Judge’s first stop on road to ‘Bama’s Best’

Published 3:00 am Thursday, July 15, 2021

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Patsy Gibson entertained guests at her hometown business, Crowe’s Chicken in Brundidge, at noon Wednesday. To say the guests were VIPs would be an understatement. Gibson’s guests were the judges in the statewide Bama’s Best Chicken Tenders Contest sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation poultry division.

Gibson’s Crowe’s Chicken is a finalist in the statewide contest. Crowe’s Chicken was the first stop on the four-stop taste test that will determine which chicken tenders are Bama’s Best.

Other finalists are the Chicken Shack in Luverne, Bobby’s Restaurant in Eva and J’s Hole in the Wall in Bryant.

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Sitting down to a Crowe’s chicken tender lunch were Russ Durrance, ALFA, Melissa Bowman, Simply Southern TV and Tami Culver, Alabama Department of Agriculture.

“We didn’t do anything different because we don’t know how to do anything different,” Gibson said. “We cook our chicken tenders just like we’ve been doing right here in the same location since 1999. That’s a long time.”

She shared the story of how she started working for Sherrill Crowe in Troy when she was 14 years old and how she learned to cook chicken through observation.”

Crowe’s chicken is a favorite not just with local folks.

“People come a long way to eat with us,” Gibson said. “We don’t ever want to disappoint our customers.”

Gibson said the pandemic has taken its toll on the restaurant business and Crowe’s is no exception.

“We work seven days a week and it’s hard to get help, so we close early on Sundays to give our workers a rest,” she said and expressed appreciation to those, customers and workers, who have stuck with Crowe’s during these difficult times.”

The table was set for the judges with Crowe’s “usual” chicken tenders meal – tenders, or nuggets as the locals would say, French fries, fried okra, baked beans, slaw, a roll and, of course, Crowe’s special sauce.

If “cleaning one’s plate” is an indication of the enjoyment of the meal, then the judges enjoyed their “dinner.”

They asked questions about the number of tenders sold, how the tenders are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, about the beans and the crispy okra and especially about Crowe’s special sauce. That answer came in a friendly and roundabout way.

“Sugar?  Maybe, a little,” Gibson said with a smile.”

For Gibson and her staff at Crowe’s Chicken in Brundidge, it has been an honor to be among the contest entries and to be a finalist in Bama’s Best Chicken Tenders Contest.

She expressed appreciation for the customer support over the years and pledged that she and her staff will continue serving chicken that is always something to “Crowe” about.