Chances are, if you wanted a crunchy piece of chicken stuffed inside a sponge cake, smothered in a creamy sauce, and topped with tangy pickles, you want it today. Not tomorrow, not two days from now. The craving for a fried chicken sandwich is often satisfied by ordering one at a restaurant, since many recipes require more time than most of us would like to wait. So when I set out to make my perfect version, my guiding principle was speed without sacrificing flavor. This means that this recipe can be prepared within an hour. Watch the full development process here.
I realized early on that I should avoid a wet saline solution to save time. Fried chicken brines, which often contain buttermilk, need hours for the enzymes in the dairy products to hydrate the proteins in the chicken. It can take up to a day to make a difference in texture and flavor. Instead, I used a dry brine with salt, garlic powder, and other seasonings that stick to the chicken and don’t let go. Speaking of which: The skinless, boneless chicken thighs were the clear winner when it came to comfort, plus they’re perfectly sized for sandwich tasks.
I explored creating the crispy batter crust that symbolizes the Korean approach to fried chicken, but found that the only way to unleash its full potential was by double-frying, including two temperatures of oil. So instead, I used dry loaf seasoned with 50% potato starch (cornstarch works too) and 50% all-purpose flour, after an egg wash for extra stickiness.
But where the Korean style fried chicken continued to inspire me, was in the glaze. I made a quick sauce with gochujang, brown sugar, and rice vinegar to coat a mouthwatering heat on the chicken, a nod to both Korean fried chicken and Nashville hot chicken techniques. Coating the top of the chicken instead of directly in the glaze maintains a more crispy coating and keeps the flavor in check. To finish off the sandwiches, I love the bread-and-butter pickles, dill mayonnaise, and a pile of shredded iceberg; But whatever you choose, make it fast and enjoy the fruits of an hour well spent.