Dan and I are the first of our group of friends to get married, which has put us in a unique position. As I’ve mentioned here before, we’re well… homebodies. We go out occasionally, but we really prefer to entertain at home- both our guests and ourselves. And when we do go out, we go out with other couples, do the dinner at a restaurant thing. It’s been a while since we partied with Solo cups.
The thing is, most of our friends and a lot of our siblings and cousins (alright, my siblings and cousins- Dan’s are all settled down and mature) are still living the carefree and single lifestyle. A lifestyle that we only mostly remember. So when we party with them, we either get drunk under the table or we’re incredible uncomfortable (and awkward). It’s the consequence of being at different places in life, I guess.
Last weekend we were invited to our friend Dave’s country birthday party (that started at 4pm), and I did a stupid thing. I assumed, because the party started before dinner and was to last until well into the evening, that there would be food. Because it’s been so long since I’ve been to a party where they didn’t have food that I forgot. I forgot there was such a thing as a party with multiple kegs but not a dorito in sight. Free beer, but BYOD.
About an hour after we got there my stomach was growling so violently that I could envision skewering one of the many corgis running around. So Dan and I made a trip out to one of his college haunts, a place called Bubba’s. On the drive to Cockeysville Dan regaled me with tales of eating at Bubba’s two, three times a day. It was so good. So I had reasonably high expectations and was delighted when we got there and the menu featured a sandwich called the “Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich.”
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but the ONE ingredient that you would think the “southern fried chicken sandwich” would have would be FRIED CHICKEN. No. That would be one of those assumptions that would make you and I into donkeys. Because this sandwich included deli meat, cheese, and bacon. And by deli meat I mean what looked like packaged chicken from the grocery store that had been tossed on the griddle. Not breaded. Not fried chicken pulled off the delicious, moist bone.
It was one of the most disappointing sandwiches I’ve had… ever. But that’s what I get for ordering something titled “southern” outside the south. I always do that, and I’m always disappointed. You see, when I saw that sandwich my mind immediately raced to the most delicious sandwich on Earth, the Shrimp Boat chicken sandwich. Shrimp Boat is a restaurant in Durham, and while I’ve never had their shrimp, their fried chicken sandwich is to die for. It’s chicken that is fried, pulled off the bone, and paired with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise on a soft bun. Nothing extravagant, nothing gourmet, but out of this world good.
dan & i with the birthday boy, dave. it’s worth noting that we had a great time at the party. next time we’ll be bringing our own fried chicken sandwiches ;) photo by avery knox.
Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich
2 chicken breasts, bone in/skin on
1 romaine lettuce heart
4 tbsp mayonnaise
3 cups buttermilk
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp chipotle
1/2 tsp garlic
Salt & pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups flour
2 slices bread
Peanut oil for frying
Soak the chicken in the buttermilk and half the spices for at least 2 hours.
Toast the bread, dice, and combine it in a food processor with remaining spices. Combine with flour.
In a large skillet, heat your oil to 350 degrees. Dredge each breast in breading and fry for 10 minutes on each side. Set aside to cool.
Toast your buns. Spread 2 tbsp mayo on each bun. If you’re going to skip the mayo, you might as well skip the sandwich- it’s that crucial.
Chop the lettuce and slice the tomatoes. Pile onto buns. Top with fried chicken that you’ve pulled off the bone in strips.