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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.