Chicken Crack was born five and a half years ago when a friend asked me to cook 400 pieces of chicken for a party she was having. At the end of the night, the chicken was gone and a group of people were still standing around the foil pan where the chicken once was, picking the leftover breading crumbs from the bottom of the pan. Another friend who was sitting across from me remarked that the chicken was so addicting it was like a food drug. I quickly responded, “Yes, it’s chicken crack!” We giggled for a minute and then someone suggested that I should start serving it at the bar I co-owned. I remember thinking “maybe I will.” A short time later, I did exactly that, offering it as a special deal on Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. That was all I could handle as I was still working as a district human resource manager with a national retailer and working a lot of hours. It became a pretty huge hit, and one night someone mentioned that I should package the dry product and sell it in the retail market.
After thinking about it for a couple weeks, I started to look at packaging options. I remember thinking about my mom making fried chicken every now and again when I was a kid. I remember she placed the flour and salt and pepper in a large paper bag and shook the daylights out of it. I smiled at that thought. I soon found a food-grade Kraft paper bag with a poly liner that offered tear tabs (as there is nothing worse than not using the entire product and having no way to store it) and a resealable zipper. That was the first packaging I purchased for the product Chicken Crack. Months later, I didn’t like how the packaging appeared after it had been packed and shipped, so it was time to start looking at another container that would hold up and still be picture perfect after shipping. I tried a few new bags, one was even metallic. I finally settled on a white poly-lined bag. That choice lasted up until last year when the company we ordered through stopped carrying that pouch. I settled on a heavy white foil poly-lined pouch which we still currently use.
I went to a little party store near the bar I co-owned with my packaged product in hand and pretty much begged them to put it on the shelf. They agreed, but the product moved slowly. I remember being so disappointed. I knew if I could just get this product into people’s mouths, I would have them hooked!
I stopped and dropped off samples everywhere I could. I started a website www.chickencrack.com and waited. My first break came when my insurance broker called and asked me to send some samples to another of his customers. He gave me their business address, and I sent the samples out the next day. They own a fish market in Redford but also serve chicken, and they loved it! They were interested in using the bulk product in house as well as wholesaling the 13ounce packages via their wholesale fish business. It caught on pretty quickly; everyone seemed to know just how good the product really was fairly fast. Soon, another distributor contacted me and really helped put the product on the Michigan map. He owned a long-standing spice distribution route that ran from Saginaw to Toledo and as far west as Battle Creek. It was an instant hit and these two companies remain my biggest distributors to date.
Our product line has expanded from just one simple but very tasteful chicken breading to seven products including Chicken Crack Hot, Chicken Crack Buffalo Style, Lemon Pepper, Sweet Rub, Fish Crack and Fish Crack Beer Batter.
Today, our products can be found in 125 markets in Michigan, Toledo and, very recently, in San Diego, California. The product is distributed by six distributors and proudly boasts that it is “Made in Michigan” via the label.
For more information on Chicken Crack, visit www.chickencrack.com. Lynn Blitti is also the owner of Incredible Edibles in Roseville.