DIY Takeout: Simple Is Best for Royal Rooster's Fried Chicken Sandwich

A great sign of an excellent restaurant is when the kitchen only does one thing. You know the cooks have taken the time to completely master that one thing — they aren't stretching the kitchen too thin. That's definitely the case with Royal Rooster, the lunchtime scene at Old Major.

Royal Rooster focuses on perfecting one thing: the fried chicken sandwich. There are a few different variations on the menu, but my personal favorite is the spicy version. Also, I'd recommend ordering the thigh; you also have the option of breast), but I find the thigh to be juicier and more flavorful.

Can we make this at home though? Obviously, frying the chicken properly is key. I use a double-breaded method to ensure a nice crust on the chicken along with a buttermilk soak for good flavor and juicy meat. For the rest of the sandwich, keep it simple! Pickles, good lettuce, a spicy mayo, and a decent soft bun is all you need.

Keep reading for the full recipe — and then get ready to chomp chomp!

Royal Rooster Fried Chicken SandwichEXPAND
Royal Rooster Fried Chicken Sandwich
Nick Evans

Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwiches
Makes 4 sandwiches
Total Time: 30 minutes (plus 30 minute marinade time)

Buttermilk Marinade:
2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder

Dry stuff:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
1 quart vegetable oil, for frying
4 soft sandwich buns (potato buns are great if you can find them)
Spicy mayo (1/4 cup mayo mixed with 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce)
Butter lettuce

For chicken:
1. Stir together the buttermilk ingredients. Add the chicken thighs and let them marinate for at least 30 minutes. You could marinate them a few hours in advance without much worry.

2. Stir together the dry ingredients. Add chicken the thighs to flour mixture, making sure to thoroughly coat them. Shake of the excess lightly, then dip the thighs back into the buttermilk mixture and return them to the flour mixture to form a nice crust on the chicken. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes.

3. Preheat the oil in a large, high-walled skillet (cast iron works well) until it reaches 350 degrees F. Add chicken thighs (it's okay if the oil doesn't completely cover the chicken). Fry chicken thighs for about 10 minutes, flipping occasionally, until they reach 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part. Don't overcrowd the pan; you may need to fry two batches, depending on the size of your pan.

4. Remove the chicken from the oil and let the pieces drain on a few paper towels.

To make a sandwich: smear some spicy mayo on the bottom and top of a soft sandwich bun. Add pickles to the bottom of the sandwich and top with a fried chicken thigh. Add lettuce to the top bun and serve while warm!

Have an idea for a dish to re-create for DIY Takeout? Leave a comment or e-mail cafe@westword.com.

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