It’s the South and we have an affinity for sweet tea, barbecue and chicken.

Around every corner we see a sign for world’s best pork and so on. In the last few weeks, the rage has hit chicken sandwiches and I have succumb to trying the latest rage — a chicken sandwich from Popeyes.

I had my chance Friday as I bypassed a Chick-fil-A. The lines of cars waiting for the church of fried chicken even covered the parking lot of Walmart next door. 

I was a little disappointed.

Chick-fil-A calls out like your grandma’s dinner on Sunday afternoon; you just gotta stop when you see that red and white sign beckoning and partake.

Next in sight was Popeyes with its Cajun flavors. 

I like Popeyes chicken so I figured give it a try to see if it could top the drug also known as the Chick-fil-A sandwich. The pickle juice marinated chicken breast with sugar in the breading fried in oil — oh my.

This parking lot was a little easier to navigate but still difficult in the dinner-hour traffic. I proceed to go in ignoring all temporary signs and wait in line for the cashier to tell me, “We have no chicken sandwiches.”

Defeated, I ordered chicken at Popeyes anyway and enjoyed the spicy, flaky crust, but I was still thinking about who has the better chicken sandwich. 

Will Popeyes chicken sandwich top Chick-fil-A? 

I don’t know yet, might never as apparently everyone is into the fad too. A news flash just hit; Popeyes is out of chicken sandwiches nationwide. Popeyes said it is working to fix the problem.

How is it the church of chicken sandwiches has plenty? Do they follow Jesus’ recipe to feed the thousands with one fish and a loaf of bread? Did Popeyes forget to consult the Bible?

I don’t know but I’m not giving up on the Popeyes chicken sandwich yet. I want to know what’s in the recipe making it so talked about.

Then it dawned on me Saturday the best recipe was right under my nose and I bet everyone has this main ingredient.

I was in my parents’ backyard enjoying the day with my son as my dad cooked chicken for lunch on his smoker following an old family recipe. It’s a recipe passed to him by his father. I have seen my grandfather use it. I have it too and hope to someday pass it along to my son and if it happens, my grandchildren, just like my father shared with my son.

The recipe calls for basting the chicken as it cooks. The baste is simple: equal parts apple cider vinegar, vegetable oil and water with half a lemon squeezed in and some onion cut up in it. It is allowed to heat up at the fire and every time the chicken is turned — every 20 minutes or so — the liquid is mopped on the chicken liberally with it dripping to the hot metal and coals below. 

It sends out a smell that can call a man home from anywhere.

The chicken is always good. I can’t remember it every not being good in my 40-plus years of being part of the recipe.

The backyard yardbird always seems to be better than what I get at Chick-fil-A and Popeyes, but what makes it better? Both Chick-fil-A and Popeyes are good companies but the company in the backyard is far superior.

The chicken dinner crafted in the backyard is created not with a profit of money in mind. It is created with the best company around — family — and the best ingredients in the world — love and care.

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.

Staff Writer

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.