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Popeyes

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    Score: 4.40. Votes: 5

    Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken and Biscuits has become the third largest quick-service chicken chain in the world in the twenty-two years since its first store opened in New Orleans in 1972. (KFC has the number-one slot, followed by Church's Chicken). Since then, the chain has grown to 813 units, with many of them overseas in Germany, Japan, Jamaica, Honduras, Guam, and Korea.

    Cayenne pepper and white pepper bring the heat to this crispy fried chicken hack.   

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.33. Votes: 15

    I first created the clone for this Cajun-style recipe back in 1994 for the second TSR book, More Top Secret Recipes, but I've never been overjoyed with the results. After convincing a Popeyes manager to show me the ingredients written on the box of red bean mixture, I determined the only way to accurately clone this one is to include an important ingredient omitted from the first version: pork fat. Emeril Lagasse—a Cajun food master—says, "pork fat rules," and it does. We'll could get the delicious smoky fat from rendering smoked ham hocks, but that takes too long. The easiest way is to cook 4 or 5 pieces of bacon, save the cooked bacon for another recipe (or eat it!), then use 1/4 cup of the fat for this hack. As for the beans, find red beans (they're smaller than kidney beans) in two 15-ounce cans. If you're having trouble tracking down red beans, red kidney beans will be a fine substitute.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.64. Votes: 14

    At these New Orleans-inspired quick-chicken restaurants portable paper pouches of this seasoning blend hold about 1/4 teaspoon of tasty sprinkle, and Popeyes doesn't sell it in stores. The only way you'll get a decent portion to use on your home foods is to either horde dozens of envelopes of the Cajun seasoning or whip up your own home version. I recommend the latter. One secret ingredient in this basic seasoning blend is MSG, or monosodium glutamate, which is an important part of the delicious flavor. You'll find MSG near the other herbs and spices in your market under the brand-name Accent. If you don't want MSG on your food you can certainly leave this ingredient out of the mix. You won't get the best Top Secret clone, but the blend will still be very good on anything that needs a dash of salt, flavor, and a little bit of spicy heat.

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    Score: 3.25. Votes: 4

    In 2007 America's number one Cajun-style restaurant celebrated its 35th birthday with 1,583 stores worldwide. But Popeyes didn't start out with the name that most people associate with a certain spinach-eating cartoon character. When Al Copeland opened his first Southern-fried chicken stand in New Orleans in 1972, it was called Chicken On The Run. The name was later changed to Popeyes after Gene Hackman's character in the movie The French Connection. In addition to great spicy fried chicken, Popeyes serves up wonderful Southern-style buttermilk biscuits that we can now easily duplicate to serve with a variety of home cooked meals. The secret is to cut cold butter into the mix with a pastry knife so that the biscuits turn out flaky and tender just like the originals.

    Source: "Top Secret Recipes Unlocked" by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Ah, chicken gizzard. It took me more than eighteen years to find a recipe that requires chicken gizzard -- not that I was looking for one. But I've seen the ingredients list on the box that comes from the supplier for the Cajun gravy from Popeyes, and if we're gonna do this one right I think there's got to be some gizzard in there. The gizzard is a small organ found in the lower stomach of a chicken, and your butcher should be able to get one for you. After you saute and chop the gizzard, it is simmered with the other ingredients until you have a thick, authentic Southern gravy that goes great over the Popeyes Buttermilk Biscuits clone, or onto whatever begs to be swimming in pure flavor. Get ready for some of the best gravy that's ever come off your stovetop.

    Source: "Top Secret Recipes Unlocked" by Todd Wilbur.

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