You read that right. Here's my submission to the Fried Chicken Sandwich Wars. Watch out Bojangles, move aside Popeyes, say a prayer Chick-fil-a.
Some one please explain to me why I've never seen a fast food chicken sandwich use chicken thighs. Ignoring the fact that they are superior in every way to a chicken titty, they are usually quite a bit cheaper. I love them and so I use them almost exclusively for my chicken sandwiches. With that being said, my wife definitely prefers white meat, this recipe works just as well with those.
Making great fried chicken really isn’t all that hard, after all most of these fried chicken joints teach teenagers how to pull it off consistently everyday. It just takes a willingness to go through the effort, which while not the most time consuming recipe I'll ever publish, does take some time, many ingredients, and will be somewhat messy. Save it for a Sunday and make plenty of leftovers for lunches during the week, that's what I do.
Making great fried chicken really isn’t all that hard, after all most of these fried chicken joints teach teenagers how to pull it off consistently everyday.
There are really only two absolutely-fucking-critical things in this recipe that you shouldn't ignore, skip, or speed up under any circumstances. It's what gives you all those amazing crunchy bits that you see in the above photo.
Add a little bit of the buttermilk to the flour before coating
Let the coated chicken rest for at least 15 minutes
Cole's Table Enters the Chicken Wars - Fried Chicken Sandwich
Total Time: Days
Active Time: 1 Hour
Note: I also use this exact same process when making chicken tenders or frying whole pieces on the bone.
3 Lbs Chicken
If using breasts, slice into .5ish inch filets, if using thighs, which I highly recommend, trim any gristle that remains from the deboning process, and cut in half.
1 Qt Buttermilk
1 Tbs Hot Sauce
3 Tbs Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
3 Tbs Kosher Salt
2 Tbs Garlic Powder
1 Tbs Sweet Hungarian Paprika
1 Tbs Onion Powder
1 Tbs Thyme
.5 Tbs Oregano
.5 Tbs Mustard Powder
.25 Tbs Coriander
.25 Tbs Celery Salt
3 C All Purpose Flour
.5 C Corn Starch
.3 C Fine Ground Corn Meal or Masa Harina
1 QT Rendered Chicken Fat (Substitute Peanut or Vegetable Oil if you desire)
For the sandwich:
Two of your favorite bread and butter pickles
Roasted Garlic Lemon or Hot Sauce Aioli
Start by creating your spice blend in a plastic deli container, mix the fresh cracked black pepper, kosher salt, garlic powder, sweet hungarian paprika, onion powder, thyme, oregano, mustard powder, coriander, and celery salt. Shake to combine and set aside.
Add the buttermilk, hot sauce, and half of the seasoning blend to a large ziplock bag, pour .5 Qt of the buttermilk into the bag and combine with the spice blend.
Add the chicken to the buttermilk marinade. If the buttermilk is not completely submerging the chicken, add just enough to cover the tops. After sealing the bag, shake and massage the marinade into the chicken, reserving in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
Prepare your dredge. In a doubled up large brown paper grocery bag, add the all purpose flour, corn starch, corn meal, the remaining spice blend, and one additional Tbs Kosher Salt. Shake gently to distribute all ingredients.
Prepare to dredge the chicken by placing a large wire cookie/ baking rack on the counter. The rack should be large enough to hold all of your chicken without touching. Work in batches if necessary.
Before placing the chicken in the dredge, dunk your fingers to the buttermilk mixture and allow for it to drip into the dredge. Lightly toss the dredge to create little sticky flakes of the dredge, this will help develop the crispy bits on the crunchy surface you are looking for.
Working in small batches so as to not overcrowd the chicken in the bag, place 3 pieces of chicken at a time into the dredge. Do not allow all of the marinade to drip off the chicken as you are removing it from the buttermilk. Roll the top of the bag closed and shake aggressively, keeping on hand on the bottom of the bag at all times to avoid ripping. Press chicken into flour after shaking.
Remove the chicken from the bag and place it on the wire baking rack. Repeat until all chicken has been floured and is on the rack.
Allow chicken to rest on the wire rack for 15-20 minutes. This will allow the gluten to develop to create a perfect crust, and will also allow the chicken to reach room temperature for more even cooking.
While the chicken is resting, bring 1.5 inches of chicken fat, peanut or vegetable oil to 375F over high heat in a cast iron skillet or stock pot. You will want to make sure the heat is high enough that when adding the chicken to the oil, it will recover to 375F fairly quickly, do not allow the oil to dip below 350F. You may have to adjust the heat as it cooks to keep it in the proper range.
Preheat the oven 200F. Place a clean wire baking rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper next to the stove top.
Working in batches, fry 2-3 pieces of chicken at once. Ensuring to never over crowd the chicken in the pan.
Fry for about 3-4 minutes, or until golden, and flip. Fry the other side until the color develops and the exterior is crusty. About another 3-4 minutes.
Remove from the oil and place on the prepared baking rack. Sprinkle with kosher salt. While working in batches, place the prepared baking rack in the oven to keep warm.
To assemble the sandwich:
Toast the brioche bun over medium heat until color develops
Spread the aioli on the top bun,
Place the fried chicken filet on the bottom bun, then add three slices of pickles.
Cap off the sandwich with the top bun, flip a bird to Colonel Sanders, and enjoy your own entry into the chicken wars