3 Hot Chicken Sandwiches to Try

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Photography by Angelina Aragon; Mrs. Chicken's Yardbyrd Sandwich
Photography by Angelina Aragon; Mrs. Chicken’s Yardbyrd Sandwich

Nashville-style fried chicken will make you feel all chile inside.

Mrs. Chicken
4011 N. 32nd St., Phoenix
602-281-6527, mrschickenaz.com
Nashville-style hot chicken arrives in the Valley with no small amount of foodie fanfare, having been declared “the hottest food trend” of 2017 by Eater.com. The dish’s origins are dubious, but point to a 70-year-old recipe from Nashville, where a disgruntled wife purportedly slathered fried chicken in cayenne and lard to punish a straying husband. At Valley restaurateur George Frasher’s newly opened Mrs. Chicken, locals happily punish themselves with the Yardbyrd Sandwich ($12, pictured), a fist-size chicken breast fried in peanut oil until crispy, tossed in hot cayenne pepper sauce and then crowned with dill pickles and sweet mustard coleslaw on a fluffy white bun. Provel cheese (a processed combo of cheddar, Swiss and provolone) lends a cooling counterpoint to the chicken, which can be customized from mild to “burn-your-face-off hot.” Revenge is sweet, no?

Monroe’s Hot Chicken 
45 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix
602-872-7100, monroeshotchicken.com
Taking the first bite of Monroe’s Fried Chicken Sandwich ($12) is nearly impossible because the height and girth of the chicken nearly matches that of owner Larry White Jr.’s legendary red velvet cake. But once you conquer the immense antibiotic-free chicken breast and pillow-like brioche bun, you’ll feel the burn. Order it Southern style, with no heat, or go extreme and try “What Da Cluck,” which is so hot that you have to sign a waiver. (Monroe’s uses the “double-spice method” – both in the batter and the dry coating slapped on the chicken after frying it in peanut oil.) Whichever heat level you choose, the crunch-worthy bird is topped with a mound of sweet slaw and pickle slices. Your investment will also score you a side dish, from crinkle fries to smoked turkey collard greens.

Famous 48
8989 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
480-758-4994, famous48.com
The Nashville Hot Chicken ($15) sandwich at Famous 48 is a bit tamer than those found at the hot-chicken-only restaurants, but remains a customer favorite, according to executive chef Robert Wagner. To prepare, Wagner dips a pounded 4-ounce chicken breast in seasoned flour, moves it to an egg wash laced with Louisiana hot sauce, gives it a robust roll in some panko bread crumbs and finally plunges it into the deep fryer to emerge golden brown and crusty. After placing the fried chicken atop finely shredded lettuce and dill pickles on a toasted bun, Wagner squiggles the breast with zigzags of “come back sauce,” a house-concocted Buffalo sauce made with Frank’s RedHot, Tabasco, paprika, garlic and butter. For the denouement, he adds a little mayo and serves the capsaicin-boosted beauty with a knot of salty french fries.

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