If you didn’t already know, Nashville hot chicken is hot. It’s 🔥 spicy. This week I decided to turn butterflied and thinly pounded, fried pork chops into Nashville hot fried pork chop sandwiches. In some ways, a person might say that this is a blend of Nashville combined with the state sandwich of Iowa and Indiana.
What is Nashville hot chicken?
Nashville hot chicken is chicken that is fried until crispy and then dunked in a spicy, oily sauce that is a combination of cayenne pepper, brown sugar, spices like paprika, and hot oil.
The peppery heat flavor is kept in check with hints of brown sugar sweetness that keep you coming back for the next spicy bite. It’s hard to explain why, but the flavor is addictive.
I made a Nashville hot fish sandwich last year. It was a good one.
Why a pork chop sandwich?
I wrote about the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich last year. This technically is a breaded pork chop, and I don’t bread it as I did in the breaded pork tenderloin recipe, I bread it more like fried chicken, but it’s still very similar.
Since these pork chops are reminiscent of fried chicken, they work great with Nashville hot sauce.
Note: this isn’t the only pork chop sandwich that I want to write about, but the others are for future blog posts.
Basically, we’re combining two sandwich concepts to make one tasty snack on a bun.
There is no question that this was the hottest and spiciest sandwich I’ve made for this blog so far. And only a tiny bit of the reason for that is because I made a mistake in my original recipe and doubled the cayenne. Don’t do that unless you’re prepared.
🔥 If you are reading this and you are my mom or my mother-in-law, you should stop reading and just scroll through the photos, because this one is too spicy! 🔥
This sandwich literally made me cry at least once. Just tears from one eye though. It wasn’t a two-eye cry. No big deal.
The damn pickle buns
I can use swear words in this blog post now that I have told my mom and mother-in-law to stop reading. Hell yeah, here we go. Damn.
Usually, there are pickles served on top of Nashville hot chicken, but why just put damn pickles on the sandwich bun when you can bake pickles into the bun? I worked on a few test batches of buns to figure this out. Not only are there pickles on these buns, but there are chopped-up pickles inside the buns, and I swapped out half of the water in the bun recipe for straight-up dill pickle juice.
These buns aren’t super pickle-y, but they do have contributing flavors that make for interesting sandwich bread.
Adding a bunch of chopped-up pickles and pickle juice to the recipe turns out to be a fun way to add some additional flavor to your sandwich bun.
The damn fried pork chop
My local store was having a big sale on boneless pork chops and that inspired the meat selection for this blog post. When you fry pork chops, you will want to make them as thin as possible and consistently thick so that they fry evenly. The easiest way to do this is through a technique called butterflying.
Butterflying the meat
I bought my damn pork chops already butterflied by the butchers at my local damn grocery, but if you can’t find pre-butterflied pork, it’s easy enough to do yourself. Just cut across the chop and open it up like a book. Don’t cut all the way through, leave an inch or so uncut so that you can open it up. Then you will want to pound the pork chop flat so that it fries evenly.
Breading and frying the pork chop is very similar to fried chicken or even the chicken fried steak I made a few weeks ago. As in most of those situations we’re setting up a breading station with wet and dry components.
There’s a brining process in the recipe for the pork chop and buttermilk which does a couple of things. It helps season the meat, but it also helps to tenderize the meat.
There’s also a very important strategy here for double-dipping in the breading process. You go first from the buttermilk brine and then into the seasoned flour. Then back into the buttermilk and back to get coated a second time in the flour. All this just means you are prepared for a crunchier exterior in your damn fried pork chop.
Nashville hot paste/sauce
You can make this sauce really really hot. One of the hottest sandwiches I’ve ever made was in this batch of sandwiches. I accidentally read my own recipe incorrectly and added double the cayenne pepper and I shed a few tears during the eating process.
You could probably also make it with more paprika and less cayenne if you wanted a milder version. But I don’t have experience with that, and your mileage may vary.
Some damn sauce science
There’s a bit of frying science that I wasn’t aware of until a couple of years ago when I started making Nashville hot chicken. This science tidbit is that an oily, fatty, and buttery sauce is less likely to make your fried food soggy due to the oil in the sauce. Chili oil-based sauces just don’t sog up breaded and fried foods, they help to enhance them.
This might be hard to imagine at first, but just think about the fact that fried food is fried in oil/fat, and a Nashville hot sauce is based on spices with a bunch of warmed-up oil, so it makes sense that coating a fat fried piece of meat in more hot fat will lead to more of the same.
The moral of the story is that when you make Nashville hot pork chop sandwiches, you should expect a fantastic crunch. These are the rules according to science. Send any of your questions to Aristotle who supposedly invented science but somehow never invented a Nashville hot pork chop sandwich.
The damn pickle slaw
The slaw I used in these sandwiches is just a quick slaw recipe that introduces a pickled veggie situation. The radish and carrot give the slaw a lot more texture than just cabbage. I didn’t make a stand-alone recipe for the slaw, but it’s included in the whole sandwich recipe below.
Nashville hot pork chop sandwich
Here’s the damn recipe for this sandwich. Keep scrolling past the recipe for a bunch of damn sandwich photos and maybe some extra swear words that will be fun to read and write.
You like spicy food? This is the sandwich for you. This is a crunchy, tender, fried pork chop coated in an addictively spicy Nashville style hot sauce with a pickled slaw to add texture and attempt to cool the spice.
Ingredients:Fried pork chops
- 2 boneless pork chops, butterflied and pounded thin
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons salt (half in the buttermilk and half in the flour)
- 1 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- peanut oil or another vegetable oil for frying (enough to fill your pan 2 inches deep)
- 1⁄2 cup dill pickle juice
- 1⁄2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 cup carrots, cut into matchsticks
- 3 radishes, cut into matchsticks
- 2 tablespoons cayenne
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
- 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 6 tablespoons hot oil, from frying pan
- 2 hamburger buns
- pickle slaw, from above
Buttermilk brine the pork chops: butterfly each pork chop by cutting the chop across the flat side about two-thirds of the way through. Don't cut all the way. This will allow you to "open" the meat like a book.
Place your butterflied meat on a cutting board and cover it with a piece of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or something heavy like a cast-iron skillet, pound the plastic wrap-covered meat until each piece is about a quarter of an inch thick.
Add your pounded pork chops to a zip-top bag or sealed container with the buttermilk and salt. Allow to brine in the refrigerator for at least an hour or up to 4 hours.
Pickle slaw: while the pork chops are brining in the fridge, add your water and dill pickle juice to a small pot and bring to a boil. Add sugar, mustard seeds, and salt and remove the pot from the heat. Stir the liquid to try to dissolve the sugar/salt as much as possible. Allow the pot to cool for 5 minutes and then add the liquid to a bowl with the cabbage, carrots, and radishes. Stir everything to combine.
Store the slaw in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days.
Dredging and frying the pork chops: After the pork chops have brined for a bit, set up a breading station with two bowls or plates.
Dump the buttermilk brine and pork chops into the first bowl.
The second bowl will contain all-purpose flour, salt, black pepper, and paprika. Mix to combine everything.
Add a buttermilk-coated pork chop and coat it in the bowl with the flour mixture. Make sure to press the flour into the pork to fully coat each piece.
Once each piece is fully coated, move back to the buttermilk bowl and re-coat it in buttermilk. Then repeat the process in the flour, effectively double dredging each pork chop with flour.
In a pot or pan over medium-high heat, add 2 inches of peanut or other vegetable oil for frying. When the oil has reached 350 F degrees you are ready to fry.
Add each pork chop or work in batches if they don't all fit in the pan without overlapping.
Cook each pork chop on the first side for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. At this point, you can check for doneness with a meat thermometer. 145 is considered to be done for pork, but some people will prefer it more done than that. I personally pull mine out around 140 because it will continue to rise in temperature for a few minutes after being removed from the oil.
Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to let some of the excess oil drip off.
Make the Nashville hot paste/sauce: add all of your cayenne, brown sugar, paprika, and garlic powder to a heat-proof bowl or plate. Carefully spoon the hot oil over the spices and stir it all to create a somewhat thick sauce.
Dunk each pork chop into the sauce, or carefully spoon the sauce over each pork chop until fully coated.
Assemble the sandwich: slice your buns and add a Nashville hot pork chop to each bun with the pickle slaw or condiments of your choosing.
Serve and enjoy.
Damn, it’s more sandwiches.
Thanks for damn reading!
This sandwich was a blast to make and eat. I am a fan of spicy food, but I still prefer flavor and not just heat. Nashville hot fried food is spicy and addictive, leaving you craving your next bite.
I know I threatened this two weeks ago, but check back next week when we travel to the Big Apple and get chopped! For real, this time.