What Makes a Great Chicken Sandwich?

Over the last year, social media buzzed with the great battle of the chicken sandwich. A staple menu item found at fast-food chains, dine-in restaurants, and local diners across the nation is finally gaining credit and appreciation for being one of the top food choices in the United States. What should be considered, however, is the chicken sandwich itself, and what makes a great chicken sandwich. From the chicken to the bun, every component is essential to making a great sandwich.

It starts with chicken.

The best chicken sandwiches are fried chicken sandwiches that have the best chicken, where the meat gets crispy and golden brown from the fryer. A large, filling, chicken breast patty that has a higher chicken to breading ratio is often the leader in the most popular chicken sandwiches. Customers need to take a bite of a chicken sandwich and taste the chicken, after all. As much as we loved the fried breading, don’t forget it’s called a chicken sandwich, not a breading sandwich. Great chicken makes a great sandwich.

Now we can talk breading and seasoning.

A fried chicken sandwich is only as great as its breading. Crispy, but light, it is essential the sandwich has a crunch when it is bitten into. Since the chicken is being cooked in a deep fryer, choosing a breading that will crisp during the cooking time is essential. The most popular breading includes a buttermilk base that gives chicken a full flavor after cooking.

The seasoning that is in the breading is also essential. Salt and pepper are often not enough, especially with the flavor options that are available throughout restaurants. Everything from garlic powder to Cajun seasonings finds its way into the chicken breading at these restaurants, and sometimes, as in the case with Nashville Hot, the seasoning makes the sandwich. Whatever your choice, a layer of seasoning can set one sandwich apart from the next.


Are we adding toppings?

Depending on the restaurant and the potential seasoning sauce that is added to the chicken patty, these infamous chicken sandwiches can take on an array of toppings. For many, two crispy dill pickles and a dollop of mayonnaise completes the toppings. Others choose to add lettuce and tomato for another level of crunch and freshness to this hearty sandwich.  Some restaurant chains offer chicken sandwiches with the option of top-tier toppings such as cheese and bacon, which benefits those looking to boost the crunch in their sandwich. For the chicken sandwich that has a hotter seasoning, the mayonnaise and cheese together cut through the heat and give the customer a break between bites. While toppings are certainly recommended, this is a decision best chosen by the one purchasing the great chicken sandwich. Whichever toppings are chosen, though, they should be fresh.

Finally, the bun!

The first look of a great chicken sandwich starts and ends with the bun. With a crispy chicken patty and a layer of crunchy toppings on the chicken sandwich, it must be completed with a soft and buttery bun. Most restaurants have moved to the higher-end bread options such as brioche, potato, or the lavishly buttered roll. A traditional or sesame seed bun doesn’t always stand up to the layers of flavor, chicken, and toppings that are required for the great chicken sandwich.

The great chicken sandwich can vary depending on the restaurant, but there are a few aspects that must always be great. From the chicken and the breading to the toppings and the bun, each component must be fresh, crispy, flavorful and the buns have the ability to handle the ingredients between them.

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Topics: Foods & Trends, Chicken