Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

Thursday, June 25, 2020


Okay, so this was a little faster than I planned to be back, but something pretty important slipped my mind! About a week ago on Instagram, I helped amplify a fundraising challenge for an incredible organization out of Detroit, Give Merit. Their goal was to raise $50,000 to send Black youth to college, each with a $5,000 college scholarship thru the FATE in Our Stars program. I offered up the recipe for this Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich in return for donations, because well...anything to get people to click a link. I'm thankful for the support of my audience and happy to report that the 11th graders exceeded their fundraising goal! Below you'll find the recipe, which was originally developed as a menu special for Kuzzo's Chicken & Waffles.

For those who don't know, Nashville Hot Chicken originated at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, a Black-owned establishment in Nashville. The fiery fried chicken has been popular for over eighty years now. This is my interpretation as a fried chicken sandwich, topped with a tangy slaw. For me, a good slaw is what really seals the deal on a spicy chicken sandwich, because it adds the necessary acidity to cut through the rich flavors. Keep in mind this was written for a restaurant - it's definitely more of a project for a home kitchen. I recommend saving it for a weekend when you're not in a rush. Check out my previous tutorial on frying chicken if you need a primer.  


Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

Hot Seasoning Mix:
1 tbsp cayenne
1 tbsp hot paprika
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp  salt-free poultry seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ancho chile
1/2 tsp dry mustard

Makes about 1/2 cup of seasoning; store leftovers in a sealed container.


Fried chicken:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 oz each)
3 cups buttermilk, divided
2 tbsp + 2 tsp Kosher salt, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tbsp hot seasoning mix (recipe above)
1 egg
2 tbsp cayenne hot sauce
Peanut oil, for frying

Nashville sauce:
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp hot seasoning mix (recipe above)
2 tsp cayenne
2 tsp honey
2 tbsp hot frying oil

Slaw:
1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage 
1/4 cup thin-sliced red onion 
1/4 tsp Kosher salt, plus more to taste 
1/2 tsp dijon mustard 
1/2 tsp honey 
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar 
2 tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp celery seeds
Pinch of cracked black pepper

Other sandwich ingredients:
1/4 cup mayo
2 tsp cayenne hot sauce
4 Brioche buns
8 pickle slices

Active Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 24 hours
Yield: Serves 4
Special Equipment: Dutch oven or other large heavy pot, heavy duty sheet pan fitted with a metal rack, instant-read meat thermometer (check that it's safe for temps up to 400°F or higher), spider strainer or skimmer

Recipe instructions

 
  • Prepare the hot seasoning mix by mixing all the spices together thoroughly. Set aside.
  • For best results, pound chicken breasts to an even thinness. You can do this by placing the chicken inside of a plastic zip bag so as not to make too much of a mess. Use a meat pounder or other heavy object, like a jar, to pound the chicken from the center out towards the edges. You're simply aiming for it to be the same thickness throughout, for even cooking.
  • In a large bowl, mix 1 cup of buttermilk with 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt to dissolve thoroughly. Brine the chicken breasts for 4 hours. (If you prefer to brine longer - up to overnight - reduce the salt to 1 tablespoon.)
  • Shake off excess buttermilk and discard. (Do NOT reuse this buttermilk, it will be too salty.) In a clean bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons of hot seasoning mix. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 cup of fresh buttermilk, the egg, and 2 tablespoons of hot sauce.
  • Dredge each chicken breast lightly in seasoned flour, then dip in buttermilk/egg, then back into the seasoned flour. Get a good, thick coating in the second dredge. Shake off any excess flour. Rest the dredged chicken for 30 minutes on a clean pan.

  • To prepare the slaw, toss shredded cabbage and onions with salt. 
  • In a small bowl or jar, whisk the dijon mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, canola oil, and celery seeds. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. 
  • Toss the cabbage mix while drizzling it with vinaigrette. Taste for seasoning. The slaw will keep for a day but is best prepared fresh for the sandwich, to stay crisp.
  • Pour enough peanut oil into your pot to reach about 3" high. Heat the oil to 375°F. 
  • Fry the chicken breasts in batches, do not crowd the pot.  The oil temp will drop to 325-350° but maintain the heat so that it doesn't dip below that. Let the oil heat back up to 375°F in between batches. 
  • Cook until the breasts reach 160°F internal temp, as measured by an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center. 
  • After frying, rest the chicken breasts on a clean rack, fitted over a sheet pan lined with paper towels.

  • While the chicken is frying, in a separate pot, prepare the Nashville sauce. Melt butter with the seasoning mix, cayenne, honey. Add some of the hot frying oil and stir. Keep warm.
  • Mix the mayo and hot sauce to make a spicy mayo.

  • Toast your brioche buns.
  • Baste or dip each chicken breast in the Nashville sauce before assembling a sandwich. At the restaurant, we also sprinkle the chicken with more of the hot seasoning - optional step!
  • To assemble, spread 1 teaspoon of spicy mayo on the bottom bun. Top with fried chicken, then pickles, then slaw. Spread 1 teaspoon of spicy mayo on the other bun and top the sandwich.







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1 comments

  1. That looks sooooooooooo amazing. Thank you for the work you do xxx

    ReplyDelete