Grease. It makes everything taste that much better. From french fries to deep-fried pickles, Americans have a love affair with the deep fryer. For centuries, people have been cooking with oil, and today our desire for all things fried and crispy hasn't waned. So, ignore those calorie counts and sink your teeth into some deep-fried goodness (just don't make these foods a habit!).
Willie Mae's Scotch House
New Orleans, Louisiana
If you want a taste of good Southern home cooking, look no further than Willie Mae's Scotch House in New Orleans. Famous for its fried chicken, Willie Mae's has been serving up home-style meals since the late 1960s. Although Hurricane Katrina wiped out Willie Mae's original location in 2005, the New Orleans landmark reopened shortly thereafter and continues to live up to its reputation for good Southern cuisine.
Brooklyn, New York
What's better than turkey on Thanksgiving? The answer: deep-fried turkey, any day of the year. Jive Turkey is one of the only places north of the Mason-Dixon Line where you can get a whole turkey deep-fried in 20 minutes. If you'd like a taste of the South, try Jive Turkey's Cajun deep-fried turkey -- fried with a Creole blend of herbs and spices.
At Goodson's Cafe, you can get your steak deep-fried just like your chicken. For over 50 years, Goodson's has been serving up its popular chicken-fried steaks to the masses. What's the secret to Goodson's success? The secret might be found in the gravy -- peppered-creme-based gravy adds an extra kick to chicken-fried steaks, and according to the 1,600 folks who frequent Goodson's Cafe each week, the steaks can't be beat.
Sodolak's Original Country Inn
How do you get bacon extra crispy? Deep-fry it. Sodolak's has been serving up chicken-fried bacon to the public since 1977. The Snook, Texas, hot spot has been a culinary haven for locals and truck drivers passing through the town for 30 years. If you don't like your steak fried, don't worry -- Sodolak's also serves "traditionally cooked" steak, grilled to perfection.
Hollywood Cafe is where the deep-fried pickle was born. Fried in beer batter with cayenne pepper and chili powder, the deep-fried dill pickle has been making folks flock to Hollywood Cafe since the 1970s. Want something more substantial with your fried pickles? Try the deep-fried frog legs. According to the locals, they "taste like chicken."
Memphis is not only the birthplace of the blues; it is also where the greasiest hamburger was born. Dyer's Burger is the home of the ultimate greasy burger. Each burger is smothered in oil and topped with mustard, pickles and onions. Even the bun is doused in oil. What's the secret to the taste? According to the owner, they have been using the same batch of grease to fry up each burger since 1912.
Clifton, New Jersey
If you want your hot dog a little crispy, head over to Rutt's Hut in Clifton, NJ. Each hot dog or "ripper" is deep-fried in vegetable oil, which makes the outside skin rip open when fried. The result is a crispy outside layer and a soft, juicy middle. The relish is just as famous as the hot dogs -- made with a secret blend of mustard and spices.
Brooklyn, New York
In 2001, a British-born cook named Chris Sell established CHIPSHOP in Brooklyn, NY. His goal was to bring British comfort food to the city of New York. Although CHIPSHOP is famous for its fish and chips, it is also famous for its willingness to fry anything. From pizza to chocolate bars, you name it, and CHIPSHOP will fry it.