Original Pappy Parker's Smokey Mountain Fried Chicken

Double Chili Cheeseburger
2011/07/07 05:49:23
I've never had it. We used to eat at a Hot Shoppes when I was a kid here in town or on the Turnpike rest stops, but short of a burger or fries was all I ever had. I realize this was a chain back then, but the personal development by Marriott's founder over the years from a cafeteria fare Maryland Fried Chicken through several incarnations to what became Pappy Parker's and then later the stand alone brand at Roy Roger's and the company owned Big Boy Franchises is interesting. I'm not sure, but I believe that Hardee's offered it too after their aquisition of the original Roy Rogers.
Does anyone remember the original offering when it was still a Hot Shoppes product? Was it a true contender for the fast food QSR fried chicken brands or still a restaurant fare product? The original Maryland version recipe was published by Marriott themselves in the 80's and it's nothing remarkable beyond a salt,pepper,and paprika based breader and conventional egg wash that was deep fried, but the sense I get it was not actually immersion deep fried, but pan fried originally.
Any info on this chicken and the later Pappy's? 
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Original Pappy Parker's Smokey Mountain Fried Chicken 2011/07/07 23:38:58
We  may not get any expert replies to this post for a few years, until someone "on the inside" finds this post using a search engine.
In the mid 80's I used to eat at a Hot Shoppes in Bethesda, Maryland, hometown of Mariott at the time. A few years later, I bought a copy of "Marriott Hot Shoppes Cookbook: Sixty Years of American Cookery". IIRC, The introduction to that book came with all kinds of disclaimers and the frank admission that Hot Shoppes made their recipes with some ingredients not available at retail. So, they used combinations of grocery store products to mimic their foodservice ingredients. I gave up on that book when my dishes didn't taste anything like the stuff served in Bethesda. If you read the amazon reviews for this book, one former Hot Shoppes employee infers that the book should be renamed Grimm's Fairy Tales:
I'm sure I had their chicken there a few times, but can't remember anything about it. I also had the chicken in the Roy Rogers restaurants when they reached the NYC area, and it was pretty good. Some Hardees also did start selling the Roy Rogers product after Hardees bought Roy Rogers. Fast forward to today. Hardees now sells boneless chicken products. I have heard, but not been able to verify, that some Hardees in the mid-Atlantic states also still sell the bone-in chicken.
Some Bob's Big Boy restaurants still offer Pappy Parker's chicken on their menu; check menus on the various Big Boy franchisee web sites, such as Pasadena's:
post edited by David_NYC - 2011/07/08 10:02:36
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Original Pappy Parker's Smokey Mountain Fried Chicken 2011/07/08 11:22:03
I have a few more thoughts about this chicken.
1. I believe the recipe you talked about for Maryland chicken published by Marriott is this one:
I am just about certain this recipe is no where near what they were using for Roy Rogers/Pappy Parker back in the 80's. With Marriott making a fortune from Roy Rogers and Big Boy franchisees, no way could they publish the recipe. This is alluded to by Paul Moloney in his review on Amazon.
2. I don't know if the story about Bill Marriott creating the recipe is true. It may just be PR hype. The batter used by Roy Rogers is similar to that used by KFC and Popeyes. If the recipe for KFC was created by head of company Col Harlan Sanders, would it not sound good if the recipe for Pappy Parker's was created by head of company Bill Marriott?
3. Most of the signature menu items found today at stand-alone Roy Rogers are not exactly the same as in, say, 1985. But this is true of most QSR chains. Every time there is a thread here on Roadfood, everyone says KFC is not as good as in the old days. The people who supplied the food to the restaurants also changed. Back in the mid-80's, the Roy Rogers down the block from me in NYC was supplied by a tractor trailer with Maryland plates with "Marriott, Bethesda, MD" written on the driver side door. Last time I passed a Roy Rogers, there was a Maines Food Service truck in the lot. Not sure if was delivering food or just stopping to eat, however. With the small size of the chain now, the franchsor may be using more off-the-shelf food items rather than the custom products used in the past.
4. Currently, the closet place from NYC to get good Roy Rogers chicken is the franchisor-owned stand-alone stores in and near Frederick, Maryland. There is one 200 yards or so from the executive offices of the franchisor, and the food there is consistantly good. There is a staggering total of 6 alone in Frederick, 2010 population 65239.
5. About the recipe: if you want to taste the chicken rather than just study the history of it, you are up against cloning the recipe, just like those folks who try cloning the KFC recipe. I never paid attention to how the chicken was cooked (pan, deep fried, fried in a pressure cooker, etc.), but the taste of the breading I find similar to Popeyes.
Gone on too long. Will PM you with more "juice".
Re:Original Pappy Parker's Smokey Mountain Fried Chicken 2011/07/08 11:45:52
worked at marriot in the 80's we got the pp spices in a small pack and added it to flour it was mostly white peppr not a lot of other
herbs no red from paprika mostly salt wh pep and a little garlic powder.it was dipped in flour mix then egg wash then flour mix and deep fryed at 325. we would soak the chicken in salt water for about a hour befor breading cover chix with water pour about a haif cup
salt over it about a gallon of water to 10# chiix. also only would hold it a short time so it was hot and crispy. ther fried shrimp were awsome and burgers were fresh ground every day .day old burger went in to the chili made every day.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Original Pappy Parker's Smokey Mountain Fried Chicken 2011/07/08 13:45:12
Thanks, bdtn. This is the first time I heard of marinating chicken in salt water. A lot of fried chicken recipes call for buttermilk. I would not be surprised if there was MSG (Accent) in that packet of spices as well.
I find your list of ingredients may about describe what is in the batter these days. I would think that today the restaurants would be supplied with bags of flour pre-mixed with the spices. This guards against the kids working there not mixing the spices in with some parts of the flour.
post edited by David_NYC - 2011/07/08 13:46:13
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Original Pappy Parker's Smokey Mountain Fried Chicken 2011/07/08 16:40:18
I spent an academic quarter working/living in Washington, DC in the mid-1970s, and I remember reading a favorable review of Hot Shoppes and Pappy Parker's chicken in, of all places, a hard-cover book of restaurant reviews published by (I think) the Washington Post, though it may have been the Washington Star (which still existed at the time).   The reviewer (whose first name was, I think, David -- and if he was at the Post he predated Phyllis Richman) just loved Hot Shoppes.  Of course, in those days, the dining options in Washington, DC were much more limited than they are today. 
An aside:  I don't work in the food service business, but I always soak my chicken for an hour in a mixture of water, salt and baking soda before draining it, flouring (with salt and pepper mixed in) it, and pan-frying it.  I started doing it that way after reading the recipe in the cookbook that accompanied the old PBS cooking show, "Great Chefs of the West." 
I personally don't care for chicken that is marinated in buttermilk, and I never use a batter.
Re:Original Pappy Parker's Smokey Mountain Fried Chicken 2011/07/08 17:03:31
we had all the old hot shoppes recipes in our recipe file marriot was very proud of them. most coffe shops used them when possible all our food was prepared with the recipes from the file they were on 5 by 8 cards probly around 2-3 thousand cards in all .one of my jobs
was pulling recipes for the menus and checking that the cooks were using them.I also like to add old bay to my salt water for the chix
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Original Pappy Parker's Smokey Mountain Fried Chicken 2011/07/08 17:41:14
David, the standard nowadays (and probably since the mid 80's) for almost all qsr chicken is cryovac fryer pieces, usually 2 head's worth packed in a 12% brine and sodium phosphate direct from the packer. The sodium phosphate acts like the gentle tenderizing effect of buttermilk or milk, so the chicken is pre-brined and pre-tenderized as it comes out of the package and ready for use. Not all the chains used to brine or tenderize, especially those that used pressure frying. Earlier chains and cafeterias used a combined packaged brine of powdered milk and salt that was mixed together when they were using unfrozen, iced chicken. Buttermilk, powdered, or regular milk tenderize equally well. Both the milk brines and the phosphate pack need to be rinsed b4 use anyways to remove the brine. Egg wash/powdered egg. dry milk isn't used that much anymore for binding as it causes too much browning of the breader and there are better ways to do it with less of a chance of breaking or blowing off. People prefer "golden" chicken nowadays and the breaders are often multi-use for tenderloins that cook nearly a third of the time of chicken pieces, but still need an appetizing color. Better adherence of the breader is now facilitated by multipurpose modified wheat starches that create a heat stable gelling on contact with a water dip and also absorb moisture and oil in the finished product for better holding. MSG is a non-word now as are saturated and transfats. Glutamates or inactive yeas derivatives that enhance taste are often in the breader too, but you can claim MSG free. Some brines include MSG and powdered chicken flavored broth base as well in commercial brines. Some are flavored with seasoning extracts. Another factor in the brining besides apparent juiciness and bulkier pieces is a prolonged cooling effect on the meat keeping at boiling temp then at oil temp. Breader doesn't really start to brown until much of that boils away. That brings us back to the golden color that people prefer. Much of that color is not due to browning as much as it is to colorants such as paprika extracts, tumeric, and annatto. BTDN mentioned immersion frying at 325 degrees. That's more a later development as farm raised fryers are reaching 2 1/2-3lb weights in 6 weeks rather then months. Cooking temps and pressure frying pressures have gotten lower as the meat is more tender then years ago. One problem with the lower temps though is oil absorption. The hallowed range is not to go below 330-340 degrees or oil saturation increases. Fryers nowadays have near instantaneous recovery, so dropping chicken into lower initial temps no longer has to worry about long recovery from temperature sag. 
Regarding the mixes. You're right, all are pre-mixed breaders now in 25lb bags for the reason you mentioned. Earlier, the standard was a spring wheat near cake flour similar to the old White Lilly or Martha White type flours. A 25lb bag was typically mixed with 3lbs of a very fine or flake salt that was much finer then table salt (much less in recent years especially those using flavor enhancers in the seasoning mix). Seasoning mixes varied over a pound and for the most part black or white pepper. Trying to get a homologous mix isn't exactly something a kid's going to try very hard to do stirring in a bus pan. 
ann peeples
Re:Original Pappy Parker's Smokey Mountain Fried Chicken 2011/07/08 20:26:58
Rumaki, I will be trying your method. What type of oil do you pan fry the chicken in?
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Original Pappy Parker's Smokey Mountain Fried Chicken 2011/07/09 11:28:32
I use Crisco.  It's what my mother used when I was growing up, so it is what I use! 
I've tried using various kinds of oil, but I just can't get past Crisco (even though it has been reformulated).
Again, this is pan-frying, NOT deep frying.  I use an electric skillet -- which is NOT non-stick, so that tells you how ancient it is -- and generally use enough Crisco to have about a half-inch of melted shortening in the pan.  After I've soaked the chicken, I drain it in a colander, then dredge the individual pieces (again -- flour, salt and pepper is all I use, so people who prefer hot and spicy chicken would most likely find it dull)  in a big bowl and let the chicken rest during the time it takes to heat the shortening to the requisite frying temp so the flour will adhere better. I'm not even sure what temperature I use because the thermometer on the pan is not accurate, but I'd guess it's about 380 degrees.  I brown the chicken on both sides uncovered, then cover the pan, and cook the chicken until tender, turning as necessary, but always being careful not to scrape off the crust that's formed, and I take the lid off again for about 5 minutes at the end to crisp the skin.
Then I remove the chicken, drain on paper towels on the serving platter (I remove the paper towel before actually serving the food), pour off most of the shortening (but saving a few tablespoons and as much of the "crunchy" coating that has come off during frying as possible), and use 1/4 cup of the flour mixture, browned in the shortening, to make milk gravy, adding some more fresh-ground pepper to taste. 
I take no credit for the recipe.  The soaking, as I said, is an idea I got from "Great Chefs of the West."  And the methodology is my mother's, who grew up on a farm in south-central Illinois.
I'm sure there are millions of other ways to do it, but that's how I do it.
ann peeples
Re:Original Pappy Parker's Smokey Mountain Fried Chicken 2011/07/09 13:17:53
Sounds very much like the method my Mom used( Crisco, non stick electric fry pan and all!) I will be attempting your method as I just have never been able to make decent pan fried chicken.Thanks!
Junior Burger
Re:Original Pappy Parker's Smokey Mountain Fried Chicken 2013/08/20 17:09:12
We used to go to Pappy Parkers (or at least bring home carryout) a lot in Philadelphia in the 1960s-early 70s.  I recall it was good but probably not restaurant quality.  There is an old building at the edge of Erdman Shopping Center in NE Baltimore that always struck me as a former Pappy Parker's (if it hasn't fallen down by now).  The anchor store (now a Shop-Rite I believe) looks like it was once an A&P with the retro curved roof.
More on topic, I haven't been to Frederick in decades but there is a Roy Rogers on Rt 140 between Reisterstown and Westminster MD, closer to the latter.  Haven't eaten there though.
Junior Burger
Flagged as Spam (3)
Re:Original Pappy Parker's Smokey Mountain Fried Chicken 2013/08/28 05:01:46
dear  ann peeples
you like to eat warm and fried chicken or cooking it to our home visit to known its tharappy  Hotels in Bhopal