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 Bill Knapp's Fried Chicken

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jofie

  • Total Posts: 17
  • Joined: 7/9/2004
  • Location: St. Johns, MI
Bill Knapp's Fried Chicken Wed, 07/28/04 8:54 PM (permalink)
We used to enjoy Bill Knapp's Fried Chicken here in Michigan, it was very tender, I thought the coating was something like pancake batter, batter was not thick, just right. The restaurant chain is no longer in existence. Has anyone ever tried duplicating the recipe? I'd sure like to have the recipe.
 
#1
    randy3452

    • Total Posts: 4
    • Joined: 8/20/2004
    • Location: Parma, MI
    RE: Bill Knapp's Fried Chicken Fri, 08/20/04 2:38 PM (permalink)
    Regarding the topic of the "batter" that was used on Bill Knapp's Fried Chicken, I offer the following. I worked at Bill Knapp's for several years, many of which was the task of preparing the chicken and operating the fryers for cooking this product. The recipe used then was an eggwash(milk & beaten eggs" base), with a light coating of flour. Any excess was tapped off. The chicken was then fried until a toasty color indicating it's readiness for serving.
     
    #2
      TJ Jackson

      • Total Posts: 4481
      • Joined: 7/26/2003
      • Location: Cincinnati, OH
      RE: Bill Knapp's Fried Chicken Fri, 08/20/04 3:55 PM (permalink)
      I too was a cook at Bill Knapps for a couple of years

      The chicken would come in fresh, packed in aspic. One of the early morning prep jobs was to wash the chicken to get it readyy for lunch and dinner - esp dinners on tues and sat when soup and dessert were free with chicken dinner.
       
      #3
        Goose

        • Total Posts: 81
        • Joined: 9/17/2004
        • Location: Southfield, MI
        RE: Bill Knapp's Fried Chicken Mon, 09/20/04 11:26 AM (permalink)
        Gone but not forgotten.
         
        #4
          Sonny Funzio

          • Total Posts: 902
          • Joined: 2/13/2006
          • Location: Detroit, MI
          RE: Bill Knapp's Fried Chicken Fri, 02/17/06 12:27 PM (permalink)
          TJ
          I was hoping you might reply (either here or by email) with a couple questions I have about Bill Knapps fried chicken.

          You mention above that it came in aspic ...
          1) do you remember if it seemed pre-cooked (at the commisary) and than coated with aspic? ... Did the aspic seem seasoned?
          2) could you elaborate on how the chicken was prepared from that point on (coating ... was it put in a pressure fryer, or regular deep fryer)etc etc.

          I would be very appreciative of any help you could give me in figuring out the complete recipe as you remember it.
          Many, many thanx!!

          Sonny
          avicenna025@yahoo.com
           
          #5
            Beer&Snausages

            • Total Posts: 418
            • Joined: 6/26/2005
            • Location: Owings Mills, MD
            RE: Bill Knapp's Fried Chicken Fri, 02/17/06 12:40 PM (permalink)
            quote:
            Originally posted by Goose

            Gone but not forgotten.


            Don't forget their "Birthday Discount". Your discount, if you ate there on your birthday, was whatever your age was that day. And yes you had to prove it.
             
            #6
              TJ Jackson

              • Total Posts: 4481
              • Joined: 7/26/2003
              • Location: Cincinnati, OH
              RE: Bill Knapp's Fried Chicken Fri, 02/17/06 12:54 PM (permalink)
              Sonny:

              It's been 20 years since I worked there, but I do remember

              The aspic was not seasoned in any way

              The chicken was raw in the aspic, not precooked in any way

              The appearance of it was not unlike ol' grandma's jello and fruit molds - in this case, pieces of chicken essentially encased in a jello-consistency pond of aspic, in a big tub.

              The preparation was simple: fresh chicken (with all the aspic washed off, this was one of the most time consuming things one had to do as the opening/lunch cook) went into flour, then into eggwash, then flour again, and then into the fryer. This was a open fryer with baskets, not a deep fryer. It was coated and cooked per order with few exceptions, and those exceptions were saturday nights (when chix dinner included free soup and dessert) when you couldn't cook it fast enough to keep up with the demand. So regardless, it was always fresh coated and fresh cooked.

              The cooked pieces were momentarily allowed to drip drain then went immediately to plate to be garnished and set on the outgoing shelf for the wait staff.

              I am not certain if the flour was seasoned in any way, but if memory serves it wasn't.
               
              #7
                Sonny Funzio

                • Total Posts: 902
                • Joined: 2/13/2006
                • Location: Detroit, MI
                RE: Bill Knapp's Fried Chicken Fri, 02/17/06 1:17 PM (permalink)
                TJ
                Thank you so much for your reply.
                That sounds like such a simple recipe, yet Knapp's chicken was just incredible! ... it has been an itch I can't scratch since the chain closed.
                I wonder why it was packed in aspic?

                Anyhow, thanks again!

                quote:
                Originally posted by TJ Jackson

                Sonny:

                It's been 20 years since I worked there, but I do remember

                The aspic was not seasoned in any way

                The chicken was raw in the aspic, not precooked in any way

                The appearance of it was not unlike ol' grandma's jello and fruit molds - in this case, pieces of chicken essentially encased in a jello-consistency pond of aspic, in a big tub.

                The preparation was simple: fresh chicken (with all the aspic washed off, this was one of the most time consuming things one had to do as the opening/lunch cook) went into flour, then into eggwash, then flour again, and then into the fryer. This was a open fryer with baskets, not a deep fryer. It was coated and cooked per order with few exceptions, and those exceptions were saturday nights (when chix dinner included free soup and dessert) when you couldn't cook it fast enough to keep up with the demand. So regardless, it was always fresh coated and fresh cooked.

                The cooked pieces were momentarily allowed to drip drain then went immediately to plate to be garnished and set on the outgoing shelf for the wait staff.

                I am not certain if the flour was seasoned in any way, but if memory serves it wasn't.
                 
                #8
                  TJ Jackson

                  • Total Posts: 4481
                  • Joined: 7/26/2003
                  • Location: Cincinnati, OH
                  RE: Bill Knapp's Fried Chicken Fri, 02/17/06 1:32 PM (permalink)
                  Sorry, I never thought to ask why.....
                   
                  #9
                    Metler

                    • Total Posts: 1
                    • Joined: 10/22/2006
                    • Location: Ann Arbor, MI
                    RE: Bill Knapp's Fried Chicken Sun, 10/22/06 8:57 PM (permalink)
                    Back in the 70's I was in management training at Bill Knapps and remember there was also a seasoning combination Mr Knapp used. He tested it over the years. At the commesary in Battle Creak they pre steamed the Chicken. At least at that time. The aspic might have just been cold chicken fat. It did seem like more then a simple egg wash. But hey that was 30 years ago.
                     
                    #10
                      Sonny Funzio

                      • Total Posts: 902
                      • Joined: 2/13/2006
                      • Location: Detroit, MI
                      RE: Bill Knapp's Fried Chicken Mon, 10/23/06 12:49 PM (permalink)
                      quote:
                      Originally posted by Metler

                      Back in the 70's I was in management training at Bill Knapps and remember there was also a seasoning combination Mr Knapp used. He tested it over the years. At the commesary in Battle Creak they pre steamed the Chicken. At least at that time. The aspic might have just been cold chicken fat. It did seem like more then a simple egg wash. But hey that was 30 years ago.


                      Thanks for the input Metler, and welcome to the board!

                      I have been after that chicken recipe for quite a while. At one time, I was after CEO Jamie Brown for the info, but because all the Knapp's assets, including intellectual property were being sold by the bankruptcy courts, the recipe could not be divulged. What Brown was able to tell me though was that the chicken was prepared in the commissary in a sort of "steamer" ... I assumed this was a vague reference to a pressure fryer ... however, upon reading your post, maybe this was actually a steamer or pressure steamer/cooker ... that would make even better sense at that stage of the preparation.

                      Recipes can change over time ... So though maybe it's possible that once-upon-a-time the seasoning went into the fry-coating; I'm wondering if the seasoning you mention was actually in the liquid used in the steamer.

                      As far as the "aspic", It would make sense that the chicken would be put in a coating for the daily trip from the commissary to the restaurants (I recall the truck in the parking lot every morning at about 5am dropping off the days food at the Knapps near me). Whether it was aspic or, as you suggest, chicken fat, either is possible and both are likely.

                      As far as the fry-coating, as TJ Jackson mentions in his post above, flour-eggwash-flour would be spot-on for the sort of light crispy coating on the chicken.

                      The search continues ...
                       
                      #11
                        TJ Jackson

                        • Total Posts: 4481
                        • Joined: 7/26/2003
                        • Location: Cincinnati, OH
                        RE: Bill Knapp's Fried Chicken Mon, 10/23/06 1:09 PM (permalink)
                        Let me interject here that the chicken in the tubs that came every day was raw, not cooked in any way shape or form.

                        The frying was done in fry baskets, same as the ones you see at your typical fast food joint, albeit we had a 5-foot long line of them all in a row. No pressure cooking.
                         
                        #12
                          Sonny Funzio

                          • Total Posts: 902
                          • Joined: 2/13/2006
                          • Location: Detroit, MI
                          RE: Bill Knapp's Fried Chicken Mon, 10/23/06 1:30 PM (permalink)
                          That's interesting, TJ. So it just came from the commissary with the aspic coating.

                          As far as the frying, I'd known that at the restaurant it was just dropped into the standard deep fryer. That's one of the things that seemed remarkable ... a fried chicken that was so good, but didn't come from a pressure fryer.

                           
                          #13
                            Sonny Funzio

                            • Total Posts: 902
                            • Joined: 2/13/2006
                            • Location: Detroit, MI
                            RE: Bill Knapp's Fried Chicken Tue, 10/24/06 8:15 PM (permalink)
                            The Ghost of Bill Knapp's ...
                            I was poking around on the Wayback Machine today ("that's right Sherman, the Wayback Machine") and came across this link to the Bill Knapps menu ... a sad but nostalgic look ...

                            http://web.archive.org/web/20010302182408/familydining.com/menu

                            and even sadder is this letter ...
                            http://web.archive.org/web/20020927032115/familydining.com/
                             
                            #14
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