Signature Chicken Sandwich by Stewart Smith
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - After watching everyone go chicken sandwich crazy over the last couple years, I set out to perfect my own version. What I’ve made here is some of the best homemade fried chicken I’ve ever made, no easy feat considering I’ve spent years experimenting with all kinds of different ways to fry chicken. This recipe is simple, easy and delicious. Every time I make it for friends, they immediately ask for more.
Stewart Smith’s Signature Chicken Sandwich
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 12 oz. jars of jalapenos (I like using the Hot & Sweet variety of Trappey’s brand)
*Note: you can also use pickle brine if you’ve already got it or don’t want to use jalapenos.
- 2 cups self-rising flour
* Note: if you don’t have self-rising flour, you can make it by adding 1 tablespoon of baking powder and a big pinch of salt for ever 1 cup of flour you’re using
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Black pepper to taste
- 1.5 cups buttermilk
- Enough cooking oil (I typically use vegetable oil) for the frying vessel of your choice
Place your chicken thighs in a bowl and pour enough of the jalapeno brine over it to submerge the thighs as best you can. You may need to flip them once or twice over the course of brining. Allow them to soak in the brine for a minimum of 1 hour. I’ve brined them for up to 8 and that makes things a bit too strong and have found that about 4 hours is a nice balance.
Before breading the chicken, heat your oil to 325 degrees. I typically use a deep fryer as this allows for better temperature control and consistency, but you can also easily do this on a stovetop in a high-walled skillet or wok. If frying on the stovetop, you may want to bring the oil up a bit higher than 325 as the temperature will drop when putting the chicken in.
For your flour, mix in the seasonings with a whisk or fork.
Mix in the buttermilk to the brine so that it is evenly distributed. Then, take several tablespoons of the brine mixture and spoon it into the flour and mix it around so that much of the flour becomes pebbly and clumpy. This will give your coating more surface area and make tiny, delightfully crunchy little nuggets on the chicken.
Place the chicken into the flour mixture and coat very well. Really press down the flour onto the chicken. You can then let the pieces sit for a few minutes to let the flour hydrate or you can put them in immediately.
Fry for about 6-8 minutes until the crust is a nice golden brown or the internal temperature reaches about 155. The ideal internal temperature is about 165, but the chicken will continue cooking for a bit after it’s out of the oil. If you don’t have a meat thermometer to monitor the temperature, if you take the chicken out once the crust is a warm, golden brown that should be good enough unless your thighs are just huge.
Once cooked, let them rest on paper towels for a few minutes to let them cool.
I like to serve mine on a butter-toasted brioche bun.
Also, keep in mind that this recipe is very versatile when it comes to seasonings. So if you’ve got a seasoning blend that you know and love, use that! The key steps here, I feel, are the brining and then mixing the brine into the flour.
And that’s it! Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.
*One final note: If you’re wondering what sauce I’ve coated mine in on the photo, it’s Bachan’s brand Japanese-style barbecue sauce (the spicy version). I found my bottle(s) on Amazon, but you may be able to find it locally at Fresh by Brookshire’s.
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