Before I get to these Fried Chicken Sandwiches with Scotch Bonnet Marmalade Glaze and Coconut Slaw, I want to take you on a walk down memory lane. If you’re not so much about the walk or the lane but very much about the sandwich, feel free to scroll down to the recipe. But if you’re into stories of humbling humiliation you might want to stick around. I swear it will all relate back to these beautiful sandwiches. Alright, here we go.
The year was 2015 and my beau and I had just started dating. We were new, new. Like, not even official new. I believe “hanging out” was the phrase we used. And one day we found ourselves “hanging out” at a local pub. It was hot so we downed our first beers like water, so the mood was rather, um, loose. Somehow we wound up in a deeply stupid pissing contest over who had the higher spice tolerance. In other words, how many Scoville units can you crush?! I was certain it was me because my heat fiend of a father taught me well. And my beau was convinced it was him because his heat fiend of a stepfather had trained him well. We were in a deadlock, so we did what any sensible human beings in this predicament would do. We ordered scotch bonnet hot wings.
Now, you know you’re in trouble when a server tries to talk you out of your order. Honestly, the guy was close to begging. But we insisted our jaws were set and ready for battle. So he went back to the kitchen to relay our order and that’s when I started to panic. Could I actually handle scotch bonnet hot wings? What if I can’t and I turn into a hot, sweaty mess in front of this dude I’m kind of falling for? My anxiety went through the roof when I started to smell the capsaicin wafting from the kitchen. I was screwed. My bf, on the other hand, looked as cool as the cucumber I was about to wish I had.
So the wings finally arrived and I took one bite and instantly knew I was in over my head. I forged ahead in a lame attempt to maintain my dignity. The first wing was almost behind me when I started crying out of one eye. I must’ve of been sweating profusely because my bf asked if I was alright. And it was then that I came to the terrible realization that the heat in my mouth was mounting and, I kid you not, my ears started to go fuzzy like I was underwater. Finally, I gasped “No, I can’t finish them.” My bf then proceeded to polish off the entire basket himself, you know, just to further demonstrate his prowess.
The next day I called my dad and told him the story. I honestly felt bad. He had trained me so carefully and I couldn’t handle a chicken wing…coated in scotch bonnet peppers. His only response was “Don’t apologize, do better.” He was joking of course. Working your way through aggressively spiced food items is not an important life skill. But still, I was humbled enough that I actually started working on my heat tolerance like the nerd that I am. And I’m happy to report that if those wings were in front of me today. I could probably eat two before devolving into a sweaty, crying mess. Progress!
I bring up this story because it’s Father’s Day weekend and I associate most of my spicy food stories with my awesome dad. And I also decided to relive this humiliation because these Fried Chicken Sandwiches with Scotch Bonnet Marmalade Glaze are sort of inspired by those cursed wings. The addition of marmalade (my dad’s absolute favorite spread) in the glaze really balances out the inferno. I promise these sandwiches won’t make you lose your hearing or cry out of one eye. Generally, as a policy, I try not to make people cry with the food I make.
Unfortunately, these Fried Chicken Sandwiches are very easy to make. So dangerous! They may seem like a lot of work, but the truth is you don’t even have to deep fry them. 2-inches of canola oil and a good cast iron skillet is all you need to achieve this golden perfection. The only hurdle I encountered when making these Fried Chicken Sandwiches was the glaze. No, the scotch bonnet marmalade glaze is not technically difficult, it’s just, well, if you’ve ever experienced pepper spray, making this glaze should feel familiar. Not that I’ve ever been pepper sprayed!
So that’s the low down on these sandwiches. You should make them, they are approachable spicy not deafeningly spicy. Promise! But before I go I want to give a shout out to my dad. Thank you for giving me a healthy appreciation of spicy food, beer, scotch, and baseball and for being an all-around awesome dad! I wish I could spend Father’s Day with you. These Fried Chicken Sandwiches with Scotch Bonnet Marmalade Glaze are for you, I’m only sorry they’re not right next to you.
Fried Chicken Sandwiches with Scotch Bonnet Marmalade Glaze
- 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup hot sauce I used Frank's
- 1/2 cup marmalade
- 2 cloves garlic minced, divided
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper thinly sliced
- Juice of 2 limes divided
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 bag coleslaw
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons mayo
- 2 teaspoons demerara sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt divided
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Canola oil for frying
- 6 hamburger buns
- 4 dill pickles sliced
- Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk and hot sauce and mix well using your hands. Cover the bowl and transfer the chicken to the fridge to marinate. Leave the chicken to sit for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- While the chicken is marinating, make the glaze and slaw. Place the marmalade, 1 clove of the garlic, the scotch bonnet pepper, the juice of 1 of the limes, and the water in a small saucepan. Stir to combine. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Transfer the glaze to a bowl and let cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge. Chill until ready to use.
- Pour the coleslaw in a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the coconut milk, mayo, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the remaining lime juice together. Pour the mixture over the slaw and toss to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, fresh ground pepper and the remaining salt together. One by one, take the chicken thighs out of their marinade and roll them in the flour mixture. Then return the thighs back to their marinade and roll them once again in the flour mixture. Transfer the breaded thighs to a plate and set aside.
- In a large cast iron skillet heat 2-inches of canola oil over medium heat. Once the oil reaches 350° F add the chicken to the skillet 3 pieces at a time. Fry the chicken for 3-4 minutes a side or until golden and crispy. Make sure you keep the oil around 350° F. If it is hotter than this the coating will brown faster than the chicken can cook. Transfer the chicken to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Place the plate in a 150° F oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Once all the chicken is fried, brush the thighs with the scotch bonnet marmalade glaze. Place the thighs on the hamburger buns and top with a large spoonful of coconut slaw and pickle slices.
- Serve immediately.