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The Southern Road: In Praise Of Zax Sauce
I am in love with Zax Sauce. So in love that I brought seven packets back from the South. If Zaxby's bottled their sauce, I would order a case.
Zaxby's is a franchised chicken chain that's had enormous growth across the South the past 20 years. The first one opened in Statesboro, Georgia, in 1990, and there are now 500, stretching across the South. There are only two things you need to know about Zaxby's: chicken fingers and Zax Sauce.
The chicken fingers are better than any tenders you will find on any fast food menu. They're white meat, lightly breaded and fried, and they go perfectly with Zax Sauce. This is supposedly a recipe for it. I don't think it's quite accurate, because these ingredients don't match what my taste buds tell me.
To me, Zax Sauce is remoulade – the pink, tangy dressing you find all over New Orleans. You'll see it most often with shrimp. There's a pink (or red) remoulade, and white remoulade. Zax's sauce is a lot like original remoulade, only adapted for its environment. It is just the right consistency – not too thick, not too thin – and coats that chicken in a perfect marriage of smoothness and bite.
It is also good on Zaxby's fries, and I found out you can substitute celery sticks for fries, and dip them in Zax Sauce. I actually think you can dip just about anything in Zax Sauce, and you'd be happy. I tried eating it straight, which is only for diehards, but I wouldn't stop you.
Think of it as the Nutella of the South. Except it's not Nutella. It's Zax Sauce. My happiest day will come when Zaxby's makes it to Michigan. Until then, if you want to impress me, don't send flowers. Send me some Zax Sauce.