Meyers
Joe Meyers

This only adds to the greatness that the Juneteenth episode has become. At least it sheds some sort of "light" on an important day in Texas history.

alteredjustice
alteredjustice

@rufuslevin Calm down, Cletus.

The fair runs in June? What fair are we talking about?

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@amanuesis I love me some fried chicken, but over steak?  For the record, I've eaten Henderson's Chicken for lunch for the last three days--they add seasoning AND Louisiana Hot sauce, AND at 2 pieces for one dollar.  High protein, low carbs, and high salt, all good for you.  Seriously, SALT IS GOOD FOR YOU.

joe.tone
joe.tone moderator

@Chris Chandler FYI, CC: The entire first paragraph is about how white people eat fried chicken.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@keithdylan I don't know, they didn't say anything when Bob complained about the scorching hot parking lot, or the shabby condition of the shopping center. 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@newmexafrica or Mexicans like TACOS.  What pisses me off is when Mexicans put Habenaros in their salsa.  Habenaros aren't indigenous to Mexico.  They use mild but tasty red chiles, but too many fall prey to that bullshit macho, how hot can you make it.  The Habenaro and the Jalapeno don't have much flavor, mostly heat.  Chiles have ricuh, earthy flavor that won't burn your tongue but will make you sweat.

Mervis_Earl
Mervis_Earl

Way to read the article DirtyP1!!!! There are about 3-4 paragraphs explaining how it was indeed Donnie's idea.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@holmantx KFC original recipe is not crispy, was never crispy, and hence is why Donnie and ET could so easily identify it.  The key ingredient was MSG, and KFC SUX

James080
James080

@holmantx  

Last time I popped the lid off a pressure cooker while there was still some pressure inside it spewed beef stew all over my apartment.  I relatively certain there is still some of that stew still lingering in the kitchen air vent.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@Richie Martin The bigger sin is that there is only one Hendersons.  But two dark for one dollar can't be beat.  Their chicken is my favorite, the least batter of any, always tender and tasty.  The best is to get it with Louisiana Hotsauce poured all over it.

DirtyP1
DirtyP1

@joe.tone So what exactly is the article trying to do? Provoke intelligent conversation and page clicks? When three black guys kill another black guy and take his car, there are black people that post, mostly in defense of the killers. I don't see any kind of outrage from anyone reading this article. I think Eric swung and missed on this one if he was trying to in any way create dialogue between races about something that could have been construed blatantly racist but wasn't. 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@ruddski Fried catfish maybe.  I don't see many brothers digging on raw fish.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@MaxNoDifference @holmantx 

Awh, awh man it was Elvis . . .

tear yer nerves up

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@scottindallas 

We had a store on the hard corner on Gaston/ at Abrams.  Where Whole Foods is now.

I slung chicken righteously that that corner in the 1960s.

At 14, the cops came in and said "no quid quo pro".

Uh?

Don't give police officers chicken at the end of the day.

Leftovers.

but it was an imperative chicken  . . .

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@scottindallas @holmantx 

I appreciate that.  No one cares but it was an improved fried chicken.  Which cannot be repeated in the current regulatory environment.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@scottindallas @holmantx 

I still keep 5 pots.  It would take me a thousand chickens to revv up my acumen.  I'd have to get a waiver from Homeland Security but eventually, I could repeat the perfect fried chicken.

So help me God.

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