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You Don’t Have to Go to Nashville to Get this Hot Chicken

Matt
Posted by Matt on Feb 13, 2020

 

As a chef I try to keep myself informed of the current food trends. Kombucha, oat milk, Japanese fusion and the plant-based “meat” movement are just a few of the things that have been blowing up the culinary scene lately. One trend that I have not been able to ignore is the Nashville hot chicken movement. I love fried chicken, I love spicy food, and I love regional cuisine, so Nashville hot chicken is something that hits all my pleasure receptors.

nashville sandwich

Nashville hot chicken is a staple of Nashville, Tennessee and is one of the most popular preparations of chicken going on in the culinary world right now. There are many restaurants in Nashville that serve the dish, and the city even has an annual festival and competition celebrating it. I want to know how to be a judge for that contest! It isn’t just a regional phenomenon these days however, the dish is certainly gaining nationwide attention.

There are several restaurants that have popped up in Chicago in the last year or so that specialize in this dish. The Budlong Hot Chicken has opened several locations in the past couple of years including a spot right above The Chopping Block’s Merchandise Mart location. A lot of my coworkers and I frequent this establishment on our lunch breaks, and it is delicious. Spicy fried chicken that has a touch of sweetness and comes with a slice of white bread and a couple of pickle slices? Sounds like heaven on a plate to me.

The preparation of Nashville hot chicken varies depending on which restaurant you frequent but for our purposes we are going to simplify the process. Most, if not all, iterations of this dish start with a buttermilk marinade. The chicken is then dredged in a flour mixture, egg wash and then floured again. It is then deep fried and slathered in a spicy mixture of cayenne pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, and brown sugar depending on the establishment. For this recipe, I exchanged the second round of flour for a dredging in corn starch. Corn starch will absorb any additional moisture in the chicken and fries to a yummy crispiness. Sounds like a recipe for success to me! 

I’m a sucker for fried chicken, and I absolutely love sandwiches, so why not combine two of my favorite things? Put a spicy glaze on the chicken and spread a nice sauce on it. Typically, Nashville hot chicken is served simply on a slice of white bread and accompanied by a few slices of pickles. In this recipe, I swapped out the white bread for a gourmet sandwich roll, and I exchanged the pickles for a pickle dijonaise. Dijonaise is a sauce typically reserved for burgers, but I made a few tweaks to it so that it goes perfectly on a Nashville hot chicken sandwich. Most often dijonaise is a mixture of mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. In this case, I left out the lemon juice and replaced it with pickle juice. This will give us the acidity I want to cut through all the richness and spice of the chicken. 

nashville sandwich cut

If you’re interested in other different preparations of chicken, be sure to check out our upcoming Culinary Concepts: Chicken Cookery class Monday, February 17 at 6PM at our Merchandise Mart location. Coming in March, we have an entire class dedicated to Nashville Hot Chicken! Check our calendar for the day and time that works for you. 

Pickle Dijonaise

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

2 pickle spears, finely diced

1 Tablespoon pickle juice

Black pepper to taste

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Allow mixture to sit in the fridge for at least an hour to allow flavors to blend.

 

Nashville Hot Chicken

 

To fry the chicken:

4 chicken cutlets

1 cup all purpose flour

2 eggs, well beaten

1 cup corn starch

Oil for frying

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Hot Chicken coating:

6 Tablespoons cayenne pepper

2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

 

1 cup frying oil

nashville breading

1. Pour oil into a pan and preheat on medium high until a frying thermometer reads 350 degrees.

2. Combine all the spices in a large mixing bowl.

3. Season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper on both sides.

4. Dredge the cutlets in flour.

nashville chicken breast

5. Coat the cutlets in the beaten eggs.

6. Dredge the cutlets in the corn starch.

7. Fry the chicken cutlets until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Use an instant read thermometer.

nashville frying

nashville paper towels

8. Place the cutlets in the mixing bowl with the spices and add 1 C of the frying oil. (Be careful, it’s still hot!)

9. Toss to coat.

nashville chicken plate

10. Serve on your favorite sandwich roll with a generous smear of the pickle dijonnaise, shredded lettuce and tomato.

nashville sandwich whole
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Author:
Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

ingredients:

To fry the chicken
  • 4 chicken cutlets
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • Oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Hot Chicken coating
  • 6 Tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup frying oil
For the Pickle Dijonaise
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 pickle spears, finely diced
  • 1 Tablespoon pickle juice
  • Black pepper to taste

instructions:

How to cook Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

For the Hot Chicken
  1. Pour oil into a pan and preheat on medium high until a frying thermometer reads 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all the spices in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper on both sides.
  4. Dredge the cutlets in flour.
  5. Coat the cutlets in the beaten eggs.
  6. Dredge the cutlets in the corn starch.
  7. Fry the chicken cutlets until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Use an instant read thermometer.
  8. Place the cutlets in the mixing bowl with the spices and add 1 C of the frying oil. (Be careful, it’s still hot!)
  9. Toss to coat.
  10. Serve on your favorite sandwich roll with a generous smear of the pickle dijonnaise, shredded lettuce and tomato.
For the Pickle Dijonaise
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Allow mixture to sit in the fridge for at least an hour to allow flavors to blend.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Topics: Nashville, fried chicken, chicken, Cooking Techniques, hot chicken

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