According to the NRA’s 2016 “What’s Hot” culinary forecast, 63 percent of the chefs surveyed named fried chicken as the number one perennial favorite. That doesn’t mean fried chicken isn’t evolving, though. In many cases, it’s taking on new, spicy accents. We especially like the ways that chefs have elevated fried chicken sandwiches to the next level. For example, David Chang’s Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich ($8) at Fuku in NYC features chicken thighs, marinated in habanero puree and buttermilk, flavored with spices and deep-fried. At John Besh’s Lüke in New Orleans, the breakfast menu features a Fried Chicken & Tabasco Honey biscuit sandwich ($14). At Richard Sandoval’s Zengo in NYC, the Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich ($13) is served with fermented chile, pickled chayote and French fries.
At Honey Butter Fried Chicken in Chicago, Christine Cikowski and Joshua Kulp’s signature Original Fried Chicken Sandwich—also called “the OG” (Original Gangster)—is a satisfying combination featuring crunchy chicken strips. The chicken is dusted with smoked paprika, topped with crunchy slaw, slathered with candied jalapeno mayo and served on a buttery bun. Other fried chicken sandwiches at the restaurant include the Honey Butter Fried Chicken Sandwich, the BBQ Sandwich and the Honey Buffalo Sandwich. If you’re looking for inspiration, here’s the recipe for the Original Fried Chicken Sandwich.