Q: Hanna, please tell us where to get good fried chicken livers. We haven't had good fried chicken livers since leaving Atlanta. Thanks.
A: Now I’m curious about your liver source in Atlanta! I’m sure our IT department wouldn’t appreciate me going into detail on this score, but I’m so fond of chicken liver that it figures into a few of my passwords.
As for Charleston’s liver secrets, I’d point you first to The Glass Onion, which has historically served spectacular fried chicken livers. But they don’t appear on the menu with anything approaching regularity, and general manager Jess Mears said that situation isn’t likely to change soon.
“I checked with (owner) Chris (Stewart) and he said they would be back on the menu in the future,” she e-mailed when I asked about their status.
Fortunately, there’s an excellent alternative on the same side of the Ashley River. On Thursdays — and only on Thursdays — Dukes Barbecue serves chicken livers and gizzards. (Since you’re new to the state, it’s worth noting here that the dozen or so Dukes in South Carolina operate independently, although all of them are somehow linked to Orangeburg County, either through blood or business. According to barbecue historian Robert Moss, co-host of The Winnow podcast, the scattered empire dates back to the 1950s, when Emanuel Dukes’ children started opening unaffiliated restaurants).
After I took a fried chicken trek along South Carolina’s backroads, a number of readers wrote to extol the fried chicken at the Folly Road Dukes Barbecue. Perhaps because I’d recently reset my bar for exceptional chicken, I wasn’t wowed when I tried it. But the fried chicken livers are terrific. Considering the restaurant’s equally impressive hash aptitude, I’m guessing liver is its favorite organ medium.
I have encountered a few overcooked livers at Dukes, but they’re generally tender and crisp. Even better, they’re thinly floured, so the livery richness cherished by high-end chefs isn’t obscured. Check it out.