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Which states and cities have the best barbecue, pizza and fried chicken?

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A survey of 2,000 general population Americans has found Texas takes the title for best barbeque (23%) and New York claims their fame for pizza (38%). Meanwhile, states like Kentucky, Louisiana and Georgia clinched the top spots for fried chicken.

More than three-quarters (78%) feel so strongly about their need for fried chicken to be made to perfection — and said nothing less is acceptable.

In fact, nearly 30% of respondents reported eating more fried chicken in the last year than ever before, while 55% are saying their homemade fried chicken is better than anything they can buy at a restaurant or fast-food establishment.

Commissioned by Perdue in honor of National Fried Chicken Day and conducted by OnePoll, the study also revealed nearly a quarter of the population (23%) has a fear of frying chicken at home — citing it’s too messy (57%), too dangerous (37%) and too time-consuming (33%).

For other states, what makes fried chicken perfect is everything from the cut of the meat to the seasonings and the accompanying sides and drinks.

As meat preferences go, a third of respondents said they would rather have bone-in drumsticks (35%) or bone-in breast and tenderloin meat (33%) than any other part of the chicken.

The West prefers dark meat with the bone-in (42%). Meanwhile, 37% in the Midwest and 34% in the Southeast prefer light meat with the bone-in.

“Whether you prefer the leg or breast, or white versus dark meat, it’s important to consider the quality of chicken when frying for National Fried Chicken Day, as well as using proper temperatures—which is key to getting great tasting, juicy fried chicken,” said Chris Moyer, Corporate Executive Chef for Perdue Farms.

The perfect fried chicken recipe even had people arguing over the best methods to season and prepare the dish. Across the board, must-have seasonings include salt and pepper (69%), garlic (50%), onion (40%), buttermilk (32%) and paprika (30%).

Southeasterners and Midwesterners agreed the best way to make chicken crispy is to use flour (41% and 37%, respectively) for the breading. In comparison, 38% of Southwestern respondents said egg dredging first, then flouring the chicken is the best way to make it crispy.

In the West, nothing beats barbeque sauce (35%) and hot sauce (29%) with fried chicken. Those in the Southeast are more drawn to ranch (29%) and those in the Southwest go for ketchup (30%).

And while everyone agrees fries are the best side for fried chicken (43%), people in the Southeast prefer mac and cheese as a popular side (24%).

As accompanying drinks go, soda takes the top spot (52%), but the Southeast can’t step away from classic iced tea (43%) and many in the Southwest have a penchant for fruit juice (13%).

“Regional takes on fried chicken give people a sense of pride and love for the dish,” said Moyer. “While buttermilk is a classic style for many across the country, it’s fun to explore different iterations of the dish, such as broasted, Nashville hot and Korean fried.”

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