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Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich with Spicy-Sweet Butter and Pickles

Servings: 4

Believe me when I say that chicken thighs are best for this sandwich. Between their deeply flavored dark meat and all those nooks and crannies for holding the batter, thighs are simply the best part of the bird for the frying pan. And they cook quickly, too. Then there’s the butter that goes on top: It take seconds to whip up, but it packs a lot of wow.


  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 Tbs. hot sauce, preferably Cholula
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed (about 1 to 1-1/4 lb.)
  • 4 Tbs. (2 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp. Lyle’s golden syrup or honey
  • 1/2 tsp. flaky sea salt
  • 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • 1  cup all-purpose flour
  • 2  tsp. baking soda
  • 4 brioche buns
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dill pickles

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 750
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 460
  • Fat (g): 52
  • Saturated Fat (g): 23
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 10
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9
  • Cholesterol (mg): 275
  • Sodium (mg): 1210
  • Carbohydrates (g): 43
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Sugar (g): 9
  • Protein (g): 29


In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, 2 tsp. garlic, hot sauce, 2 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. cayenne, and the sugar. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Let marinate, turning occasionally, at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or refrigerate up to overnight.

In a small bowl, mix the butter, syrup, 1/4 tsp. cayenne, and the sea salt until combined. Refrigerate if making ahead, but let soften before serving.

Heat the oil in a large skillet to 350°F. Combine the flour, baking soda, the remaining 2 tsp. granulated garlic, 1 tsp. kosher salt,
1 tsp. black pepper, and the remaining 1/2 tsp. cayenne in a rimmed plate. Working with one thigh at a time, remove from the marinade and dredge in the flour, turning and patting on the flour to coat well and evenly all over. Shake off excess; transfer to a clean plate.

Fry the chicken on medium-high heat, flipping once and adjusting heat to maintain a temperature close to 350°F, until well browned and cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain on a paper towel. Serve on the buns, slathered with 1 Tbs. of the butter mixture and topped with 2 Tbs. pickles.

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