"After church, going to Youngblood’s for chicken was like saying "Amen" after praying."
---- Alternate City
BREAKING NEWS, Youngblood's fans! The legend is coming back to Austin.
Probably the most-lamented fried chicken place I've found is Youngblood's. I dimly remember seeing a Youngblood's Restaurant at the Old Mill place during the State Fair of Texas about 1968, yet across the internet people swear it was the best chicken ever, and replications of its recipe can still be found.
Julius Harper "Pap" Youngblood was a cotton farmer in Speegleville, just west of Waco, when he bouht 500 baby chicks in 1930, raising them as a sideline to help make ends meet. (Ever hear old recordings of Wolfman Jack hawking baby chicks over Mexican radio?)
By 1942 "Pap" and his sons, Weldon and Ovid, had got the hang not only of raising chickens, but doing it "from the egg to the table", processing and delivering feed for the poultry, and dressing the birds in their own processing plant. They opened their first restaurant in Waco in 1945 to advertise their business, and it was so successful they expanded to Dallas, opening their second restaurant in 1946 near Colorado and Zang.
Youngblood's kept growing, and by 1949 they had so much stuff they needed a fleet of 20 Ford trucks to transport it. That was good business for Ford, too, and the result of this interaction was a full page ad touting Youngblood's ingenuity, as well as the benefits of the trucks they drove.
By 1961 Youngblood's was the fried chicken king of Texas, with 60 chicken-raising farms around Waco, a chain of 14 restaurants, and about 500 people in their employ.
In 1967 Youngblood's had more than 30 restaurants in Texas and at least 6 franchise stores in the state. In 1968 they announced plans to expand with a nationwide franchising operation, but they were too late; the market was already flooded with other fried chicken franchises. That and a series of financial mishaps resulted in overwhelming debt, and all of Youngblood's restaurants abruptly closed in 1969. Some of the restaurants were sold to Mickey Mantle's Country Cooking, Inc. and the poultry processing operation was scaled back to about 12 people. By 1970 none of the Youngbloods had any association with their former operation.
Many people have asked about Youngblood's recipe. Following is the recipe submitted by reader Kay Potts. It should give you a good start. She says this method works best in a deep fryer, rather than pan frying.
You will need a bowl of seasoned flour and a bowl of liquid mixture.
For the flour, use all-purpose flour and season with salt and white pepper to taste
For the liquid use the following:
1 Cup powdered whey ("baking type" - sweet powdered whey - @health food stores & online)
3/4 Cup powdered nonfat dry milk
2 Tbsp salt - you may have to adjust depending how much salt you put in the flour
2/3 Cup water or enough to make a thin mixture
Dust the chicken pieces in the flour, then dip into the wet mix, then back into the flour.
Shake off excess & deep fry in oil at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.
Kay said the whey is what gives the batter the special flavor. She has also used buttermilk powder in place of the dry milk & whey, with good results.
Following are comments I transposed from the old blog site. I wasn't able to add them as regular comments.
Beverly Kimbrough bak @ alumni.utexas.net 9/29/2009
My family ate a lot of fried chicken from Youngbloods on Colorado, and it was good!
There was a side entrance for orders to go, and there was usually a line out the door.
|Timothy Scott timothyscott @ sbcglobal.net 10/30/2009|
David Parker llopar @ peoplepc.com 11/22/2009
In the mid 60′s I had three kids and their favorite thing to do was go to Fair Park at the Old Mill for a 21 piece bucket of Youngblood’s fried chicken and it only cost $4.95 and sit outside and and eat it.
Nancy Y. Counts wcounts @ sbcglobal.net 12/10/2009
I have “50′s menus from here. My dad was Weldon Youngblood.
This restaurant was the best producing one of the 10 or so in Texas.
Sandy Granger sgranger @ email.com 12/15/2009
I remember (?) there was a Youngblood’s around 7th St. and Davis….I think. I was six when we lived on 7th, so I may be confused.
Julie Yates Beatlegirl22 @ sbcglobal.net 1/5/2010
My parents got engaged there in 1953. I was born too late to remember Youngbloods. We had moved to Europe by the time they went out of business.
Tim Patten tjpatten @ gmail.com 1/15/2010
@Nancy Y. Counts
As kids, we loved going to Youngblood’s on Broadway here in San Antonio in the 50′s.I would get drumsticks and pour a little honey over the wonderful crisp coating. I would love to find a recipe to make it for my family.
When my husband was going through Nav. Training at James Connelly AFB we use to frequent a Youngbloods in the nearby area. Was it the same Youngbloods of which you speak now. They had the best fried chicken I ever ate.
Wayne H. 2/22/2010
My family ate once at week at Youngbloods in the 50s, so it was a big part of my life. I always used to have the chicken gizzards. I’ve never eaten any fried chicken as tasty. I remember one time when Davy Crocket was big they encouraged kids to wear their coonskin caps when they stopped in. Babes is supposed to to have their recipe but I ate Babes and it wasn’t the Youngblood recipe.
George Keelen haroldk @ cox.net
@Nancy Y. Counts
Nancy my name is George Keelen I managed the Waco store in 1953-54 I remember your mother Freida Youngblood. Your dad fired me because ho saw my truck at Willis Naler’s
Restaurant in Dallas I went to Denver Co. and opened a chain of restaurants.called
Denver Drumstick for a man named Austin Myers. I brought up Ed Rogers,John Anderson and Bill Faubion all old Youngblood Managers. I live in Las Vegas Nv now I got out of the Restaurant business 1968 went into Event and Party Rental Business in Denver.
Two of my children run it now I retired in 1994.
Joy McKee 7/27/2010
@Nancy Y. Counts
Do you happen to have the recipe from way back when? Do you sell, or share it? I would love to cherish it with serving it to my family…
Maripat Powers 8/2/2010
I saw the post from George Keelen…George, do you remember one of the Youngblood’s managers named Vaughn Mayfield? He was my dad. When I was little, he managed the Youngblood’s on Zang Blvd. in Dallas, then left to partner with a man on the Pal Waffle Shop in Irving. From there, we moved to Littleton, CO, where he was the manager of one of the Denver Drumstick restaurants. I have great memories of that restaurant, especially the model train track that circled it high up on the walls…loved to hear the train whistle! We only lived in Littleton a couple of years before the call of home (Austin, TX) pulled us back, but I thought you might remember him.
Rodney Bryant 8/2/2010
Youngblood’s was our regular take-out dinner several nights a week. Have never found a better breading since. Lots of fond memories of Youngblood’s. We also continued to eat at Mickey Mantle’s after YB closed.
Kelly Coleman 8//3/2010
My folks grew up in Oak Cliff. I grew up in Mildland and when we travelled to Dallas to see my grandparents who lived on Greebriar Ln. I would almost hyperventilate with excitement when we got to the Beckley exit off the old turnpike. It meant that we would soon be eating at Youngblood’s by Lake Cliff and have peppermint ice cream for dessert at Polar Bear around the corner!
George Keelen 8/8/2010
Mr Mayfield I remember your dad. I was the first one of the Youngblood Group to go to Denver to open the first DENVER DRUMSTICK Rest. When we opened the second one I brought Ed Rogers to run the #2 Drumstrick. the #3 store Billy Faubion. I left the Drumstick Company and opened my own Restrauant.I sold it in 1968. I have a Event and Party Rental Store in Denver that 2 of my Kids run. I live in Las Vegas NV. sence 1994.
robert keathley opacrk @ sbcglobal.net 8/31/2010
My Corsicana, Tx – American National Insurance Company – Dad was a big Dallas Eagles baseball fan (knew names, numbers and batting averages of all the players). As a young boy in the late 1940′s, I still remember vividly our family outings up the old two lane Hwy 75 via south Lamar (shoping at the big Sears store on Lamar), turning left onto Cadez and crossing the Cadez Viaduct. We’d come early and eat at Youngbloods (still the best fried chicken in the world) on East Colorado before heading back to Burnett Field. Outside the park, streetcars would stop on Colorado and fans would spill forth. My Mom loved Mrs. Inez on the organ. Really was a big league atmosphere for a 9-10 year old boy. Now at age 71, I still cherish those Youngblood / Dallas Eagle memories.
S Martin swm.martin @ gmail.com
I’d love to have the recipe too, the best chicken ever
Al Burk al.burk @ comcast.net
I live in Pasadena, TX and remember a Youngblood’s on Richy Rd in Pasadena in the 60′s. I will never forget the aroma of the fried chicken. I have been searching for a recipt to give my chicken that same taste and smell. Like you, this is for my personnal satification. I’m not in the restaurant business. I did notice a similar taste in some chicken strips from a local place and started going to food websites looking for that great recipt. Please let me know if you were able to find it. I will pay..
J. V. nightscreamer @ embarqmail.com 11/27/2010
My Mother used to work for Youngblood’s, one year she agreed to work at the State Fair during her off hours for extra money, I got to go with her and was just thrilled at the thought of being at the fair for a whole day, every time I ran out of money, I went back to my mother for more. My mother used to joke it was the only time she worked that it cost her more than she made. LOL
Jeff Weinberger 6/22/2011
@Nancy Y. Counts
I was born and grew up in dallas and about the best thing that could happen to you as a kid was to go for Youngblood’s Chicken. I have a restaurant in Austin that serves a version of Youngblood Chicken for lunch. Would it be possible for you to send me a copy of the copy of the 50’s menu that you have?
C Peters 11/30/2011
As a kid, we used to go to Youngblood’s about 1960 or 61 and still talk about it today; it was so-o-o-o gooood!!!!
John Via 12/15/2011
I certainly remember Youngbloods from my childhood,and especially when I was a student at Baylor University in the 1950′s. It was clearly better than today’s fast food chicken shacks.
Russ R 6/27/2011
I grew up in north central Dallas in the 50s. I agree that there is no fried chicken like Youngblood’s. We went there about once a week and it was long drive, but not as far as Oak Cliff. Seems like it was in the Oak Lawn area. Does anybody remember that they hid a pickle spear at the bottom of all the chicken and french fries?
Dianne angel_above0819 @ sbcglobal.net 3/11/2011
This was the only place I remember eating fried chicken in Beaumont, Texas when I was a little girl in the ’50s. It was the best. I wish we had places like that now. I would eat there if they would bring it back.
Kay Potts kaypotts @ sbcglobal.net 7/20/2012
Ok, people, here it is…. This is the recipe for Leslie’s Fried Chicken, my mom and dad worked for both and they both used the same recipe
Have a bowl with flour, we have seasoned it a bit with white pepper and a bit of salt, to taste….
Dip your chicken peices in the flour and then dip in the following mixture and back into the flour:
1 Cup powdered whey (Baking type- sweet powdered whey)This is not readily available in grocery stores, we found in online at http://www.berryfarms.com
3/4 cup powdered non/fat dry milk
1/4 cup salt (was a little salty- I might reduce this slightly next time)Try using just half of this or less, depending on how much you put in the flour.
2/3 cup water (I had to guess on the amount of water)
This mixture needs to be thin, the combination gives it the batter texture.
Dust chicken in flour, then into wet mix, then back into flour, shake off excess, cook in oil at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.
Evidently the whey is what give it the flavor. We have also used buttermilk powder in place of the dry milk and whey and it comes pretty close! This works best in a deep fryer, rather than pan frying.
The crust is amazing, holds up well a couple of days in the fridge.!
Matt Hohmann Hohmannhomes @ msn.com 7/23/2012
Youngblood’s fried chicken- Absolutely – Best Ever made & sold. I was raised on this chicken- grew up in San Antonio,Texas, ate usually there & austin – many times in waco location . Waco was last i believe that closed- up tillabout 1965 I believe they were open. I remember not only the Chicken being fried fresh ,also hot Homeade Rolls coming in a basket covered with a cloth to keep hot amd butter & Honey also on the tables there. Wish I had the exact recipes & cooking methods & heats used to duplicate that Chicken.What a great Foods there!!
Mike youngblood mikeyoungblood @ richmondfd.com 9/19/2012
Thanks for the recipe. Anyone know where I can find any Youngblood’s Chicken memorabilia?
Jim jmlrbnsn @ gmail.com 10/2/2012
I too was a Burnet Field when nearly every night and ate many meals at Youngbloods. My brother-in-law was a Texas League Umpire. My sister was J Alvin Gardner’s secy. He was the pres of the Tx League in those days. I used to sit on Inez’s lap when she played.
linda capehart l_capehart @ att.net 6/13/2013
There was also a Youngblood’s in Garland on Garland Ave and First st.
We went to both this and the Oak Cliff stores. loved the chicken and the onion rings were great.
wish I could find this great recipe.
tasted like it had yeast in the crust
Larry Youngblood lyoungblood9 @ comcast.net 7/3/2013
I was born in Waco but I appear not to be related by YDNA to the descendant of Pap and Weldon and Ovid. I would really like to get more members of this line to compare…to see if we can find a connection.
Bill Thomas Daisytex1 @ gmail.com 7/12/2013
Young bloods also had the best onion rings!
Anyone remember Buddy Chicken on Greenville? He owned Mr. Chicken.
Dan Jones dsjones75554 @ yahoo.com 7/30/2013
My grandmother lived a few blocks away on Austin Street. We visited her often in the 50s & 60s. I don’t ever remember a Youngbloods at the corner of First Street & Garland Rd. I was born & raised in Garland & loved fried chicken ! We ate at Youngbloods in Oak Cliff & at Fair Park often!
Are you sure there was one at that location in Garland?
Micky DeLoach mickydeloach55 @ yahoo.com 10/3/2013
My Grand father and mother use to take my sister and I to Youngbloods, They had a guy with a big metal warming box full of their rolls. biscuits and there was plenty of butter and Honey!! I think I would get a drumstick and filled myself with Big Butter and tons of Honey!! I would never let my kids eat so much honey unless it was at breakfast, they would have been wired till midnight like I was. But just thought about youngbloods a minute ago and had to see if they were still in Business!! Fantastic Memories!! and Great Chicken and Hot Buttered rolls/bisquits and HONEYYYYY!!! Yum!!
richard heinichen richard @ rainwatercollection.com 10/4/2013
Hello. Just wondering what kind of oil to use.
Steve bowers bwrsstvn @ yahoo.com 10/13/2013
I grew up in Oak Cliff and ate Youngbloods fried chicken often. As I remember, the crust was a deep reddish brown and like sheets of thick crust on each piece. In your recipe for the same chicken, I don’t see anything that would account for the reddish brown color. Perhaps your recipe does result in a thick, sheet-like crust and I plan to try your recipe shortly.
Thanks for your recipe and any additional information you can offer.
Kevin Starnes jksplantman @ gmail.com 11/3/2013
We ate at a Youngblood’s in Houston very often when I was a kid in the 50′s and early to mid-60′s. I can still remember the outstanding flavor. We moved from there in 1966, so that was the end, and now I understand that they closed a few years after that.
Alternate City ca2tx98 @ yahoo.com 2/13/2014
@Nancy Y. Counts