Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

Crispy and crackly with just the right amount of mouth-burning spice. A Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich is sure to become a party favorite ALL summer long.

The first time I heard about Nashville Hot Chicken, I knew I had to try it. Crunchy fried chicken dipped in spicy oil? Why hadn’t I heard of this dish before? Why hadn’t I eaten it yet?

I cooked and ate this amazing Southern creation and instantly fell in Nashville Hot Chicken love. This was one of those lip-smacking, finger-licking dishes that I just couldn’t get enough of.

Tray of fried chicken with bowl of spicy oil and brush in the corner

I wanted to share my newfound love with ALL my favorite people. And do you know who some of them are? Our babysitters.

Our babysitters are the best in the world. They are the friends who care enough to play with our kids, craft with them, and bring movies and special snacks. They honor our kids’ differences and even tidy the kitchen afterwards. Who wouldn’t love friends like these?

This year, we gathered our babysitters for a special dinner. For days, I hemmed and hawed about what to make. What would be easy enough to execute yet special enough to feel like a celebratory treat? Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwiches, that’s what.

My recipe is a mish-mash between Hattie B.’s and Bon Appetit’s. But made with boneless, skinless chicken thighs and stuffed into brioche buns with pickles and mayo. Add Lime Cilantro Slaw and you’ve got the best kind of celebration food. Just spill open a bag of chips, bring out the beer, and you’ve got a party!

For our Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich Party, the only real cooking that I did was frying the chicken. Everything else was a matter of assembly and pouring into bowls. The perfect kind of party!!

Deep Frying at Home:

If you’ve never fried chicken at home, it’s time to start. All you need is a Deep Frying Station: a large, cast-iron Dutch oven. A candy thermometer. Paper towel lined sheet pans with a cooling rack on top (if you don’t have a cooling rack, that’s ok, too). And the tools of deep frying: tongs for flipping the chicken (chopsticks actually work better) and a Spider strainer.

Also, deep frying requires a lot of oil. But what’s a person to do with the leftovers? Getting rid of the oil is a pain and seems so wasteful. And yet, the idea of reusing it seems somewhat unpleasant.

For me, I’m ok with reusing the oil. As I’m guessing most restaurants do? Wait until the oil is completely cool (I learned this the hard way, you don’t want to know). Then strain with a sieve into an old glass jar to get rid of the crumbly bits. The next time, pull out the jar and top off with fresh oil. This way, you don’t have to feel so guilty about deep frying!

This summer, invite ALL the people you love and celebrate the occasion with a Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich!!

Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

Crispy, crackly fried chicken. Burning, intensely spicy oil. A Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich is sure to become a party favorite ALL summer long!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Casual Party, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Superbowl Party Food
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Nashville Hot Chicken, Sandwich
Servings: 8
Author: The Subversive Table

Ingredients

Fried Chicken

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp Tabasco
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp salt

Spicy Oil

  • 3 Tbsp cayenne
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

To serve:

  • 8 Brioche Buns
  • 1 jar pickles
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • Lime Cilantro Slaw (see recipe below)

Instructions

Fried Chicken

  • Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and Tabasco in a medium bowl. Set aside.
    Whisk flour and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
    chicken thighs in bowl with bowls of buttermilk, flour, and egg shells on the side
  • Dredge the chicken thighs, alternating between the flour and buttermilk. First, dip into flour mixture, then dip into buttermilk, then dip (once again) into the flour mixture. Set aside finished pieces on a clean plate until all chicken thighs are dredged.
    dredged chicken thighs on white plate
  • Attach a candy thermometer to the side of a large, cast iron enameled pot. (You can also use a regular pot. I recommend a stock pot with high sides.) Fill with 2-3 inches neutral oil (I use grapeseed oil). The goal is for the chicken to float (slightly) in the oil. Once the oil reaches 370F, fry the chicken in batches until golden brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes total. Flip about halfway through to make sure both sides are evenly fried.
    cast iron dutch oven with candy thermometer attached
  • Tips for deep frying: Try to maintain a temperature of 370F. The temperature may initially dip down when the cold chicken is placed into the oil. Feel free to increase or decrease the heat, in order to maintain a temperature range of 350-380F. Make sure not to crowd the pan so that the oil temperature stays within this range. Also, after one batch is done, let the oil come back up to 370F before frying the next batch.
  • When the chicken is done, remove from the hot oil and set aside on paper towel lined baking sheet with cooling rack on top. Keep frying until all the chicken is done.
    Tray of fried chicken with bowl of spicy oil and brush in the corner

Spicy Oil

  • In a medium, heat-proof bowl, add the cayenne, smoked paprika, brown sugar, and garlic powder. Gently add 1/2 cup of hot oil from the dutch oven. The oil should bubble up and foam. Mix gently with heat-proof spoon (not plastic).
  • Brush the spicy oil onto both sides of the fried chicken. Be generous with the oil. For less spicy eaters, brush only 1 side of the chicken. If the oil gets too chunky, add more oil.
    Nashville Hot Chicken on cooling rack, brushed with spicy oil

To serve:

  • Serve with brioche buns, pickles, mayo, and Lime Cilantro Slaw. This also tastes great with good chips and beer. Encourage guests to assemble their own sandwiches at the table.
    Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich on dark plate with jar of pickles and plate of fried chicken in background

Notes

*Cooling rack is optional.  I find that it keeps the chicken crispier when making big batches. (More than 8 portions).
**This recipes easily doubles and triples.  However, when doubling, the buttermilk/egg mixture does not need doubling.  Just keep the same amount as for the 8 person portion and it should be plenty.  
 

More Large Dinner Party Inspiration:

DIY Poke Bowl Party
DIY Burrito Bowl Party

For a small dinner party:

Korean Budae Jjigae
Savory Cornmeal Waffles with Chipotle Butter

Or check out the Dinner with Friends archive for more ideas!

All Recipes, Chicken, Dinner with Friends, Main, Potluck

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  1. Pingback: Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich — The Subversive Table | My Meals are on Wheels

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