Fried chicken and waffles is probably one of those dishes you’ve seen or heard about but never tried. At a glance, it’s weird right? Combining fried chicken with…breakfast? Now, if you’ve had fried chicken and waffles then you know it’s the epitome of all sweet and savory combinations. Not to mention it’s the perfect excuse to have breakfast for lunch or dinner.
Spicy fried chicken and waffles was inspired by a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the middle of nowhere in Sonoma, California. Patty and I were there for a wedding in wine country and stopped for lunch on the way up from San Francisco. I had never had the infamous chicken and waffle experience at this point, and the menu boasted a colossal spicy fried chicken and waffle lunch favorite. Challenge accepted.
The menu actually had a warning on the spiciness factor. Something along the lines of, “This is really spicy and if you send it back we will kill you.” In other words, if you order this you’re stuck with it—no take backs. It was hot, but it was really good—and I was hooked on the idea.
Now my variation isn’t colossal spicy, it certainly has a little kick, but it’s beautifully balanced out by the sweet Belgian waffle and maple syrup. The fried chicken method was inspired by a really simple Nashville style fried chicken prepared by Chef Spike Mendelsohn. I substituted buttermilk for milk and added cayenne pepper and paprika to the breading. The beauty is no additional steps for creating a spicy coating or sauce. The spicy flavors are fried right into the chicken breading itself.
One quick tip before I leave you to your brunch. I really deep fried the chicken for this recipe. No shortcuts or baked alternatives for this glutenous meal. I think you need to go all out for this one. I HIGHLY recommend you use a candy thermometer to bring the oil to the right frying temperature. If the oil gets too hot (over 340°F), it will burn the breading before fully cooking the chicken (learned that the hard way).
- Spicy Fried Chicken
- 6 chicken tenders
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 cup panko crumbs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons hot sauce (I use Frank's RedHot)
- 1½ tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 32 ounce container canola oil, for frying
- salt to taste
Belgian Waffle Recipe
- 1 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Remove chicken tenders from the fridge 20-30 minutes before frying. This will help ensure cook times are accurate.
- For the waffle batter: Combine the dry waffle ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, butter, oil and vanilla extract. Combine with the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Set aside in fridge until ready.
- For the spicy fried chicken: Combine 2 eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce in a bowl, whisk and set aside. Combine breadcrumbs, panko crumbs, paprika, and cayenne pepper in a pie dish, set aside.
- Score the top of each piece of chicken with a knife, about 3-4 times, diagonally, about a ¼ inch thick.
- Fit a thermometer to a Dutch oven and add in oil for frying. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer reads 340°F (this is important!).
- Dredge each piece of chicken in the buttermilk, and then the breadcrumbs. Repeat this process again.
- Place the chicken tenders in the dutch oven (fully submerged) and fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Remove, set on a paper towel, sprinkle with salt and let rest for 5 minutes.
- For the waffles: Meanwhile, heat up your waffle iron. Grease the top and bottom of the waffle iron with cooking spray and cook waffles according to your waffle iron, or until golden and crispy.
- Top each waffle with 2-3 chicken tenders, drizzle with maple syrup and serve with a pad of butter.
Waffle recipe adapted from: Food.com