Califonia Bountiful
Main Dish

Buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with chipotle barbecue sauce

Fried chicken sandwiches—once the purview of fast-food establishments—have become signature dishes at restaurants nationwide. Encontro's version includes bacon, cheddar cheese and chipotle barbecue sauce.

Jason Hotchkiss
Encontro, San Diego

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Chipotle barbecue sauce
1/4 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
7 cups ketchup
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup liquid smoke
1/4 cup chipotle in adobo sauce
1 tsp. chopped dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Fried chicken batter
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tbsp. hot sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Fried chicken flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne

4 (6-oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Canola oil, for frying chicken
8 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
4 brioche hamburger buns
4 tbsp. agave mustard (3 tbsp. honey mustard and 1 tbsp. agave syrup)
20 bread and butter pickle slices
4 leaves baby gem lettuce


For sauce: In a large stockpot, sauté onion and garlic in oil until translucent. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, until thick and creamy.

For sandwich: Whisk together batter ingredients in a shallow bowl. Place chicken breasts in batter and let soak for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together flour ingredients in a large bowl. Working with 1 piece at a time, remove chicken from batter, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess.

Pour about 1/2 inch canola oil in a large, heavy skillet and heat to 350 degrees. Fry chicken in oil until golden brown and internal temperature registers 165 degrees. Drain on paper towels. Transfer to a pie tin and place 2 pieces of cooked bacon and 1 slice of cheese on top of each piece of chicken. Heat in oven until cheese melts, about 2 minutes.

Spread cut sides of buns with agave mustard and place chicken with bacon and cheese on bottom buns. Top with pickles and lettuce, and drizzle each sandwich with 1 tbsp. barbecue sauce. Cover with bun tops. Leftover barbecue sauce can be refrigerated up to 1 week.

Serves 4

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