The sandwich category is heating up—literally. Several quick-service players have recently fired up chicken and meat sandwiches with hot and spicy condiments reflecting both regional American and global cuisines. And a new shrimp entree is also bringing the heat at a full-service chain. Here’s a roundup of four new items blazing a path on menus now.
1. Chiles layer on flavor
Bruxie is hot stuff this October, launching two spicy chicken sandwiches: the Notorious H.O.T. spiked with hot habaneros and the Lil’ Heat, flavored with milder Fresno chiles. The two sandwiches are layered with several distinct levels of heat to create a complex, multidimensional flavor profile, said chef Kelly Mullarney. Both begin with fried chicken coated with a nine-ingredient dry chile blend, followed by a housemade bomba hot sauce made with Italian Calabrian chiles. Finally, the Notorious H.O.T. gets a layer of pickled fresh habaneros, while the Lil’ Heat is topped with pickled Fresno chile peppers. The acidity of the pickling tames the hotness a bit while naturally cleansing the palate, Mullarney said. Crisp slaw and a toasted bun complete the build.
2. Brisket sings a Nashville tune
Nashville hot chicken has moved out of its home state to menus across the country. Now, Firehouse Subs is dressing a new beef sandwich with the signature flavor. The chain’s Nashville Hot Brisket sandwich features slow-smoked beef brisket, fiery Nashville hot seasoning, spicy pickle chips, sweet and tangy slaw and melted pepper jack cheese on a toasted cornbread roll. The sandwich touts a medium spice level, but guests can kick up the heat another notch or two with a visit to Firehouse’s complimentary hot sauce bar, which offers more than 25 bold condiments.
3. Chicken by way of North Africa
A Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich sounds pretty tame for the taste buds, but the version debuting at Gott’s Roadside boasts a spicy accent. The sandwich starts with a buttermilk-dipped chicken cutlet, breaded and fried crisp, then topped with an arugula herb salad, cucumbers and pickled turnips layered on a toasted sesame brioche bun. The heat comes in the form of harissa mayonnaise, which is slathered on the sandwich along with turmeric mayo. The red and gold condiments not only jack up the flavor but they also evoke autumn colors.
4. The secret of endless heat
Summer may be over, but customers at Red Lobster can still feel the heat by ordering up the chain’s new Nashville Hot Shrimp. The spicy new preparation features crispy, corn flake-crusted shrimp tossed in a sweet and spicy rub and drizzled with honey. It’s part of Red Lobster’s “secret menu” promotion, launched this month to celebrate its annual Endless Shrimp event. Guests in the know can choose unlimited plates of Nashville Hot Shrimp, as well as several other shrimp preparations, for $15.99.