By Andrew Zimmern
Pickle brined fried chicken three ways – Nashville style hot chicken, buffalo sauce and dry rubbed with Sichuan peppercorns and cumin. So easy and delicious, you gotta try it for Super Bowl Sunday!
Fried Chicken Sandwiches
- 2 cups of pickle juice
- 6-10 chicken thighs, boneless (some like skin on, some don’t, your preference)
- 2 cups buttermilk beaten with one egg
- 3 cups of mixed flour, corn starch and rice flour
- Sea salt, ground celery seed, and ground pepper
- Frying oil or lard
Place the thighs and juice in a zip top bag, sealing as you squeeze out the air. Store overnight in fridge.
Two hours before frying, place thighs on a small rack over a pan in the fridge and air dry, discarding the brine.
Dredge the chicken in the buttermilk-egg mixture and then season with the salt, celery seed and ground pepper. Then dredge in the mixed starches. Repeat if you like, some people love a thicker crust.
Heat frying oil to 375 degrees F. Fry the coated chicken thighs for 8-10 minutes, depending on the size. I like to add a few slices of bacon to the fryer, an old Edna Lewis trick that adds a hint of smoky pork-ness to the oil.
Sichuan– Season the chicken immediately with 2 teaspoons ground Sichuan peppercorns, 2 teaspoons cumin and 1 teaspoon salt. Add more to taste if you like.
Buffalo– Toss fried chicken in 2:1 mixture of hot sauce to butter and serve. Frank’s and Crystal brands work great for traditional flavor/heat.
Nashville Hot– remove chicken to a plate with a paper towel. Ladle 6-8 ounces of hot frying oil into a stainless steel work bowl. Immediately add 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon garlic powder and 3 tablespoons hot sauce of your choice. Again, this is a place to use a hot sauce with FLAVOR and heat. Whisk to combine and liberally brush the seasoned oil on the chicken or dunk it in the mixture for maximum heat.
On a toasted potato roll, with pickles, and your condiments of choice – cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, etc, but please opt for simplicity.
- For the Buffalo sandwich, think blue cheese and celery shavings
- For the Sichuan sandwich, think sliced cucumber and hoisin sauce
- For the Nashville Hot, think of a cold glass of water!