Fried chicken sandwiches have become a signature dish at many establishments, bringing Americans’ long-standing love affairs with the hamburger and fried chicken together in a single delicious package. Anyone interested in culinary arts programs should consider the unique touches that chefs put on this comfort food. Fried chicken sandwiches demonstrate how a well-known concept can develop into a trend that compels diners to line up out the door. Here are some of the most beloved and intriguing examples:
Attaining poultry perfection
Fried chicken sandwiches have been available at fast food establishments, first and foremost Georgia-based Chick-Fil-A, since the 1960s. However, Bon Appetit suggested that the dish’s recent ubiquity can be traced to Australian cook Alison Barakat.
“Fried chicken sandwiches have been available since the 1960s.”
Barakat moved to the U.S. in 2000 and established her Oakland bakery shop, Bakesale Betty. There, she served a buttermilk fried chicken and coleslaw sandwich that took cues from the poultry served at famed Berkeley bistro Chez Panisse.
The Los Angeles seafood-oriented restaurant Son of a Gun produced its own celebrated conglomeration of chicken, bread and slaw in 2011. As Epicurious explained, this version was set apart by its use of spicy mayonnaise and a unique pickle slaw, made with jalapeno, onion, cabbage and pickle juice.
New York City’s The Commodore brings some Southern flair to the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn with the hot breast sandwich. Thrillist warned that the spicy chicken breast piled with mayonnaise, coleslaw and pickles cannot be contained by its sesame seed bun.
Honey Butter Fried Chicken in Chicago assembles its sandwich with two strips of fried buttermilk chicken on a toasted bun. In between the strips, diners discover a candied jalapeno mayonnaise. Meanwhile, the chicken is topped with a coleslaw made with pickled red onions.
Innovative chicken creations
There is certainly nothing wrong with chefs spotlighting the delicious simplicity of battered chicken and fresh toppings when assembling a great sandwich. On the other hand, restaurants have tried out more adventurous alternatives with fantastic results.
For instance, at Northbound Smokehouse and Brewpub in Minneapolis, you can enjoy a chicken breast made with a unique waffle batter. Thrillist explained that the coating is prepared from scratch and includes flour, cornmeal, wort and a touch of honey wheat beer. This tasty creation is served on an egg bun, topped with lettuce tomato and garlic mayonnaise.
Other chicken sandwich purveyors make their creations stand out by incorporating varied cultural influences. The Chicago Korean-style wing restaurant Crisp offers the Foodie’s Choice sandwich, which features a fillet of chicken breast glazed in a choice of sauces, including barbecue, Buffalo, mild or “suicide” hot sauce. The sandwich comes on a split-top roll with spinach, tomato, blue cheese, bacon, mayonnaise. It’s finished off with Allison’s Atomic Sauce, a house-made concoction that is likely based in mayonnaise and the chili sauce sambal, according to Serious Eats.
New York Magazine explained that Fuku in New York distinguishes its chicken sandwiches with sustainable ingredients and a low price, as well as an unusual preparation. The restaurant marinates chicken thighs in a habanero puree before adding buttermilk and spices and frying them. Finally, the chicken is placed on a potato bun with house-made butter and pickles.
At Leon’s Fine Poultry and Oysters in South Carolina, patrons enjoy a unique creation on a brioche bun. The chicken, breaded with a seafood seasoning blend, includes mayonnaise, house-made pickles and a coleslaw made with nuoc cham. This Vietnamese fish sauce makes for an unusual flavor combination that shows off just how adaptable the fried chicken sandwich can really be.
Those who are attending culinary academy may find inspiration in the huge variety of delicious adaptations of this seemingly simple dish. By drawing on high-quality ingredients and the lessons of culinary training, chefs can discover countless exciting ways to go beyond breaded chicken and coleslaw.