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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3 comments

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

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gonna attempt this tomorrow. Like the website

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gonna attempt this tomorrow. Like the website

    ReplyDelete