The Ultimate Guide to the Best Fried Chicken Sandwiches in the World

A fried chicken sandwich is, on its face, an utterly simple dish. All you need in theory is golden crispy fried chicken, a soft bun, and your choice of fixings. But for such a simple dish, it sure does seem to attract a lot of debates. 

There are several opinions about the best way to coat the chicken, whether the bun should be toasted or not, and even what kind of tomatoes are best in the sandwich. Well, we’re going to end the debate once and for all. 

This article is your ultimate guide to a chicken sandwich that will deliver every single time. 

The Secret to Perfect Fried Chicken

To make a fried chicken sandwich (FCS) that will blow your socks off, you have to start with an amazing fried chicken recipe. There’s no room to get this part of the sandwich wrong since it’s the centerpiece of the whole dish. 

There are four elements to making perfect fried chicken for an FCS: the right meat, the brine, the coating, and the cooking method. Let’s start with the meat.

The Chicken

Chicken is, hands down, the most popular poultry in the US, and one of the reasons for that is its versatility. There’s just so much to choose from with a chicken. The breast, thighs, wings, and drumsticks can all be good choices for an FCS. However, some are better than others. 

Most people get it in their heads that the breast is the way to go. And it makes sense, there’s a whole lot of meat on the breast and that’s usually what you want in a sandwich. But it’s one of the classic blunders.  

What you want to go for are boneless chicken thighs. Skinless is ok, but keep the skins off if you can. The skin is an essential part of creating the traditional texture of fried chicken in your sandwich. 

The Chicken

The Brine

If you’ve never brined fried chicken, you’ve been missing out. Once you make fried chicken with a brine (the only right way to do it), you’ll never make it any other way. What a brine does is saturate the whole piece of meat with flavor. You can season your chicken six ways to Sunday and you’ll never get it seasoned right if you’re only coating it with seasoning. 

To make the brine, dissolve a tablespoon of salt, brown sugar, and baking powder in a quart of water. Put your chicken in the brine for four hours, and voila, brined chicken!

The Coating

Another contentious subject. Do you dredge the chicken once or twice? Do you use cornstarch or flour? What seasonings go in the starch?

You don’t need the super-secret eleven herbs and spices to make great fried chicken. In fact, the basics are plenty. Your best bet is to dredge the chicken in flour with a dash of paprika, dried mustard, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. You don’t need to make it any more complicated than that.

Make sure the chicken is dry before you dredge and coat it in just enough egg to pick up the dredge. The double coating is optional.  

The Cooking Method

Here’s what you need to know about frying chicken right:

  • You’re going to use vegetable shortening. Not lard, not oil, and not tallow. There’s no debate about this if you want classic southern fried chicken. Peanut oil will do in a pinch if you’re truly averse to Crisco.  
  • Fry the chicken on low heat first to get it cooked through, then fry it on high heat to get it crispy and golden brown. The double fry technique is some added work that yields amazing results. Use a cast-iron pan or pot, if you have it. 
  • Set is aside on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to soak up some of the grease. 

The Ideal Fried Chicken Sandwich Recipe

When you think about a typical southern restaurant Miami is probably not the place that comes to mind. But we’ve got enough southern charm to go around and we know our stuff when it comes to fried chicken sandwiches. Try this recipe the next time you’re craving an FCS and you’ll see what we mean. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 Boneless skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp each of mustard powder, garlic powder, and paprika
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 medium egg
  • Vegetable shortening
  • 2 potato rolls
  • Pickled green tomatoes
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper

How To Make the Best Fried Chicken Sandwich

Start by bringing your chicken thighs for about four hours or overnight. Use the brine recipe above and when you’re ready to dredge them, pat them dry with paper towels and discard the brine. 

Combine the flour, garlic powder, mustard powder, paprika, and some salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg, salt, and pepper. 

Coat the thighs in flour lightly. Make sure every nook and cranny is floured but shake off any excess since you don’t want any flour clumps. 

Add a few tablespoons of your buttermilk mixture into your dry mix. Then, dip the chicken thighs, one at a time, into the buttermilk and then dredge them heavily with the flour mixture. You should end up with a thick coating on the thighs with little clumps of flour in some parts. 

When you’re ready to fry, set a cast iron pot on medium heat with the vegetable shortening and give it time to get hot. About 20 minutes should be enough. You’ll need enough shortening to cover the thighs, at least. When hot, place the thighs in and fry them for about 8 minutes. 

Remove the thighs from the pot, and bring it up to 350° degrees. Then, fry them again until they’re golden brown.

Get another pan up to medium-high heat and brush your potato rolls with melted butter on the cut sides. Place them cut side down in the pan and toast them for about two minutes until you achieve a deep brown color on the rolls.   

You’re finally ready to assemble. With the chicken still hot, build the sandwiches with the pickled green tomatoes, fried thighs, and a slice of cheddar cheese right on the chicken so it melts. Serve it with a buttermilk dressing and coleslaw. 

How To Make the Best Fried Chicken Sandwich

Never Look At a Chicken Sandwich the Same Way Again

Now you have all the tools you need to indulge and impress your friends with out-of-this-world fried chicken sandwiches. It takes a bit of work to get it right, but the payoff is oh-so rewarding. 

Remember a few key tips: brine your chicken for about four hours, double-fry the chicken, and always choose skin-on thighs. The rest will, more or less, work itself out as long as you have those elements in place.

But you don’t have to work so hard to get a fantastic fried chicken sandwich, we’ve got you covered. Call us today and make a reservation at Root and Bone to taste the best FCS in Florida.  

We’re always looking for some new inspiration, so if you have a secret family recipe for fried chicken, share it with us! We’ll be looking for your recipes in the comments section below.