This recipe may look simple, but getting there took two years! There were so many variables: how to season the flour, the marinade, the sauce? Spicy or sweet? Our core question was: What makes a great chicken sandwich? The chicken! Where to find enough good, all-natural meat? And how to portion it? The ideal for 4 is: 2 thinly sliced skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved crosswise, about 6 oz. each. At the Shacks we steep the chicken in a tenderizing sous vide bath; at home, it’s a buttermilk marinade.
• ON-DEMAND: Listen to Faith’s conversation with Shake Shack creator Danny Meyer about the Shake Shacks in our region. •
Reprinted from Shake Shack by Randy Garutti and Mark Rosati. Copyright © 2017 by Shake Shack Enterprises, LLC. Principal photographs copyright © 2017 by Christopher Hirsheimer. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 small shallot peeled and sliced
- 1/2 small jalapeño pepper halved
- 1/2 small clove garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3-1/2 cups flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2-1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 2 thinly sliced, skinless boneless chicken breasts, about 6 oz. each, halved crosswise
- canola oil for deep frying
- 4 tablespoons Buttermilk Herb Mayo (recipe follows)
- 4 hamburger potato buns, buttered and toasted
- 12 round kosher dill pickle slices
- 2 pieces green leaf lettuce, shredded in long strips
- For the Buttermilk Marinade: mix together all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
- For the Seasoned Flour: whisk together all ingredients in a deep wide dish. Set aside.
- Add the chicken breasts to the bowl of buttermilk marinade. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
- Lift one piece of chicken at a time from the marinade, and dredge really well in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess flour.
- Return the chicken to the marinade, fully submerge one more time, then dredge again in the seasoned flour. Shake off excess flour and set aside. Discard the marinade.
- Pour the oil into a heavy, deep pot to a depth of 4 inches. Heat over medium heat until the temperature of the oil reaches 350°F on a candy thermometer.
- Use a wire spider or slotted spoon to carefully lower the chicken into the hot oil. Fry 2 pieces of chicken at a time until the crust is deep golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to paper towels to drain.
- Spread the Buttermilk Herb Mayo on the bottom of the bun. Add 3 pickle slices and a quarter of the shredded lettuce. Transfer the chicken to the prepared buns and serve.
Buttermilk Herb Mayo
Makes 2 cups
2 cups Hellman’s mayonnaise
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Put all the ingredients into a medium mixing bowl and stir until well combined.
Thank you for the recipe, looking forward to making it, what is the secret to that light, craggy crust?
How far ahead should the herb dressing be made?
My only visit to to SS was last fall in London. I ordered a chicken with cheese. I was told that they ‘could not’ add cheese. Is the rule that cheese shall never touch a chicken sandwich?
It was soooo good and I got the wrong pickles so I’m looking forward to making it
Corinne Pulitzer says
What oil do you fry the chicken in?
I had an allergic reaction ( My face swelled) to the sandwich & I’m trying to figure out what caused the reaction.
Thank you for your prompt response.
Currently have taken an antihistamine & I’m icing.
Robyn Doyon-Aitken says
Hi Corinne. The chicken in this recipe is fried in canola oil. Feel better!
Ruth m alter says
In house, what temp do you soup vide the chicken and how long? Thanks!
Robyn Doyon-Aitken says
Not sure, Ruth. The buttermilk marinade takes the place of the sous vide method Shake Shack uses when they make these in their restaurants. Sous vide instructions aren’t listed in the homemade recipe. If anyone has made an at-home sous vide version of this chicken sandwich, please let Ruth know what you’d recommend.
Could I use chicken thighs instead of breasts?