Hill Country Classic (8pc and 4 biscuits, $27, or sold individually)
It's got an extra layer of flavor from the chicken shake, and exhibits the cosmic one-ness between the crust and the skin that the great fried chicken cooks achieve—by rendering all the fat underneath the skin.
Mama Els' Recipe (8pc and 4 biscuits, $27, or sold individually)
Plenty crispy, tasty, and moist, with a good crunch, but skinless fried chicken is always going to come in second in a fried chicken cooking contest.
Texas Tenders (3pc, $6.50)
I am philosophically opposed to prefabricated chicken tenders; they're usually dry, uninteresting, and not tender in the slightest. Not here. The hand-dipped and hand-cut chicken tenders at Hill Country Chicken have a great crunchy, well-seasoned crust and, shockingly, are tender. They actually live up to their name.
A piece of boneless fried chicken breast and a couple of slices of pickle on a squishy, soft hamburger bun. It's a perfect sandwich: crispy, crunchy, salty, meaty, and sweet in every bite. The Chick-fil-A of your dreams.
Biscuits ($1 each)
They're reasonably light and fluffy and though they won't change your life, they've gotten better and less greasy every time we've had them.
Fire-n-Ice Pickles ($0.50)
Like bread-and-butter pickles given a crazy pepper kick. Worth an order or two.
Cheesy Fried Mashed Potatoes ($2.50 small)
Not as appealing as they sound; fluffier straight-up mashed potatoes would be better.
Order from the cheery yellow counter.
"Like your dad's rec room," Elizabeth Karmel told us.
The Sides ($2.50 small, $4 large)
All tasty, none quite memorable.
Pies ($3 cup, $5 slice)
Our favorites? Banaca cream, coconut cream. The apple cheddar pie had a flaky crust, cooked through cinnamon-y apples and just the right hint of tangy cheddar flavor. A creme brulee pie was a pretty excellent idea but could have been a tad creamier, and the candy-strewn "Cowboy Pie" is recommended for kids and serious sweet tooths only.
Coconut Cream Pie
Mercifully not too sweet and enlivened by orange zest and juice.
Boylan's Fountain Soda ($2.50 large)
Hill Country Chicken serves Boylan's soda (all made with cane sugar) from a fountain—they're the first place to do so, they claim.