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Best Ever Fried Chicken Sandwiches

Perfect fried chicken. It’s the holy grail of any chef. Fried chicken should be perfectly light and crispy, a crust that’s not too thick, but hearty, and it cannot be greasy. The critical factor, though, is the brine. Perfect fried chicken should be most tasty from the inside. I wouldn’t have thought that this step was so important, but don’t pass it up. You basically steep your chicken in hot water abundantly spiced, (especially with fennel) so that when you bite in, it’s juicy and overwhelmingly flavorful.

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If you don’t like fennel, this isn’t the recipe for you because it’s unbelievable fennel-y, but if you like fennel it’ll knock you’re socks off. It takes a bit of work and some overnight prep, but you’ll know its worth it when you bite into that crunchy chicken.

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We made this in sandwich form with aioli and kale. We couldn’t have been happier.

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Fried Chicken Sandwiches

Yields 4 sandwiches

Fried Chicken

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Chicken brine (recipe below)
  • Chicken flour (recipe below)
  • 2 quarts canola oil
  • 4 rolls, sliced
  • 1 cup aioli
  • kale leaves
  1. In a large bowl add the chicken thighs and chicken brine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Transfer chicken thighs from bowl to a plate and coat in chicken flour. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. In a cast iron skillet, start heating the canola oil. Once it shimmers, add the thighs and cook through, turning once.
  4. Place paper towels underneath a wire rack and transfer thighs to the rack.
  5. Spread aioli on both sides of the rolls, add kale and chicken.

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Chicken Brine

  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup fennel seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried thyme
  • 4 cups hot water
  1. Stir all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Pour hot water into bowl. Let steep for 30 minutes.

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Chicken Flour

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 3 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp dill
  • 1 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp chile powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  1. Mix all ingredients together.

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From the Skillet Cookbook

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