Jalapeño-Brined Fried Chicken Sandwiches - These sandwiches really look more complicated than they actually are. All we need to do is make a quick brine, an even quicker breading station and pan fry these things. We start with the brine which is 1/2 cup of the liquid from a jar of pickled jalapeños, 3 garlic cloves, 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of dry mustard, 1 teaspoon each of ground coriander and dried dill and 1/2 cup each of sugar and salt. Mix well and submerge some boneless chicken thighs that have been seasoned with fresh cracked pepper in the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 1-3 hours.
After a couple of hours in the brine, remove the chicken and pat dry. Create a breading station with a bowl of buttermilk and a plate of flour seasoned with black pepper, salt and paprika. Using one hand submerge the chicken in the buttermilk then dredge in the seasoned flour. Move the breaded chicken to a wire rack then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
We're actually going to fry these on a griddle outside on the grill. We get a medium fire going and pour a shallow amount of oil to cover the entire pan. Once the oil is hot we add the chicken.
Fry for about 5 minutes per side until the chicken is a deep golden brown and cooked through. Remove from heat and drain.
Dogfish Head Aprihop - Anytime we pop open a new Dogfish Head brew around here, we know it's going usually going to be an adventure. Actually, a hoppy apricot beer seemed a little tame for the normally half-cracked brewers at Dogfish head. The beer pours a dark orange, almost brown and is very cloudy. The head is a light tan that dissipates quickly. The aroma is sweet and slightly malty with a faint hop nose. We were not prepared for the flavor that was to come. The first note was booze. So boozy in fact, that we totally see why the eyes of the apricot-eating rabbit that adorns the label are bloodshot red. This is followed up by a sweet fruit punch flavor that is only on the palate momentarily before the hoppiness kicks in full force. The beer is not nearly as light or easy-drinking as we would have suspected, but again should have known better given the brewery it came from. Their 120 minute IPA clocks in at over 15% ABV! Something a little lighter would have probably worked better with the salty and spicy sandwich, but the pairing certainly wasn't bad.
Grifter "The Return of the Bearded Brethren" - With an album title like that, especially in this genre, how could we not be intrigued? While the album title and cover may have got us into the door, it was the gritty boogie-fueled rock and roll that kept our attention and made us not want to leave. Britain's Grifter combines classic rock riffs with a dirty grit that puts "The Return of the Bearded Brethren" firmly in southern stoner rock territory. The album begins with "Black Gold" and right away the groove captures you along with a killer riff. It's a quintessential opener and perfectly sets the tone for the album. "She Mountain" is reminiscent of classic Molly Hatchet from the southern boogie sound to the Danny Joe Brown-esque vocals. The twangy slide guitar makes an appearance to kick off "Paranoiac Blues". The song has a cool swagger to it even though it still maintains a heaviness throughout. One of the best tracks on the album is "Braggard's Boast". The song clips along at a Bad Wizard-like clip blurring the line between boogie and punk. The chorus is super catchy, mixing a little bit of psychobilly into the fray. It's a song we've been playing over and over. "It's Not Me, It's You" has a classic heavy blues riff that serves as the songs backbone. The title track is a good time party anthem with a Kiss vibe just a lot grittier. The album closes with a cover of one our all time favorite Sabbath songs, "Fairies Wear Boots" and the band does a phenomenal job with it. Musically, it's true to the form to the original. Vocally, singer/guitarist Ollie goes the gravelly route with excellent results putting the exclamation point on an amazing album.