The Sandwich: Nashville Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich
Where: Due South, 301 Water St. SE
Bread: Toasted white sandwich bread
Stuffings: Fried chicken rubbed with a spice blend that includes Korean red chili flakes, cayenne, and sugar. Bacon-braised greens come on the side.
Thickness: 2 inches
Pros: While some chicken sandwiches lose their moisture during their time in the fryer, each piece of the dark meat is juicy and tender without feeling chewy or underdone. Construction-wise, the sandwich benefits from its simplicity: Each bite contains a balance of chicken and crisp toast.
Cons: When you take a bite, the heat is entirely absent. Even a mild sandwich from a Nashville institution like Prince’s should make you sweat a bit. This version won’t even have you reaching for a sweet tea. The chicken also doesn’t have the crisp crackle of other fried chicken sandwiches. While some thinner sections of the thigh have the right crunch, the majority of the batter remains slightly raw and sticks to the bread.
Sloppiness level (1 to 5): 3. This sandwich is sneakily sloppy. The spice blend that covers the chicken bleeds all over your fingers and your face. Make liberal use of your napkin and don’t wear white around this sandwich under any circumstance.
Overall score (1 to 5): 1. You can’t call a sandwich without any heat “hot” and you can’t call a chicken thigh with mushy coating “fried.” Until the cayenne meter gets turned up to 11 and the skin gets crispier, you’re better off heading due south to Tennessee.
Photo by Caroline Jones