We’ve all been there. It’s Sunday morning, you cook our breakfast and go about your day. Then it’s lunch time, and there’s nothing you crave more than a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich.
Then you remember it’s closed on Sundays.
So now you have to find something else to eat, right? Wrong. I found a Chick-fil-A endorsed copycat that’s just as delicious as their original chicken sandwich.
The recipe is made by Kevin Gillespie, owner of Gunshow in Atlanta, Georgia. The guy found the secret to making a good chicken sandwich, so much so that now I don’t mind when Chick-fil-A is closed.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
- 1 16 ounce-jar dill pickle chips
- 2 cups water
- 5 packets dry ranch dressing mix (1 ounce each)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons salt
- Oil for frying
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Espelette pepper (if you’d like it spicy)
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter (optional for rolls)
- 2 tablespoons honey (optional for rolls)
- 8 Hawaiian sandwich buns or brioche rolls
- 1 cup spicy pickle mayonnaise (or if you want to go more classic, mayo and some dill pickle slices)
1. Trim any fat from the chicken breasts. Lightly pound the thickest end of the breast to match the rest of breast in thickness; it’s important that the chicken be evenly thick for even cooking.
Don’t worry if the pounded breasts seem a little thin and larger than the buns; the chicken will shrink and puff up during cooking.
2. Strain the pickles over a large bowl, reserving the pickles and juice separately; you should have about 1 cup juice.
Whisk the water, 4 packets of the salad dressing mix, the sugar, and 1 tablespoon of the salt into the pickle juice to make a brine. Pour the brine into a large zip-top bag and add the chicken.
Press out the air, seal, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours. Don’t go past 3 hours, though; too much time in the brine will toughen the chicken.
3. Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 330°F. The somewhat low frying temperature is important so that the chicken will cook through completely before the crust gets too dark.
4. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and top with a cooling rack.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the remaining packet of salad dressing mix, the remaining 2 tablespoons salt, the Espelette pepper (if you’d like it spicy), and the black pepper.
6. One at a time, pull the chicken breasts from the brine and, while still wet, dredge in the flour mixture. Shake off the excess flour, set the chicken on the rack, and repeat until all the chicken is coated.
Let the chicken rest until the flour has absorbed the brine and the breading sets and gets a little sticky, about 5 minutes.
One by one, toss the chicken pieces back into the flour mixture and shake off the excess.
7. Deep-fry the breasts until cooked through, about 8 minutes. I’ve heard some people say Chick-fil-A uses peanut oil, but Kevin uses canola. Use whatever you have on hand. It’ll still be delicious.
Meanwhile, thoroughly wash and dry the cooling rack and place over a clean baking sheet. Transfer the cooked chicken to the rack to drain.
8. Heat a large skillet or flattop griddle over medium heat.
9. Optional: melt the butter in a small saucepan and whisk in the honey. Bring the mixture to a simmer and remove from the heat. Split open the rolls and brush both cut sides with the honey butter.
Toast the rolls in the skillet or on the griddle, cut side down, until golden brown, about 1 minute.
10. Spread a thin layer of spicy pickle mayonnaise on the bottom half of the cut side of the roll and top with a chicken breast.
Spread a little more mayonnaise on the chicken and close the sandwich with the top of the roll. If you’d like a more classic sandwich, use some regular mayo and some dill pickle slices.
I just love Kevin’s recipe. Whether you want to take the classic route or take his twists for a spin, you’re gonna love it too.
What twists would you put on this recipe?