Last updated on April 23rd, 2021 at 08:25 pm
Southern Fried Goodness!
We all enjoy fried chicken, and at Memphis, it’s a labour of love. We hand butcher fresh boneless chicken breast and then marinate it in our savoury buttermilk marinade for at least 12 hours. This allows the flavours to deepen and produces moist tender chicken. Each 10 oz portion is double dredged by hand and presented with apple slaw, sweet pickets, house Ranch dressing and a buttermilk biscuit.
The perfect combination of savoury, sweet, salty and sour, this plate is meant to be enjoyed all together, therefore, there are no modifications or additions allowed.
We think all this fuss is worth the wait, please be advised that wait times for this dish are longer than other items at Memphis.
Starting at 5:00 pm Monday through Wednesday only.
— The fried chicken description in the Memphis Fire Barbecue Company menu in Winona, ON
I swear Justin is an undercover American. Most people wouldn’t drive 1½ hours outside of Toronto for fried chicken, but Justin swore that this fried chicken was the business.
True to form, Mr. Baisden didn’t disappoint—but be careful what you wish for—what Memphis Fire Barbecue Company had to offer was more than any of us could handle!
Which Came First?
Having the farthest to travel, Lily, Sarah and I decided to leave Toronto at 5:20 to arrive in Winona, ON for 7 PM since we had no idea how bad rush hour traffic would be. As luck would have it, traffic was pretty awesome and found ourselves at Memphis Fire with 20 minutes to spare, which was just as well, since they told us it’d be a 60-90 minute wait for our group of 10!
Hot Tip: If travelling with a large group (8 or more), Memphis Fire does take reservations. It isn’t a big place (it probably seats about 80 or so), so the less surprises they have, the better.
The wait itself wasn’t the biggest problem—it was that we were all coming to Memphis Fire hungry. In Lily’s case, there was the threat of her being hangry—when you get so hungry that it makes you angry… and you don’t want to see her when she’s hangry! But when you wait for something this long, you start to celebrate the little things. When a table would finally get called up, we’d high-five them or (half-)jokingly tell them to toss some chicken back to us so we didn’t die of starvation. Ideal situation or not, it was a friendly atmosphere at the least.
Being out in the Wild Wild West and a couple of Trolls short of the full clique, Justin decided to introduce us to some of the lovely women known to join him on his Eating Your Content adventures—Steph, Marie and Rachel (okay, Rachel’s Merwin’s girlfriend, but we’d never seen her before either, so she’s going in that group)!
It was great to meet them all and they did a great job at keeping up with our hijinks while adding some of their own!
Bring the Fire!
To keep the grumbling tummies from turning into grumbling customers, the awesome Memphis Fire staff would play us with free fries—free delicious fries—that would ultimately be our undoing….
In an indefinite amount of time later (it didn’t feel like 60-90 minutes because of all the jokes we were telling) we were finally one step closer to getting our nom on—shout-out to Marie for noticing when they counted out 10 menus for us!
This Milkshake Brings All the Boys to the Yard
First up for me was a milkshake. Generally, I’m not overly fond of combining peanut butter and chocolate, but The Elvis was way better than I’d expected! Probably has something to do with the fact that they make it by hand and use the real ingredients and not a mix! In hindsight, I should’ve caught on to the “go big or go home” mentality of Memphis Fire when they brought me more milkshake than what actually fit in the glass.
Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!
There’s only so much chicken to go around at Memphis Fire! By the time we sat down, there were only 4 pieces of chicken left in the back—and with 10 of us looking to sink our teeth into a cornucopia of flavour that Colonel Sanders could never have imagined, this posed a problem. Eventually, they’d check again and Marcel, Merwin, Rachel and Steph would each take one for the team so we could sate our appetites.
Until he came back and told us there were only 5—someone had stolen one away from our sights while we were ordering.
In a scene that was like the last sacrificial play of a good action flick, Marie’s face darkened as she looked down and asked for another menu. The table fell silent as we mourned our fallen comrade from Team Delicious Chicken, knowing that we would honour her by filling our bellies with the spoils of victory for our patience.
R.I.P. Marie’s Chicken. May you cross paths again once again!
When the plates of chicken came, none of us were ready.
Piled high were four pieces of finely breaded friend chicken with coleslaw and a hearty biscuit. There is no way you would’ve found this much food for $16.99 in Toronto. Sarah and I were only able to polish a piece off apiece (ha, ha)—the rest of it wound up in the freezer and lasted another two weeks easy. The rest of the crew suffered the morning after with their newly acquired “food babies”.
Don’t Teas Me, Bro!
Memphis Fire also inexplicably carries loose leaf teas from the Jet Set Spice Company—which was perfect, because an old boss and good friend of mine is a huge fan, so I had to get her some. They even have jars of the different flavours that you can sniff to get an idea of what each flavour has to offer.
Thanks for the convenience and thoroughness, Memphis Fire!
If you’re looking to get quality chicken, value in your wallet and want to quell any fears of leaving a restaurant hungry, Memphis Fire Barbecue Company is what’s up. You’ve gotta be ready to straddle the line between hungry and starving, though, because if you’re not coming ready to eat, the portions here will get the better of you!
It’s a big world out there, and travelling an hour or so outside of Toronto isn’t gonna kill ya!