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Nashville Sizzling Hen Sandwich Recipe

Why It Works

  • Brining the rooster in seasoned buttermilk enhances its taste and helps the rooster keep juicy as soon as fried.
  • A double dredging of flour creates an additional crispy coating that stays crispy as soon as coated with scorching sauce.

What’s higher than fried rooster? These of us with sturdy digestive tracts would agree—the sort of fried rooster that will get its chile-pepper talons out and claws your mouth and throat on the best way down. That is proper, none aside from Nashville scorching rooster. The mix of completely seasoned rooster that is fried till juicy and tender inside whereas craggy and crunchy on the skin, then painted with a fiery scorching sauce that ensures you will not neglect it. 

Critical Eats / Victor Protasio


Whereas the unique scorching rooster from Prince’s just isn’t a sandwich per se, it’s served on slices of white sandwich bread, so the sandwich-ification of scorching rooster is one thing of a no brainer, and at the moment a sandwich possibility is frequent on most scorching rooster restaurant menus. (You possibly can learn the complete story of this fried rooster’s history and Nashville roots here.)

Our model of the sandwich right here is impressed by Hattie B’s, one other extremely regarded palace of scorching rooster, even right down to the slather of Duke’s on the bun. We’ll admit {that a} justifiable share of Hattie B’s was consumed all through growth—all within the identify of sandwich analysis.

The artwork of frying rooster is seemingly easy, however can shortly take a flip for the more serious. It’s simple to lose management of the cooking course of as soon as the rooster hits an enormous pot of scorching oil. The outside coating can flip too darkish earlier than the rooster reaches its correct inside cooking temperature or, alternatively, the meat can flip dry and hard earlier than the coating reaches a really perfect crunch. Listed here are a number of key steps for find out how to get rooster that fries up completely crisp, flavorful and juicy for a home made model that’s worthy of the Nashville identify.

So Good, We Dredge It Twice: Tips on how to Brine and Dredge the Hen for Frying

Earlier than dredging and frying the rooster we begin with a seasoned buttermilk brine. Most southern-style fried rooster recipes begin with a brine (usually buttermilk) for a great cause. Sitting within the salt answer alters the protein construction of the rooster in order that it retains extra moisture as soon as it cooks, and the acidity of the buttermilk has a tenderizing impact. It’s additionally a possibility to begin constructing the rooster’s signature warmth with added cayenne, paprika, and black pepper within the brine. 

Whereas the brine works finest if the rooster is refrigerated within the buttermilk in a single day (eight to 12 hours), for individuals who aren’t affected person sufficient, or forward-thinking sufficient (I’ll increase my hand right here) to brine that far prematurely, we discovered that even a brief two-hour buttermilk brine seasons and tenderizes the rooster very properly.

Now it’s time to dredge. No person loves dredging uncooked rooster. It’s a assured mess. You possibly can have your dredging station as properly organized as potential, try and preserve one “dry hand” and one “moist hand” the entire time, however you’re nonetheless going to make a multitude. Embrace it. The ten minutes of getting your fingers and counter lined in uncooked rooster juices and sticky egg and flour coating is a small worth to pay for this sandwich.

Critical Eats / Victor Protasio


To begin the method, a few eggs are whisked into the brine after the rooster has been eliminated, reworking the buttermilk combination into the flavorful glue that can maintain the flour coating on the rooster.

One large objective right here is optimum crunch. This coating must be sturdy and thick sufficient to remain crunchy as soon as it is closely basted with scorching sauce and nestled right into a bun. On the identical time, it must be gentle and crispy, not powerful and doughy. To attain this, we dredge the brined rooster within the flour coating twice—moist, dry, moist, dry—to construct up a thick sufficient coating, one that can stay crisp and crunchy even after a shower in scorching sauce.

To verify this sturdy double coating can also be gentle and crisp, cornstarch and baking powder are added to the dry flour mix. Cornstarch is gentle and crisp when fried, whereas baking powder creates delicate effervescent within the coating as soon as it hits the warmth. The coating mixture of flour, cornstarch, and baking powder creates the best fried-chicken texture for this sauced sandwich.

Feelin’ Sizzling, Sizzling, Sizzling: Tips on how to Fry the Hen

When you’ve made your mess and the rooster is dredged, let it relaxation for about quarter-hour earlier than frying. Use this time to get the oil scorching and to scrub up that unavoidable dredging mess. However this resting step is not simply so that you can get organized, it is also one other method to make sure that the coating sticks to the rooster because it fries. The flour will hydrate because it sits, binding to itself and guaranteeing the coating stays glued to the rooster as soon as it goes into the recent oil. The result’s a crispier coating that can keep on. 

Critical Eats / Victor Protasio


Now it is time for the frying enjoyable. I strongly advocate a clip-on thermometer for deep frying, which makes fixed monitoring of the oil temp simple. As quickly as you add the rooster, the oil temperature will drop drastically, and also you’ll must repeatedly modify the warmth to maintain it as near 350℉ (175°C) as potential, ideally inside a 25℉ vary. At this temperature vary, the boneless thighs will prepare dinner by means of correctly on the identical fee the outside turns golden and crunchy. Pull the rooster as soon as they’re deep golden brown and register 175℉ (80°C) on the within.

Burn, Child Burn: How To Make That Signature Sizzling Sauce

This sauce ought to burn. If it doesn’t, return and add extra cayenne to the sauce (and possibly get your style buds checked by a physician, as a result of there may be a variety of cayenne on this recipe). In all seriousness, we’ve tried to accommodate everybody’s palate by giving a variety for a way a lot floor cayenne pepper so as to add. We don’t wish to hear any feedback about how this sauce is “too scorching” nor “too gentle.” You already know your palate, modify the warmth to your individual wants and do not come cryin’ to us. 

It’s value noting that there isn’t any “make-ahead” factor to this sauce. It depends on a half cup of the still-hot frying oil to bloom the cayenne and different spices. Just a few tablespoons of butter can also be melted into the recent oil for richness—as if a fried rooster sandwich isn’t wealthy sufficient—after which liberally basted onto the rooster. It’s finest to baste whereas the rooster and the sauce are nonetheless scorching and recent. The warmer and brisker, and fewer likelihood of the sauce turning the rooster soggy.

Critical Eats / Victor Protasio


The ultimate presentation for this sandwich is purposefully easy. A hefty smear of mayonnaise (ideally Duke’s) and some pickle chips (ideally dill) are all it wants. A buttery brioche bun guilds the lily with a remaining hit of richness, plus it’s sturdy sufficient to help the hefty fried-and-sauced thigh. All that’s left is to take an enormous chew into that spicy fowl. Simply be ready, she is going to chew again.

This recipe was developed by Catherine Jessee; the headnote was written by Leah Colins.

Nashville Sizzling Hen Sandwich

Spicy, crispy, juicy fried rooster served on a brioche bun with mayonnaise and pickle chips that can make your mouth burn.

For the Hen:

  • 1 1/2 cups (355ml) buttermilk

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) Crystal scorching sauce or different Louisiana-style scorching sauce

  • 4 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt; for desk salt use half as a lot by quantity, divided

  • Six 3– to 5-ounce boneless skinless rooster thighs 

  • 2 massive massive eggs

  • 1 1/4 cups all objective flour (5 3/4 ounces, 150g)

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (1 1/3 ounces; 38g)

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 teaspoon gentle candy paprika

  • 1 teaspoon freshly floor black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 2 quarts (2L) impartial oil equivalent to vegetable or peanut, for frying

For the Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter

  • 1 to three tablespoons cayenne pepper (9 to 25g)

  • 2 tablespoons packed darkish brown sugar (about 1 ounce; 28g)

  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt; for desk salt, use half as a lot by quantity

  • 3/4 teaspoon gentle candy paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon chile powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly floor black pepper

  • 1/2 cup (118ml) reserved scorching frying oil, from above

For Serving:

  • 6 brioche hamburger buns

  • 6 tablespoons (90g) mayonnaise, equivalent to Duke’s model

  • Dill or bread and butter pickle chips

  1. For the Hen: In a big bowl, whisk buttermilk, scorching sauce, and 4 teaspoons salt till mixed. Add rooster to the buttermilk combination and switch to coat evenly. Cowl and refrigerate for no less than 2 hours or as much as in a single day. 

    Critical Eats / Victor Protasio


  2. When able to fry, set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Take away the rooster from the buttermilk combination, permitting extra to drip off into the bowl, and set rooster on the ready baking sheet.

  3. Whisk eggs into the buttermilk combination. In a baking dish or pie plate, whisk flour, cornstarch, cayenne pepper, paprika, black pepper, baking powder, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt till mixed.

    Critical Eats / Amanda Suarez


  4. Working with 1 rooster thigh at a time, dredge in flour combination, turning to totally coat and urgent to stick, then shake off extra flour combination. Dip rooster again into reserved buttermilk combination, let extra drip again into the bowl, then dredge within the flour combination a second time, turning and urgent to coat evenly. Return to wire rack and repeat with remaining rooster thighs. Let rooster relaxation on wire rack for about quarter-hour till able to fry.

    Critical Eats / Victor Protasio


  5. In the meantime, modify oven rack to center place and warmth oven to 200°F (90°C). Set a clear wire rack in a clear rimmed baking sheet and line wire rack with a triple layer of paper towels; put aside. Add oil to a big Dutch oven or pot till it measures about 2 inches deep. Warmth oil over medium-high warmth to 350℉ (175°C). Fastidiously add 3 rooster items and fry, flipping rooster midway by means of frying, till rooster is golden brown and registers 175℉ (80°C) on an instant-read thermometer, 8 to 12 minutes. (Alter warmth as wanted to take care of oil temperature between 325 to 350℉.) Switch rooster to ready paper towel–lined rack and switch to oven to maintain heat. Repeat with the remaining rooster thighs. Measure and reserve 1/2 cup scorching frying oil.

    Critical Eats / Victor Protasio


  6. For the Sauce: In a big heatproof bowl, mix butter, cayenne, brown sugar, onion powder, salt, paprika, chile powder, and black pepper. Pour reserved 1/2 cup scorching frying oil over combination and whisk vigorously till mixed and butter is melted. 

    Critical Eats / Victor Protasio


  7. Brush 1/3 cup butter sauce over high of rooster; reserve remaining sauce for serving.

    Critical Eats / Victor Protasio


  8. For Serving: Unfold 1 tablespoon mayonnaise evenly on every bun backside. Place rooster on bun bottoms, then high with pickles and bun tops. Serve with remaining scorching sauce. 

    Critical Eats / Victor Protasio


Particular Tools

Clip-on or digital instant-read thermometer, massive Dutch oven or massive sauce pot

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