Hot Chicken Sandwiches

You can’t beat this freshly fried, irresistibly spicy, and piled-high perfection.

Hot Chicken Sandwiches
 
Makes 4
Ingredients
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon firmly packed dark brown sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, divided
  • 2 cups ice
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 (3.5- to 4-ounce) boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 cups tricolored coleslaw mix
  • ¼ cup chopped bread-and-butter pickles
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon hot paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 potato buns
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water, ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup salt, and ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in ice and buttermilk. Add chicken to cooled liquid. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together slaw mix, pickles, mayonnaise, vinegar, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together remaining 1 teaspoon brown sugar, ground red pepper, paprika, remaining ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and ½ teaspoon salt.
  4. In a deep cast-iron skillet, pour oil to 1-inch depth. Heat oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325°.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper.
  6. Remove chicken from brine and let excess liquid drip off. Dredge chicken in flour mixture and toss to coat. Shake off excess.
  7. Fry chicken, turning halfway through, until golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 165°, about 2 minutes per side. Remove chicken and let drain on paper towels.
  8. Carefully measure ¼ cup cooking oil and add to spice mixture, stirring until sugar dissolves. Dip chicken into spice and oil mixture. Place 1 chicken thigh on each bun and top each with slaw mixture.
Notes
While we think this crunchy slaw topping is worth the little bit of extra effort, you can also use premade slaw to save time.