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Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

Homemade Nashville Hot Chicken

Nashville Hot Chicken and Coleslaw

What is Nashville Hot Chicken?

As a food connoisseur of sorts, I always keep my ear to the ground trying to stay on top of the latest food trends. I first became aware of the trend in 2016 and quickly decided that I had to try some for myself. The history of this dish predates my late coming to the party by almost 80 years. Legend has it that during the 1930’s in Nashville, Thornton Prince, suspected of being a philanderer by his girlfriend, was served what he thought was his favorite meal of fried chicken. As revenge, his girlfriend tried to add the most diabolical spices and heat possible as a form of retribution; perhaps an unfair twist of fate for her, Prince loved it and eventually started his own Nashville hot chicken restaurant. The rest is history.

At Carman Brook Farm, we try to take traditional recipes and fit in a maple element wherever we can. This recipe isn’t well known for its sweet profile; however, brown sugar is traditionally used to cut the hot sauce and add some balance. Our thinking is why not try some very dark strong taste maple syrup as a substitute and see how it turns out. I can say with full confidence that it was one of our favorite meals we’ve cooked this year.

One final thing to consider, heat preferences vary widely across the spectrum, don’t be afraid to cut or add the amount of cayenne to suit your preference. As constituted in this recipe, expect a medium-low heat profile.

Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken

For our vegan friends, this recipe is easily adapted to suit your diet. Consider swapping out the chicken for firm tofu, cutting it in half to make two nice “patties” and freezing overnight to improve the texture. Next, remove from the freezer and marinate with pickle juice or soy milk rather than buttermilk. Also, the butter can be dropped for vegetable oil or Crisco as an alternative. 

How to Make Nashville Hot Chicken

Total Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts (cut into pieces for sandwiches and/or tenders)
  • 1 purple cabbage
  • 1-2 jalapeños
  • ½ cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp of lime juice
  • 3 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • ½ cup of panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup of butter (or lard)
  • Cooking oil (as appropriate for your cooking vessel)
  • 1 ½ cup of buttermilk
  • 5 tbsp of cayenne powder
  • 2 ½ tbsp of paprika
  • 3 ½ tbsp of garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp of onion powder
  • 5 tbsp of salt
  • 5 tbsp of pepper
  • Sandwich buns (type as desired) or white bread

Brine:

  • 1 ½ cup of buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp of cayenne powder
  • 1 tbsp of paprika
  • 1 tbsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp of onion powder
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of pepper

Coleslaw:

  • 1 purple cabbage (chopped thinly)
  • 1-2 jalapeños (depending on heat preference)
  • ½ cup of mayonnaise (or to preference)
  • 1 tbsp of lime juice
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 1-2 tsp of salt
  • 1-2 tsp of pepper

Breading:

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp of salt
  • 3 tbsp of pepper
  • 2 tbsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 2 tsp of cayenne powder
  • 2 tsp of paprika powder

Nashville Hot Chicken Sauce:

  • 1 cup of cooking oil (or as needed)
  • ½ cup of butter (or lard)
  • 2 tbsp of cayenne
  • 2 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup
  • ½ tsp of garlic powder
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of pepper

Directions:

  1. Cut your 4 chicken breasts into desired size (sandwich and/or tender size)
  1. In a bowl combine the entire brine ingredient list and mix, place chicken into a food safe dish and cover with brine. Allow chicken to marinate overnight or for a few hours before.

Chicken in Brine

  1. Before you begin cooking the chicken, prepare your coleslaw. Slice the cabbage and the jalapeños thinly (approximately ¼ of an inch) and add to a mixing bowl. Combine mayonnaise, salt, pepper, lime juice and maple syrup, stir to combine, cover, and set aside. I recommend tasting a bit at this point and adjusting your seasonings to your personal tastes.
  1. Combine your breading into a bowl and mix, prepare a wire rack to set the breaded chicken on to set up before placing in oil (a plate will do in a pinch). Completely cover the chicken pieces in breading and set aside.
  1. Preheat cooking oil to 325, as oil heats up begin melting your butter (or lard) in a small pot. Do not boil, the intent is only to warm. When fully melted, combine all ingredients from the Nashville hot sauce ingredient list. Add hot oil as necessary to maintain a sauce like consistency if final product seems overly thick.

Hot Chicken Seasoning Mix

  1. Add chicken to fryer, while being careful not to overcrowd and rapidly drop the temperature. Allow chicken to cook approximately 3-5 minutes per side (depending on your temperature discipline!) until reaching an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees. Remember, chicken will continue to cook after removal from hot oil, so 160 is a satisfactory temperature to remove with the expectation of 165 finished.

NOTE: The FDA recommends and internal temperature for chicken of 165 degrees.

  1. Toast your rolls or sandwich buns and put a nice coat of butter to crisp (careful not to overcook and dry them out, as we may have done on our first attempt!)
  1. Stir/whisk your Nashville hot sauce, as the spices will have settled at the bottom

NOTE: For those who prefer a less spicy final product, dip the chicken in the sauce prior to stirring.

Nashville Hot Chicken Sauce

  1. Serve your chicken on a toasted bun, topped with your coleslaw and pickles. Alternatively, serve it in the more traditional manner of Prince’s on white bread with pickles on a toothpick.

Best Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich Recipe

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