The real name of this sandwich was “Sweet Tea Brined Cornbread Crusted Chicken Biscuit with Fried Egg,” and the more accurate description is even longer. However, the sandwich itself, regardless of name length, is one cohesive, Southern-inspired, piece of heaven, and while it seems difficult to make, it’s actually quite easy.
**My tip is to get all of the individual components made and then, assemble just before dinner. In fact, let everyone assemble their own sandwich!
The original inspiration for this sandwich came from an open faced Biscuit Benedict I had at the Treylor Park in Savannah. On one of our visits, I asked our server if the chef would consider making the Biscuit Benedict with scrambled eggs rather than fried. Well, he did, and I devoured it, storing that gravy-dripping biscuit of awesomeness in my culinary memory.
Fast forward 2 years, and I needed to come up with a signature sandwich to wow the World Food Championship judges. Coming from Florida and already being required to make a Cuban sandwich, I knew that I needed to show that I had other skills. I went to my idea file and immediately knew that I would play up my southern heritage and put the south on the plate…fried chicken, biscuits, and sweet tea.
The sandwich we ended up creating was a homemade biscuit with pepper jelly and a sweet tea-brined, cornbread crusted chicken breast drizzled in orange blossom honey topped with thick cut bacon, pepper gravy, a heaping pile of fried collard greens, and a yolk oozing fried egg…all served on a burnt plank of wood with a jelly jar of Publix sweet tea!
Sweet Tea Brined Chicken:
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts-pounded flat and cut in half
4 c. water
8 tea bags
3 c. sugar
1 c. salt
5 c. Ice
Heat water and tea bags to boiling in the microwave. Pour into a large bowl. Add sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved. Add ice to quickly cool. Add chicken breasts and allow to soak for at least 1 hour.
Honey Cornbread Chicken:
Remove chicken from sweet tea brine. Dredge chicken breasts in Jiffy Cornbread mix (dry). Heat 1 inch oil in a skillet. Fry chicken breasts until golden brown and crisp. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. Drizzle each chicken with orange blossom honey.
3 c. self rising flour
3 TBSP sugar
12 TBSP cold butter—cut into small cubes
1 c. milk
¼ c. melted butter
Combine flour, sugar, and butter in a food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Pour flour into a large bowl. Add milk and stir to combine. Turn out onto a floured surface. Press dough to about ½” thick. Using a biscuit cutter, cut 10-12 biscuits. Place biscuit rounds onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Brush with melted butter. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with butter again. Allow to cool before serving.
Fried Collard Greens
Heat oil in a skillet or deep fryer to 350 degrees. Flash fry raw, cut collard greens for 1 minutes. Drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt.
Peppered Sawmill Gravy:
Heat bacon grease in a small pot. Add 1-2 TBSP flour and cook for a minute (make a roux). Add 2 cups milk, salt, and a generous amount of pepper. Whisk over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Move to warming area.
Heat a small amount of oil or bacon grease in a non-stick skillet. Fry eggs over medium heat to over easy. Remove from heat and drain on a paper towel.
Split biscuits. Spread bottom half of biscuit with pepper jelly. Top with one piece of chicken, 2 slices of crispy bacon, spoonful of gravy, a handful of fried collard greens, and a fried egg. Top with biscuit and secure with a toothpick.
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