Omnivore - The Search for Underground Chicken

A twitter-driven search for a mysterious sandwich


  • Brad Kaplan
  • This may or may not be photographic evidence of the elusive Underground Chicken sandwich

Like every surreptitious exchange of money for goods taking place beside a dumpster, this one started with a tweet. A cagey tweet that said, "Underground chicken sandwich...Park on 8th, follow your nose." Compelled by the gods of mystery and poultry, I found myself driving down Howell Mill looking for smoke or chickens or a huddle of men with forearm tattoos ... anything to indicate that cooks with time on their hands were making sandwiches for the benefit of hungry, twitter-addled individuals like myself with equal amounts of time on their hands to drive around in search of sandwiches. Finally, I saw a sign of sorts that would eventually lead me to Underground Chicken's temporary HQ.

? ? ?

  • Brad Kaplan
  • The smoker, the dumpster, and other implements of the Underground

It was a wisp of smoke, hovering over an empty lot recently cleared for construction. As I rounded the corner, I spied a shady looking character tending to a boxy black smoker. The source of the wisp of smoke.

The man keeping watch seemed nervous, deflecting my questions on the secrets of the Underground with noncommittal answers. How often do they convene? Eh, every so often. What exactly are they cooking? It's chicken. A chicken sandwich. You'll like it. Did you have to go through some hazing ritual to be accepted by your peers? No comment.

I indicated my desire for a sandwich. He looked me over, carefully judging my character - determining whether or not I was worthy. He reached for a metal object next to the smoker. For a second I thought I was done for, but it was just a pair of tongs.

He reached in the smoker and pulled out a reddish, spice-stained boneless chicken thigh. He placed it, gingerly, atop a slice of fluffy white bread, then topped it with a spurt of Alabama white barbecue sauce. Next came a plethora of pickles pulled from a Parker's Pickles jar. That's right, a plethora of pickles pulled from a Parker's Pickles jar. He looked me over one more time before relinquishing the sandwich. "That'll be five bucks," he said. I handed him a twenty and got out of there as fast as my legs could carry me.

He was right, though. I liked the sandwich.

NOTE: This story deals with matters that are sensitive in nature. Some details have been altered or embellished to protect the identity of those who wish to remain anonymous. Follow @UndergroundChix on Twitter to stay on top of the Underground. The Optimist's executive chef @AdamHEvans has also been known to tweet details on upcoming Underground events.