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Nashville Hot Chicken: Fiery, Juicy, And Made At Home

Nashville hot chicken in serving basket

Nashville hot chicken is officially a thing. It can be made anywhere from mild to extra hot and is both painful and addictive.

This zippy variation on fried chicken was created in Nashville at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack and is now served citywide and has caught on nationwide. Hattie B’s is another famous hot chicken shack in Nashville. Some KFC restaurants are even serving a version.

The origin story is a doozy. Apparently, Thorton Prince was a ladies’ man and when he got home late one evening after consorting with a lady friend, his live-in girlfriend was livid. According to Prince’s website, “Instead of a lecture the next morning, Prince awoke to the sizzlin’ smell of fried chicken. The trap set, Prince’s cuckolded lover served up a plate of homemade fried chicken. Without noticing the devilish amount of peppers and spices she had sprinkled on the chicken, Prince dug in. Much to her dismay, Prince didn’t fall over weeping in pain. Nope, he asked for seconds, and, at that moment, the legend was born. Thorton Prince’s great niece, Ms. Andre Prince Jeffries, is still serving the legendary dish.”

Improved Nashville Fried Chicken Recipe


Nashville hot chicken in serving basket
Tried this recipe?Tell others what you thought of it and give it a star rating below.
4.43 from 82 votes
If you like fried chicken and the tang of Buffalo chicken wings, this recipe is for you. Popularized in Nashville, this recipe puts some extra zip in your fried chicken. Variations include crispy fried chicken that is dipped, brushed, or showered with some kind of hot pepper mixture. Some even put hot pepper in the fry oil. Most places guard their recipe as carefully as KFC guards theirs, but here's my unguarded, improved version.

Serve with: pale ale or pilsner.


Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Difficulty: Moderate

Makes:

Servings: 10 pieces of chicken

Takes:

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Notes:
About the oil. You can use just about any oil you want. Many restaurants use the oil they fried with. I have done it with a blend of butter and bacon. Duck fat anyone?
About the chiles. I use chipotle powder and cayenne. Chipotle is not bright red as you might want. To get the bright red color use really fresh bright red pepper flakes.
About the salt. Remember, Morton coarse kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page

Method

  • Prep. Begin by making the hot oil. Pour the vegetable oil in a small pot or pan over medium heat. Add the chile flakes, brown sugar, paprika, mustard powder, pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Turn the heat to its lowest setting, and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes or so to fully extract the flavors. Set it aside. You can refrigerate for a day or two. To make a lighter more subtle burn, pour through a fine mess strainer and push down on the pulp with a large spoon to extract as much oil as possible. The chicken will not be dark red, but the heat will be there (shown in picture).
  • Cook. Use this recipe and technique for fried chicken on the grill. Please note that the chicken is fried in fresh oil, not the hot oil from step 1.
  • After frying the chicken, paint the hot oil on the chicken with a basting brush.
  • Serve. Tradition says to serve with pickle slices on white bread.

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Published On: 8/6/2018 Last Modified: 3/25/2021

  • Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.


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