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Nashville Hot and Crispy Chicken Sandwiches

The chicken in this delightful sandwich is brined in spicy dill pickle juice, then fried and tossed with schmaltz (chicken fat) and Korean chile powder. At Leghorn in Chicago, chef Jared Van Camp makes his own pickles, but he suggests using Tabasco's dill pickles as an easy substitute.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 2 1/2 cups brine from jarred spicy dill pickles, plus sliced spicy dill pickles, for serving
  • Eight 4- to 5-ounce boneless chicken thighs with skin, pounded 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup schmaltz (rendered chicken fat; see Note), melted
  • 1/2 cup gochugaru (Korean chile powder)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 8 slices of white sandwich bread


  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the pickle brine and the chicken thighs. Seal the bag and refrigerate the chicken for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the schmaltz with the gochugaru, sugar, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of the cayenne and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  3. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade and pat dry. In a shallow bowl, whisk the flour with the white pepper, paprika, 1 tablespoon of salt and the remaining 1 teaspoon of cayenne.
  4. Set a rack over a baking sheet. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1/3 inch of oil until shimmering. Dredge half of the chicken in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Fry the chicken thighs skin side down over moderate heat until well-browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook until no trace of pink remains, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the rack. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
  5. Generously brush the fried chicken thighs all over with the gochugaru paste. Put 4 slices of bread on a work surface and arrange 2 chicken thighs on each. Top the chicken with sliced pickles, close the sandwiches and serve.

Make Ahead

The chile paste can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before using.


Schmaltz is available in the refrigerated section of most supermarkets.

Suggested Pairing

No need to overthink what to pair with this fried chicken sandwich. Just have it with a lightly hoppy pilsner, like the Prima Pils from Victory Brewing or the Tröegs Sunshine Pils.

Contributed By Photo © Con Poulos Published September 2013

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