My hot fried chicken binge continued this week back in Memphis with a visit to Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken with Ed, a longtime friend and co-worker (See Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack review). He’s a great sport. Last January my lunch companion suffered severe chest pain while frying chicken in his kitchen, received a stent during catheterization, and spent a night in the hospital. Lest anyone think I bullied a friend with heart problems into eating fried food with me, Ed dined at Uncle Lou’s a few weeks ago without me and voluntarily accompanied me to lunch for this review. Right before our lunch, I joked in a Facebook post that we came equipped with an AED to Uncle Lou’s. My friend survived lunch without a 911 call. FULL DISCLOSURE: I had my gallbladder removed in 2012 not long after consuming a tasty plate of osso bucco in St. Louis. We both live on the edge.
Why did the fried chicken cross the road? To avoid healthy-eating lectures! Let’s move forward and talk fried chicken.
Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken opened in 2001. Since that time, Uncle Lou received recognition for “Best New Food Item” at the 2001 Mid-South Fair (Honey-Dipped Chicken), for “Best Overall Food” at the Mid-South Fair, for the Monster Burger on the cover of B. Visible Magazine and on the Food Network in 2008. Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken serves their chicken at Liberty Bowl Stadium, including all University of Memphis home football games.
Uncle Lou’s menu features burgers, sandwiches, various side items and desserts, but people come for the fried chicken (Full menu here). We saw as many customers eating cheeseburgers as fried chicken (duly noted for a future visit). On his website Uncle Lou says:
“We serve a lot of different things, but fried chicken is what we’re best known for. The recipe comes from my great-grandmother, Rosie Gillespie of Nesbit, Mississippi. She passed it down to her granddaughter—my Mom, Mary Martin— and my Mom passed it down to me.”
Uncle Lou receives your order at the counter (cash and credit/debit cards accepted). Both Ed and I chose mixed 3-Piece Fried Chicken Meal Deals, mild and HOT, respectively. I ordered Fried Dill Pickles to share between us. Our food arrived to the table within two minutes of ordering.
The “Sweet Spicy Love” sauce on my hot fried chicken tasted hot, sweet and tangy (⭐️⭐️⭐️). The Cole Slaw provided a fresh, creamy balance to the spicy chicken (⭐️⭐️⭐️). I only nibbled on the sweet honey biscuit to maintain my focus on the main dish. Uncle Lou deep fries his dill pickles in a light batter of his seasoned fried chicken flour – tasty, but the batter seemed thin (⭐️⭐️).
One of the great things about Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken in Whitehaven is the Lit Restaurant Supply store conveniently located around the corner. We finished our lunch hour perusing aisles of kitchen gadgets – a gastronaut indulgence of pure joy for those who cook or entertain.
A friend asked me to compare Prince’s Hot Chicken in Nashville to Uncle Lou’s hot chicken in Memphis. During my visit, I ordered Hot from the multiple levels of heat offered on Prince’s menu: Plain, Mild, Medium, Hot, XHot or XXXHot. Uncle Lou’s offers two options: Mild or Hot fried chicken. My chicken order at Prince’s left me in a state of euphoria with my lips burning and my scalp sweating. Uncle Lou’s hot fried chicken is sweet and spicy, but didn’t produce a mood-altering effect like the cayenne heat at Prince’s. Let me say that it’s probably unfair to compare the two styles of hot chicken. Each restaurant relies on time-honored family recipes achieving different flavor profiles. The heritage and tradition of such family recipes should be celebrated for what they are.
Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken
3633 Millbranch Road
Memphis, Tennessee 38116