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Buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with chipotle barbecue sauce

Recipe by:Jason Hotchkiss
Encontro, San Diego

Ingredients

  • Chipotle barbecue sauce
    1/4 medium onion, diced
    1/4 cup minced garlic
    1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
    7 cups ketchup
    1 cup cider vinegar
    1 cup molasses
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup liquid smoke
    1/4 cup chipotle in adobo sauce
    1 tsp. chopped dried thyme
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Fried chicken batter
    2 cups buttermilk
    2 large eggs
    1 1/2 tbsp. hot sauce
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

    Fried chicken flour
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 tsp. paprika
    1 tsp. garlic powder
    1 tsp. onion powder
    1 tsp. kosher salt
    1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • Sandwich
    4 (6-oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    Canola oil, for frying chicken
    8 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked
    4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
    4 brioche hamburger buns
    4 tbsp. agave mustard (3 tbsp. honey mustard and 1 tbsp. agave syrup)
    20 bread and butter pickle slices
    4 leaves baby gem lettuce

Directions

For sauce: In a large stockpot, sauté onion and garlic in oil until translucent. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, until thick and creamy.

For sandwich: Whisk together batter ingredients in a shallow bowl. Place chicken breasts in batter and let soak for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together flour ingredients in a large bowl. Working with 1 piece at a time, remove chicken from batter, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess.

Pour about 1/2 inch canola oil in a large, heavy skillet and heat to 350 degrees. Fry chicken in oil until golden brown and internal temperature registers 165 degrees. Drain on paper towels. Transfer to a pie tin and place 2 pieces of cooked bacon and 1 slice of cheese on top of each piece of chicken. Heat in oven until cheese melts, about 2 minutes.

Spread cut sides of buns with agave mustard and place chicken with bacon and cheese on bottom buns. Top with pickles and lettuce, and drizzle each sandwich with 1 tbsp. barbecue sauce. Cover with bun tops. Leftover barbecue sauce can be refrigerated up to 1 week.

Serves 4

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