Articles by Claire Canavan
Sep 15, 2011 — By Claire Canavan
A bright red sign outlined in neon lights screams CHICKEN as you approach Ms P’s Electric Cock, a large silver trailer on a quieter part of South Congress Avenue. As you may have guessed from the attention-getting name, Ms P’s is not a place for subtlety. It is, however, a place for really good fried chicken. Or should I say fried CHICKEN! Owner Perry Ray (a.k.a. Ms P) was inspired to open the trailer because she didn’t feel there was a place in Austin focused on putting out great fried chicken and southern comfort side dishes. Growing up in Tahoka, TX, Ray learned how to make fried chicken from her great grandmother, who she called “Big Mama.” (Awesome-sounding nicknames appear to run in the family). Ray says her great grandmother “was a self-taught cook and a baker and was really good at both. Since I could stand on a stool to reach the cabinets she was teaching me how to cook.” Big Mama made her fried chicken in a cast-iron skillet, but to make larger quantities to order, Ray had to learn how to make it taste just as good in a fryer. She developed a two-step brining process and amped up the spice level of the original recipe. I stopped by Ms P’s on a Friday night to sample the goods. Funky music blasted from the trailer’s window. Official t-shirts featured a proud rooster sporting a hip pompadour and radiating electric sparks. Slogan on the back of the t-shirt: Good Cluck’n Chicken. The chicken earned its star billing. Juicy meat was encased in a crispy coating that tasted just-the-right-amount of spicy. A three-piece platter was served with soft rolls and topped with big fresh jalapenos that just about dared you to bite into them. The fries, called Farm Frites, had an extra jolt of flavor from an unexpected sprinkling of thyme.