100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 90, Chicken Sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers

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Photo by Groovehouse
This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

Although it's a burger joint, my favorite thing at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers doesn't come with beef. It's the chicken sandwich, an unlikely contender but by far the better of the two sandwiches that the three-month-old restaurant makes. (There's also a hot dog, which I haven't tried yet.)

What makes the chicken sandwich special is a combination of several items; this is a sandwich that's greater than the sum of its parts, which starts with a grilled chicken patty unlike any wobbly, uneven chicken breast you've ever received haphazardly balanced atop a mealy bun. JerryBuilt co-owner Brooksy Smith explained that it's a proprietary blend of chicken that the restaurant created to ensure the chicken patty would cook evenly and still taste juicy.

"First, we remove the skin," Smith said. That "good" fat is set aside, while the rest of the chicken is stripped of its tough intramuscular fat. Then, the breasts, thighs and drumsticks (but not wings) are all ground together. The final step is adding the skin back in for just the right amount of binder. It's served between two soft yet sturdy buns baked especially for JerryBuilt by Three Brothers Bakery.

I like the chicken the same way that Smith does: topped with jalapeño cream cheese, bacon and Ernie's sauce (a blend of ketchup, Duke's mayonnaise and Wickles Pickles relish). I also add pickles and onions for crunch -- you can add anything to your sandwich free of charge here, so feel free to go as nuts as I do -- and wash it all down with some of the housemade lemonade. It's the grown-up version of Chick-fil-A, and JerryBuilt is even open on Sundays.

The list so far:

No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac
No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's
No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets
No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito
No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery
No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar
No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch
No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito
No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F.
No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe



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12 comments
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FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

OK, I went today to try it.  I found the taste to be quite good, but again, the bread to meat ratio was off.  Both sandwiches need to double up on their meat.  I personally didn't like the Ernie's sauce, and if there was actually cream cheese on it, I thought it was just more Ernie sauce. 

I also decided to try the hot dog.  It was a mixed bag.  The wiener and the chili I opted for were good, but again, the meat to bun ratio was too large.  Also, for "cheese" they simply placed what looked to be kraft singles on top.  Major fail, there.  The shining parts were the Wickles relish and the tableside organic mustard.  Overall, I'd say skip it.

That said, I plan on going back next week for one more try, mainly because I noticed that starting tomorrow (for 1 week only) they will have sweet corn on a stick as an side option.  While there, I'll double up on the chicken and see if that is the main issue after all.

Kelli
Kelli

What?  Sweet corn on a stick?  I'm going tomorrow.  I couldn't stand the burger, hopefully this chicken sandwich will be better, and I love love love their strawberry lemonade.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

 Went and tried it tonight.  The double meat was better, and only $1.50 to add, but the corn was the star, and something they need to keep on the menu.  You can get it either with butter for .99 or "Elote" style for $1.99.  Both were excellent, and a great addition to the menu.  Hopefully they figure this out.

Sarah Rufca
Sarah Rufca

I love you but this sandwich is gross.

Billy Radcliffe
Billy Radcliffe

What is the texture on that thing like? I'm really not a fan of most any patty chicken preparation.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

It's the same consistency as a burger, or a ground turkey burger/patty. I suppose it could be off-putting to someone expecting a chicken breast, but it's really quite good.

Feldman
Feldman

 It's better than a breast and it's evenly cooked. I like it. A lot.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

But it looks so tiny. 

Meh, I have one of those bulletin board-sized coupons for a freebie, so I'll try it tomorrow.

Feldman
Feldman

It's the same size as their burgers. 

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I think that's just the DOF on the photo above. It's the same size as a chicken sandwich you'd get a Chick-Fil-A, for instance.

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