Pickle Brined Fried Chicken Sandwich
Who doesn’t love fried chicken? Crispy, flavorful, and kinda healthy because it’s made from chicken, fried chicken is one of the quintessential American favorites. It becomes even more American, and even better tasting when you put fried chicken on a sandwich and top it with all sorts of yummy things like crunchy coleslaw, juicy mayo, and pickles. Yes, pickles. Pickles bring the entire sandwich together. A little bit of acidity helps brighten up the fried chicken, and that little bit of juicy flavor adds a sweetness that the sandwich needs. Pickles are the secret to the perfect fried chicken sandwich, and in this recipe, we’re going to use pickles two ways: the pickles on the sandwich and the pickle juice to brine the chicken for maximum flavor and juiciness.
In this recipe, we use boneless skinless chicken thighs for our sandwich base. They’re affordable and perfectly shaped for a sandwich. We then brine the chicken thighs in pickle juice. This give the chicken flavor and juiciness that shines when they’re fried. Combined with a buttermilk batter and seasoned flour, you’ll end up with some of the tastiest fried chicken you’ve experienced. If you don’t believe us, try the recipe for yourself, and let us know what you think. Just leave us your feedback in the comments below.
Add the chicken thighs and pickle juice to a sealable plastic bag and refrigerate for one hour to brine. You can also let the chicken sit overnight if desired.
When you’re ready to cook the chicken, pour the buttermilk into a wide, shallow bowl. In a separate bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, Italian seasoning, and cayenne pepper and whisk together.
Add enough oil to a large cast-iron skillet to coat it 2 inches deep. Heat to medium high heat.
Remove the chicken from the brine, and then coat in the buttermilk. Remove from the buttermilk, and allow any extra liquid to drip off the chicken. Next, add the chicken tot the flour mixture and coat on both sides. Pat the flour into the chicken to ensure that it is well coated. Set each piece aside once it is coated and move on to the next piece.
Being careful to not overcrowd the pan (you will probably need to work in two batches), add the chicken to the hot oil, and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until the the coating is golden and crunchy. We prefer to turn the chicken only once to make sure the crust gets crispy before flipping. The chicken should reach 165ºF when it is done cooking.
Once the chicken is done cooking, remove from the oil, and set on a drying rack to allow any excess oil to drip off the chicken. Assemble your sandwich by coating the buns with mayonnaise (we recommend toasting them with the mayo on the buns), then adding a piece of fried chicken, then topping with coleslaw and pickles. Enjoy!