This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES Denmark.
The roasting tray at Den Fede Kylling, a restaurant whose name translates to "The Fat Chicken," sizzles. A row of roasted onions caramelises while chef Kim Soo Myung Pedersen enthusiastically explains how the soft onions have been marinated in a wicked amount of butter: "For every 5.5 pounds of onions, we use 2.2 pounds of butter."
Pedersen welcomes fat. He loves fried food, which is showcased at Den Fede Kylling in Westmarket, a food mall in Vesterbro, Copenhagen, a place he opened with three partners.
The menu looks like a dietitian's worst nightmare: Think fried chicken and waffles and rainbow ice cream with Oreos. And then there's a bastardised "hot dog," which is like nothing else: A butter-scented bun, served with sweet and soft caramelised onions, crisp and juicy deep-fried chicken, homemade mayo with black winter truffle, and a mountain of Parmesan, all topped off with a dusting of chives and freshly ground pepper.
The truffle dog is a study in fat and also a bit of a coincidence. "We had a test day where we were going to make chicken and waffles, and then we just started experimenting with all sorts of different things," Pedersen recalls. "And then our friend Morten Paaske, who's also a chef, had the idea that it would be fun to make a hot dog."
Pedersen throws a hot dog bun into what he calls "a fool-proof" toaster. It makes sure the bun gets just enough heat to be warm throughout, while retaining its soft texture. "We get the bread from our friend Hotdog John. We tested many different kinds [of buns] and also tried to bake them ourselves, but the result just wasn't [up to our standards]. So we got a hold of John and he sent us these sausage buns that are usually only produced for the Swedish market. They're baked with real butter instead of margarine, but they can't be sold in Denmark because they are too expensive."
Pedersen puts a 0.2-inch layer of fried onions into the bottom of the warm bun. "To me, the soft onions are the ultimate treat," he says. "Especially sugar onions that have completely caramelised. We thought it was important for the crispy chicken to be complemented by something soft."
The crispy chicken has been particularly challenging. Pedersen pulls out a freezer drawer filled with deep-frozen inner fillets. "We marinate the chicken in a salt and sugar brine overnight, and then we bread and freeze it," he explains. "It turned out to be essential that the chicken not be pumped [full of] water, because then the meat will be dry when it goes into the boiling oil. The frozen breading also helps protect the chicken pieces when they go into [the fryer], so that the meat will be crunchy on the outside but juicy inside."
Pedersen extricates the piping hot chicken pieces from the fryer and places them over the soft onions with a pair of pliers, then covers both with a layer of truffle mayo. "The mayo is homemade in the classic fashion, and then we stir it with a truffle pasta made from real black winter truffles," says Pedersen. "It's not great work for us, but we just wanted to have that characteristic truffle flavour."
It's only recently that Pedersen made a name for himself as a restaurateur and chef, but he was a familiar face among Denmark's most fat-happy foodies for several years. Five years ago, he started the Team Grease Facebook group, which he calls "a lodge for men who are tired of healthy food." He organises various events through it—a vol-au-vent eating competition, for example, and another where the members eat 2.2-pound tomahawk rib-eye steaks. But the group is primarily a community where people can exchange culinary recommendations, share their latest meals, or complain about society's increasing use of the sous-vide method.
"There's a lot of people who like to eat fatty foods but are somewhat ashamed of it, because it's become to popular to eat salads," he says. "I created the group [so that] people could share pictures when they've created a triple-decker toast, or they sit down and eat bacon for dessert —unashamed."
There are no rules in Team Grease. You're welcome, whether you're a trained chef and just created deep-fried foie gras with Champagne foam, or if you just like to enjoy a lard sandwich every once in awhile.
Pedersen grates a generous amount of Parmesan over the truffle dog and finishes it off with a sprinkle of chives and freshly ground pepper. If you set aside any concerns for your coronary artery and choose to take a bite, and taste the combination of soft, salty, sweet, crunchy, fatty, acidic, and crunchy, you'll see why Den Fede Kylling already has regulars who come several times a week to eat truffle dogs, even though the restaurant has only been open for a few months.
"People want to eat fatty food," says Pedersen. "And as long as you don't do it every day and make sure to exercise on the side, it's easy enough to do."