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An Ode to Chicken Skins, and Where to Find Them in Greater Phoenix

The Chicka-rones from Pescado Borracho.
The Chicka-rones from Pescado Borracho. Lauren Cusimano
Vegan friends, vegetarian family, animal-friendly countrymen — cover your ears.

There’s no better taste in this world than chicken skin. It’s one of few foods, if not the only food, that makes people instinctively close their eyes and groan with satisfaction. And though we named it as a food trend that needs to die in 2017, some of us are very glad a few orders are still around.

Here are three spots in the Valley where you can find straight chicken skins.

Pescado Borracho

2540 South Val Vista Drive, Gilbert

The Chicka-rones at Pescado Borracho in deep Gilbert are chicken skins are downright hedonistic, but also gluten-free. They're all crunchy and curled at the edges, then heavily spiced, and they truly smell and look like chicharrones, but it’s all skins. (That, and the generous side of creamy queso dip.) This is also a hefty order of skins. If you pair these suckers with actual food, like a couple of Borracho's heavenly, crispy octopus tacos, you will likely have leftovers. But note: Chicka-rones are still good (and snappy) the next day, cold or reheated.


click to enlarge Trapp Haus BBQ chicken skins with honey hot sauce. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
Trapp Haus BBQ chicken skins with honey hot sauce.
Lauren Cusimano

Trapp Haus BBQ

511 East Roosevelt Street

This Roosevelt Row joint is a shrine to barbecue. Aggressive flavors are piled on by proprietor Phil “the Grill” Johnson. As good as Johnson is with brisket, he rules with chicken too (we love you, Philly Crack wings). The chicken skins at Trapp Haus BBQ are little bite-size crumbles of crunchy, seasoned skins. The paper tray is perfectly drizzled with honied hot sauce, a sweet offsetting of the saltiness. Chicken skins can arrive alone, as described, or upon the Philly Phil special — smoked brisket, hot links, and those crispy chicken skins with honey hot barbecue sauce on a toasted brioche bun.

click to enlarge The lavender-induced chicken skins at The Larder + The Delta. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
The lavender-induced chicken skins at The Larder + The Delta.
Lauren Cusimano

The Larder + The Delta

200 West Portland Street, #101

Some dishes in this town are perfect and should never be punched up or dialed down. One is the chicken skins at The Larder + The Delta. Chef Stephen Jones' skins are a little deeper in color, a little heavier in weight, a little crookier (they have as many nooks and crannies as an English muffin). And on top, the skins are coated in desert blossom honey, infused with lavender, and sprinkled with orange zest. What sets this dish apart is the lavender; the smell alone almost more than the taste.
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Lauren Cusimano was the Phoenix New Times food editor from 2018 to 2021. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.