Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwiches


The chicken in this delightful sandwich is brined in spicy dill pickle juice, then fried and tossed with schmaltz and gochugaru for an unforgettable tangy heat.

Nashville Hot and Crispy Chicken Sandwiches
Photo: © Con Poulos
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
8 hrs 45 mins

Chef Jared van Camp's take on Nashville hot chicken layers in complex flavors. He brines the chicken thighs in pickle brine for eight hours to tenderize the meat and infuse it with a little tang. He then dredges the chicken in flour seasoned with cayenne and paprika before frying it. The fried chicken is brushed with a paste made with gochugaru (Korean chile powder), sugar, garlic powder, salt, and more cayenne pepper to give this sandwich an extra kick of heat.


  • 2 1/2 cups brine from jarred spicy dill pickles, plus sliced spicy dill pickles, for serving

  • 8 (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.

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