Nashville Hot Chicken Sliders

Homemade flaky biscuits, pimento cheese, and dill pickles. It’s like Chick-fil-A got a dirty, delicious upgrade. The hot chicken recipe is my spicy take on the Chick-fil-A copycat recipe all over the internet, and it’s relatively mess free thanks to the flour dredge being mixed in a plastic bag. Use a store-bought pimento cheese to make your life easier but you could certainly make your own. I just decided to spend more time drinking wine instead.

The biscuit recipe is (unsurprisingly) adapted from NYT Cooking, which is a great recipe but I’ve had much better luck with a few tweaks to the technique.

If you’re making these for a group and want to spend as much time partying and as little time cooking, make the biscuits the day before and marinade the chicken the night before. Then you’re just down to reheating the biscuits and frying the chicken. Easy.

Ingredients

For the biscuits:

  • 2 cups AP flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter*
  • 1 cup whole milk + extra for brushing the tops

*For the butter, you’ll have the most delicious results if you use a good quality European-style butter. I use Kerrygold.

For the chicken:

  • 1 lb chicken thighs
  • 2 cups dill pickle juice
  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chili powder, divided
  • 2 cups peanut or vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

For assembling the sliders:

  • Sliced dill pickles (buy the fresh ones in the refrigerated section)
  • Pimento cheese

Directions

For the biscuits

  1. Freeze the butter for at least 20 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  3. Using a box or cheese grater, grate the butter into the flour. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the milk and stir with a fork until the dough comes together in a rough ball.
  5. Working on a well-floured surface, pat the dough down into a rectangle, approx 1 inch thick. Fold the dough in half. Rotate 90 degrees and then fold in half again (so the dough has been folded over on itself twice – once horizontally, once vertically).
  6. Gently pat down the dough into the size of the original rectangle, and repeat step #5 again.
  7. Use your hands to flatten out the dough into a rectangle once more, approximately the size of a sheet of paper. Use a biscuit cutter (or a floured drinking glass) to cut the dough into biscuits. Important: do not twist the cutter when cutting, otherwise your biscuit won’t rise.
  8. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops of the biscuits with a bit of milk. Bake until golden brown, approx 12-13 minutes.

For the chicken

  1. Place the chicken thighs on a cutting board and pound with a meat mallet or a rolling pin until they’re a uniform, even thickness (approx 1/2″ thick). Cut into slider-sized pieces (approx 2″ x 2″, I cut each thigh into 3 pieces).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, pickle juice, and 1 cup milk. Marinate for at least an hour or up to overnight.
  3. In a shallow baking dish or bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup milk and egg. Shake off the excess marinade from earlier, and then coat the chicken with the egg mixture.
  4. In a gallon size ziploc bag (or a large bowl), combine the flour, powdered sugar, 1 tbsp chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Gently shake any excess egg mixture off of the chicken and add the chicken to the bag. Seal the bag and shake to coat well.
  6. Heat oil in a large skillet to 350 degrees.
  7. Working in batches, add chicken to the skillet and cook until golden brown and crispy, approx 4-5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a wire rack set over a baking sheet.
  8. Whisk together the cayenne pepper, brown sugar, garlic powder, and remaining 1 tbsp chili powder. Carefully whisk in 1/2 cup of the frying oil. Brush the chicken with the spicy oil.

Assemble the sliders

  1. Gently slice or split the biscuits in half, warming them up in the oven at 250 degrees if they were made previously.
  2. Spread the bottom half of the biscuit with a spoonful of pimento cheese. Top with the fried chicken, a few dill pickle slices, and the top half of the biscuit. Serve with extra hot sauce and enjoy immediately.

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