The Unorthodox Epicure — Batter Fried Wings and some Electric Cock

Fried chicken is truly done one of two ways, and the oven ain’t one of them. You can either pan-fry or deep-fry. Either, when done properly, will have you eating fried chicken from someone else’s hand. Ms. P, of Ms. P’s Electric Cock, is one of the few purveyors of deep-fried battered chicken that can do just that.

But you won’t find her in your town, unless you live in Austin. And though she has a regular location, Ms. P also has wheels. So, don’t be surprised if you see her Spartan trailer beyond S. Congress in Texas’ weirdest city. In the mean time, feel free to eavesdrop on a recent Q&A after I indulged her legendary Crispy Fried Chicken and wonderful Truffle Mac & Cheese.

msplogoTell me a little about yourself — and why you decided to get into the food trailer business selling fried chicken.
My passion has always been cooking.  I feel at peace in the kitchen and I love making others happy with food. Simply put, food is love and I put a lot of my love into my food.  After 32 plus years in a successful sales career I realized it was time for a major change.  My heart just wasn’t in it anymore and I knew it was time for a new chapter in my life. However, I love meeting and getting to know people.  So what better way is there to get to really know someone than breaking bread together?  My loving husband pushed me to pursue the one thing he knew made me truly happy and that was cooking for others.  I have been known for many years amongst friends and family for my Fried Chicken & Waffles.  In fact ,we have had many parties for others that we called our “Fried Chicken & Waffle” party.  We realized [5] years ago (I can’t believe I’m saying that) that there really weren’t any really great fried chicken and/or waffle places to eat at in Austin.  We also realized to go out and just open a restaurant with no experience was not only expensive but just plain crazy.  So we latched on to the progressive trailer movement here in Austin and went out in search of an original looking, vintage trailer.  We hitched ourselves to the Spartan.  We love the look and the feel of the Spartan family of trailers.  They look different than an Airstream (which everyone was and is doing) and the rake off of the back end of a Spartan, is just plain sexy.

I’m a southern boy myself and grew up eating some divine yard bird. I have to say that yours is right up there. Did you develop the recipe? And were there any adjustments required for preparing it in a food trailer?
I grew up in a small farming/ranching community in West Texas.  We farmed, cooked and ate what we grew or raised.  We had every animal that most farmers that live off the land do.  Food was always such a celebration at our home and we knew we were grateful to have it.  My recipe has evolved over years for my fried chicken as many of my recipes have and do.  I am always in search for a better way to make something.  I grew up using a cast iron skillet for most of our meals.  Most importantly to fry chicken in. I realized with limited space in a trailer I would have to do it different. So I went to work for a major fast food fried chicken franchise (actually applied at several and was told I was over qualified).   It was there I knew I could learn what equipment that they used to get a consistent product cooked in a short amount of time.  I was certainly not interested in their recipes or their chicken process.

Ms. P's 2-Piece (drum & wing). This is the best fried chicken in Austin, folks.

Ms. P’s 2-Piece (drum & wing). This is the best fried chicken in Austin, folks.

What’s your favorite piece of chicken, and why?
I would have to say it is a toss-up between a wing and a drum.  Now most folks don’t know this but a wing is white meat.  However, the wing is so tasty because of the meat that sits so closely to the bone.  But I love dark meat as well and there is just something about holding a drumstick with chicken grease from ear to ear that makes me really happy.

Fill in the blank: If I weren’t selling Austin’s best fried chicken from a food trailer, I’d be  — .
In television and or film.  I was an aspiring actress all throughout Jr. H.S. and High School (even named “Class Clown”).  Probably no surprise to anyone that knows me because I love to make others laugh as much as I enjoy laughing at myself.  I was involved in every UIL One Act Play and Theatrics that I had the honor to be cast in.  I never pursued it after H.S. simply because I had a guidance counselor that told me a small town country girl like myself could never make it in Hollywood.  She said “they will eat you alive.”  Kinda ironic when you think about it, huh? The rest is history and I believe that I am on the exact journey I was meant to travel.  So many of the twists and turns in the road of my life have undoubtedly brought me to this place in time.

Do you remember for very first food truck/trailer meal? What was it? And what is your favorite non-Electric Cock food truck meal?
Before the trailer movement, I think any Austinite could say they had a taco from a food trailer or stand somewhere. I personally never had one that was memorable.  However, my friend Paul Qui who owns the East Side King trucks and his new restaurant Qui was the first I ever had outside of a taco.  It was the one behind Liberty Bar and it blew me away.  I couldn’t figure out how they were putting amazing restaurant quality food out of a truck but I sure wanted to know.  Paul catered my birthday party at a posh penthouse of a friend of mine here in Austin in 2009 and I loved him right away,  Paul was very instrumental in giving me advice on the do’s and don’ts of owning a food trailer that was soon to become successful.  I will always love him for that.

Ms. P — Austin's leading lady of fried chicken

Ms. P — Austin’s leading lady of fried chicken

I’m in a far away town and I’m hungry. There are food trailers aplenty. What do I look for to help ensure the best quality?
It is my belief that from the time you look at the exterior of any food establishment, it will tell you a great deal about the quality of the food and overall experience.  Better yet, it should tell you a story. How much attention to detail are the owners and the people that are a part of the team giving to the establishment?  It could be a hole in the wall or a greasy spoon and I enjoy plenty of places like that.  But it better be well thought out, clean, clean, clean, friendly & knowledgeable service and wait staff.  Is their trash outside?  Are the bathrooms clean?  Have they maintained the exterior of the space they are cooking in?  One can name their food establishment as many catchy, kitschy, fun and even bizarre names as they want but you better have a place that looks like they are proud of what they are doing and back it up with consistent, quality food. I’ve been known to turn around and walk out of a place that may have been recommended if the first person that greets me is unfriendly or unkempt looking.  I’m just an ‘ole farm girl but I know that people and details really matter.

I must know about the name of your mobile restaurant – Ms. P’s Electric Cock. How’d you come up with it?
We named our place after a band.  Their name was “Ms. Ray and The Royal Family Electric Cock.”  They played at the infamous Hole in the Wall off of the drag here in Austin.  My last name (one of many — inside joke) is Ray but I have over a dozen nicknames that all start with P.  Even though we had many people say we would never get anyone to eat at a place called Ms P’s Electric Cock Fried Chicken we went with our gut. Our gut said just do it.  Many people have a lot of laughs and a lot of fun with the name and that’s okay with me.

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So, if you are one of my 14 loyal followers, you know that deep (batter) fried chicken has a special place in my heart. Want the best? Buy plane tickets to Austin and go visit Ms. P (please tell her I sent you.) Want to make your own version? Try this one. It’s a crispy batter that doesn’t absorb too much oil.  The batter will be thin. No worries. This stuff will have you telling your diet to hit the road … for one meal, anyway.

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Batter Fried Wings

Batter Fried Wings — Want to escape your diet? This is the ticket.

Batter Fried Wings — Want to escape your diet for one meal? This is the ticket.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Batter Fried Wings
 
This batter is somewhere between a light tempura and audibly crunchy. It holds very little oil and is outstanding for chicken or vegetables.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer/Main
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 3½ lbs - Chicken drumettes (the wing 'drumstick')
  • 4 cups (approx) - Milk
Batter
  • ½ cup - All-purpose flour
  • ½ cup - Cornstarch
  • ⅔ cup - Cold water
  • 1 tsp - Baking powder
  • 1 tsp - Salt
  • 1 tsp - Black pepper
  • ½ tsp - Cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Pour milk over chicken, cover and refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours, and preferably overnight.
Make the batter
  1. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, black and cayenne pepper and cold water. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before using.
Fry the wings
  1. Heat about 2 inches of oil in a deep pan to 350° F.
  2. Drain chicken and pat dry.
  3. Remove batter from refrigerator and whisk to mix again. It should be slightly thinner than pancake batter. If not, mix in a tsp of water (at a time) until it reaches that consistency.
  4. Coat drumettes a few at a time in batter, allowing excess to drip back into the bowl.
  5. Carefully place battered chicken in hot oil and fry until golden, about 8-10 minutes. (Internal temperature should be 160°F.
  6. Place cooked chicken on wire cooling rack placed over a baking sheet to cool slightly.

Comments

  1. Confession time. I just cannot get on the wing wagon. Just isn’t my favorite piece of chicken. My question is, is this recipe suitably adaptable to say… boneless chicken thighs or even breast meat?
    If you are going to name a restaurant, make it memorable as you do the food you serve. She appears to have.. are you ready…. nailed it.
    Over and out.

    • adamjholland says:

      She has nailed it indeed, Jill. I would use this recipe with boneless thighs and (boneless) breasts. If you are going the tenderloin route though, you might consider dipping them in egg to speed up the browning process. — If you are ever in Austin… Do yourself a solid and experience Ms. P’s Electric Cock.

  2. Lol I love that “Fried chicken is truly done one of two ways, and the oven ain’t one of them.” Also, how interesting Ms. P wanted to be an actress once upon a time. Just makes me think she’s as dynamic and fun as her food. I will definitely have to give her fried chicken wings a try next time I’m in Austin!

  3. I had to read this just by the title of the post! Good story and I love fried chicken, so this sounds great to me. We have a chicken truck here in SC called 2 Fat 2 Fly and they are also doing very well. They are a bit different of course as they are cooking stuffed chicken wings of all kinds. Check it out: https://www.facebook.com/pages/2-Fat-2-Fly/10850209026?sk=timeline

  4. I love your posts and recipes, Adam! Your stories are motivating and educational while your recipes are palatable! I couldn’t ask for more.

Trackbacks

  1. […] For most of my years, my father’s Sunday Fried Chicken was the best. But along the way, I favored Kentucky Fried Chicken (only for a few days in 1976), the drumsticks served by the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas, the Peg Legs once offered at Long John Silver’s and Grandy’s thighs. Oh, there was also the divine yard bird served at a since-closed motel in Mt. Pleasant, Texas and the plump juicy legs and wings from Ms. P’s Electric Cock in Austin. […]

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