Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwiches with Fennel Slaw and Iceberg Lettuce

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Chicken:

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

3 cups buttermilk

4 large eggs

2 tablespoons hot sauce

Vegetable oil, for frying

Chili Oil:

3 cups vegetable oil

1/4 cup dark chili powder

1/4 cup smoked paprika

1/4 cup cayenne pepper

1/4 cup crushed red pepper

Dredge:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Shake:

2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons white pepper

2 teaspoons dark chili powder

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

Fennel Slaw:

1 fennel bulb, halved, cored and thinly sliced

1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Assembly:

1 cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke's

1 cup thinly sliced iceberg lettuce

12 dill pickle chips

8 slices bakery white bread

Directions

Special equipment:
a deep-fry thermometer; deep fryer (optional); instant-read or probe thermometer; spice shaker
  1. For the chicken: Place the chicken in a baking dish. Whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and hot sauce in a medium bowl; pour over the chicken and let marinate for 10 minutes to 2 hours at room temperature.
  2. For the chili oil: Stir to combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan and heat over high heat to 300 degrees F. Remove from the heat.
  3. For the dredge: Whisk together all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. For the shake: Whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl and transfer to a spice shaker.
  5. Preheat vegetable oil in a deep fryer to 325 degrees F. (Alternatively, heat 2 inches vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven to 325 degrees F over medium heat.) Working one at a time, remove the chicken from the marinade and add to the dredge. Thoroughly coat the chicken, patting gently, and shake off any excess dredge. Carefully lower the chicken into the oil and fry, turning the chicken as needed for even browning, until golden brown and crispy with an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from the oil and let rest on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.
  6. For the fennel slaw: Combine the fennel, cabbage and vinegar in a medium bowl. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Dip the fried chicken in the chili oil and return to the resting rack. Thoroughly dust each piece with the shake until no oil shows through.
  8. Assemble the sandwiches: Spread the mayonnaise on 4 slices of the bread. Top each with some of the lettuce, 1 dusted chicken thigh, some of the fennel slaw and 3 of the pickle chips. Close the sandwiches and serve right away. 
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