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Nashville Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich
You haven’t gotten a recipe in a few weeks because I became obsessed with perfecting this one. I think I finally got it both in crunch and spice. It took some time. The key is thin chicken breasts — pounded thin to a uniform thickness. Then adding corn starch to the flour with some spices. This one works. I hope you like it.
6 chicken breast cutlets or thin sliced chicken breasts. See note.
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons kosher salt
4 large eggs
16 oz. buttermilk
3 tablespoons vinegar-based hot sauce, i.e. Louisiana or Texas Pete
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
Peanut oil (for frying; about 10 cups)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, or up to 2 tablespoons depending on how hot you want it
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons Miracle Whip
1/2 cup Heinz Ketchup
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Take the chicken from the fridge, add to the ziplock bag of flour, seal without squeezing out the air. Shake the bag vigorously to coat the chicken.
Add the oil to a large dutch oven, filling it about 1/3 to 1/2 of the pot. Begin heating. You'll want to get it up to 375ºF. While heating, return to the chicken.
Remove the chicken pieces from the flour, reserving the flour. Shake each piece off of excess flour as your remove and add the chicken to the buttermilk mixture. Push the pieces down to thoroughly coat them, then add them all back to the flour bag, shaking the bag after each piece is added. When all the chicken is added back, seal the bag and again shake it vigorously to ensure a full coating.
Add the dark brown sugar, cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika to a small metal bowl. Keep it by the dutch oven with a pastry brush and ladle.
Fry the chicken in batches making sure the temperature does not drop below 330ºF. When the temperature starts creeping back up, take the chicken out, and let the oil get back to 375º.
When all the chicken is fried, carefully add 1 cup of the very hot fry oil to the metal bowl with the sugar and spices. Stir it together to blend. Using the pastry brush, brush the tops of the chicken. You'll get undissolved pieces of brown sugar on the chicken with the oil, in which the spices will have dissolved.
Serve on hamburger buns with the sauce smeared on the bottom buns. Optionally top with cole slaw and pickles. The cole slaw can help cut the heat.
If you can't find thinly sliced chicken breast, usually the Perdue Chicken brand sells that in grocery stores, get chicken cutlets. You'll want to pound them out to uniform thinness. If you can't find those, get 4 chicken breasts and pound them out thin to no more than a half inch in thickness. Cut them in half and make eight instead of six sandwiches. You're looking for chicken to fit on a bun without spilling out too much.
This is a recipe where dark brown sugar really is a requirement because of the interaction of the molasses and hot oil.
Salt dissolves in water. Spices dissolve in oil. That's the secret of this recipe and the use of the hot oil.