Recipe courtesy of Valerie Bertinelli

Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken Sandwiches with Pickle Slaw

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 20 min
  • Active: 1 hr 5 min
  • Yield: 4 fried chicken sandwiches
Pickle juice has so much flavor: the vinegar, the dill, the mustard seeds…everything gets infused into the chicken.


For the Chicken:

For the Pickle Slaw:


  1. Make the chicken: Arrange the chicken thighs on a work surface, smooth-side up. Using kitchen shears, make a few cuts in the thickest part of each thigh; this will help the brine absorb and also help the chicken cook evenly. Put the chicken in a large bowl and cover with the pickle juice. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the fridge for 2 hours.
  2. After 2 hours, remove the chicken from the pickle juice and pat dry. Let sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the pickle slaw: Put the cabbage in a medium bowl and add the pickle juice, vegetable oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using clean hands, massage the cabbage to help it slightly break down. Add the mustard, chopped pickle, onion and fresh dill and toss. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the sandwiches. (Leftover slaw can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days.)
  4. Fill a large Dutch oven with 3 inches of vegetable oil, attach a deep-fry thermometer and heat to 350˚ F. When the oil is almost heated, make your batter: Combine the tempura mix, tapioca flour and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl; pour in the club soda and whisk. It should be slightly thinner than pancake batter.
  5. Working in 2 batches, dredge the chicken thighs in the batter, allowing the batter to cover the chicken fully. Shake off any excess, then transfer the chicken to the hot oil and fry until golden and crisp with an internal temperature of 165˚ F, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the chicken to a wire rack and sprinkle with salt; fry the remaining chicken.
  6. Assemble the sandwiches: Open the buns and lay them cut-side up on a clean surface. Spread the mayonnaise on the top and bottom buns. Place a piece of chicken on each bottom bun. Top each piece of chicken with a heaping 1/2 cup of the slaw and place the top buns on the sandwiches.