Happy Wednesday everyone! Have you heard of Howlin’ Ray’s? It’s a Nashville Style Hot Chicken restaurant in Los Angeles, CA. If you haven’t heard of them, check out their Instagram, it’s totally drool worthy. I originally found them on Instagram while I was looking for things to do in LA while visiting my brother this last December. I sent him the link and we agreed we would fast all day so we would be fully ready for the best meal of our lives. Around 2 o’clock we put the address in our GPS and headed over. To our surprise, we ended up in Chinatown. We really thought there was no way we could be at the right place, but we were hungry, so we decided to check it out. We walked into a large building full of small, traditional, Chinese restaurants and a line of people reaching from one end to the other. That line was for Howlin’ Rays. We thought we would hang out and if it moved quickly, we would wait it out for this fried chicken. Then we found out that they were only open from 11 AM to 4 PM and at this point it was already 2:30 and there was no way we would get to the front in time. So us, along with the other disappointed people waiting for fried chicken, headed over to the other restaurants in the building.
We were pretty disappointed that we didn’t get our fried chicken, but we had a great meal at this place called Won Kok. If you’re in the area, this place is great and incredibly cheap. We ordered a two person dinner for $16/person and got enough food to feed at least 5 people. Noodles, rice, chicken, pork, and wontons. It was a feast if I’ve ever seen one.
I left LA the day after, still craving fried chicken. I did some research and found a lot of different recipes but none of them seemed like what I wanted. Along with recipes for chicken I found other Southern food recipes that all looked amazing. After a few days of craving food that I had never tried, I decided to invest in a cookbook that would teach me everything I needed to know about Southern style cooking; Nashville Eats. This book, you guys, is the holy grail. There is not a recipe that I don’t want to try. Do yourself a favor and buy it. It’s worth every penny and more.
But we’re here to talk about fried chicken sandwiches. The fun part in making this recipe is that you can adjust the seasoning to fit your taste. I like my spicy to be complimented with a little sweet and brown sugar is the perfect way to get the flavor I like. If you like your chicken HOT, cut down or cut out the brown sugar. If you want a little more mild, cut back on the cayenne.
Of course, no fried chicken sandwich would be complete without pickles, comeback sauce, and coleslaw. If you’ve never heard of comeback sauce, its basically Canes sauce, but spicy. If you’ve never heard of Canes Sauce, you’re missing out. Get yourself to the nearest Canes Chicken Fingers and TRY THAT SH*T. As for the coleslaw, I used a greek yogurt slaw. Greek yogurt is one of my favorite cooling agents for a dish, so this was the perfect place to use it.
For the Chicken
- 4 Chicken Breasts
- 1/2 C Vinegar Based Hot Sauce (I use Cry Baby Craigs)
- 1/2 C Brown Sugar
- 1/4 C Salt
- 5 C Water
- 1 C Flour
- 6 C Canola oil
- 1 1/2 TBSP Brown Sugar
- 2-3 TBSP Cayenne Pepper
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1.5 tsp Garlic Powder
- 4 Burger buns (optional)
- Dill Pickle Slices (optional)
For the Comeback Sauce
- 1 C Mayo
- 1/4 C Sriracha
- 2 TBSP Ketchup
- 1 TBSP Lemon Juice
- 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 tsp Mustard Powder
- 1/4 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
For the Greek Yogurt Coleslaw
- 1/2 Head of cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1/2 Red onion, julienne
- 1/4 C Carrot, Shredded
- 1/2 tsp Celery Seed
- 1 C Greek Yogurt
- 1/4 C Mayo
- 1tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- In a large stock pot, over medium heat, combine brown sugar, hot sauce, salt, and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved and water begins to boil. Take off heat and let cool completely.
- Once the brine is cooled, add chicken breasts and soak 2 hours-overnight.
- While the chicken is brining make your coleslaw. Chop up your vegetables and mix all of your ingredients in a bowl. Let it sit in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
- In a large pot, heat oil to 350 degrees F.
- Remove chicken from brine, pat dry and dredge in flour.
- Once the oil registers 350, add your chicken. At this point the temperature of the oil will drop to 300 degrees, try to maintain this heat for frying. Your chicken is done when its internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
- While the chicken is frying, whip up your comeback sauce by simply mixing all the ingredients in a bowl.
- Remove chicken and place on a plate covered in paper towels.
- Combine spices in a small, heatproof bowl and ladle in 3-5 TBSP of your frying oil. Whisk rapidly to avoid burning your spices.
- Brush the oil sauce on to your chicken.
- Serve on a bun with comeback sauce, coleslaw and pickles.