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How to Make Nashville Hot Chicken?

Nashville hot chicken
Photo by Ahmed Bhutta on Pexels

Nashville hot chicken is an ultra-crispy deep-fried chicken, smeared with spicy hot cayenne pepper-infused paste. This richly pigmented spicy seasoning paste gives the chicken its reddish hue.

Nashville hot chicken is juicy, savoury, salty, and spicy. So let your taste buds set on fire, give yourself the feeling of pleasure and pain at the same time. It is a super-loving food for people nowadays.

In its classical preparation, a portion of chicken thighs, or breasts or wings are marinated in a buttermilk blend of seasoning, floured, fried, and finally covered in a hot sauce spiced with cayenne pepper.

Nowadays Nashville hot chicken can be found all over the city of Nashville or around the whole country serving this dish or its variant. but you can get the best hot chicken in Hattie b’s.

Hattie b’s hot chicken is the most popular chain serving the Nashville-style hot chicken. It has expanded its chain in Nashville city and outside like in Alabama, Georgia, and Las Vegas too.

Origin of Nashville Hot Chicken

Nashville hot chicken is a special dish of city Nashville, Tennessee in the United States. It is believed that the originator of Nashville hot chicken is Andre Prince Jefferies’s family, who is the owner of Prince’s hot chicken shack since 1980.

Prince’s hot chicken shack is credited for popularizing this dish and inspiring many restaurants with similar offerings. There were many honours and awards given to this shack. So this Nashville hot chicken is also called Prince’s chicken.

The story behind the development of this spicy dish is quite interesting, fun, and accidental too. According to myths, it has been said that a person named Thorton Prince ( great uncle of Andre Prince Jeffery) was a party-loving person and often return home late at night. After a particular late night out his angry girlfriend cooked a super spicy fried chicken with extra pepper for breakfast to take revenge.

When he took the bite instead of shouting out he liked that chicken dish. He liked it so much that he shared the recipe with his brothers and by mid-1930, they created their recipe and opened the Barbeque chicken shack café.

This café was later on passed to his niece, Andre Prince Jeffery who continued it as Prince’s chicken shack. So, once prepared as a revenge breakfast is now considered to be a favourite hot chicken sandwich for all. It is quite funny.

Nashville Hot Chicken Recipe

Nashville hot chicken
Photo by Dex Ezekiel on Unsplash

For preparing delicious Nashville hot chicken, you need to keep in mind the following things:

  • Preparation time- 20 minutes.
  • Cooking time- 25 minutes.
  • Brine time/ Mari nation time-1 hour.
  • Food serving contributes- 6 servings.

Ingredients Required

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces.
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt.
  • Oil for frying (peanut oil, vegetable oil)
  • Buttermilk – It adds an incredible tang to the chicken and tenderizes the chicken because of the acids present in it.
  • Hot Sauce- It adds salt and heat that penetrates the chicken.
  • Flour Mixture- This provides crispy breading to the chicken filled with flavors.
  • Cornstarch- adds crunch and texture to the chicken and it is important for breading.
  • Onion Powder/garlic powder- give more flavors and enhance the taste.
  • Cayenne pepper- it mainly provides the heat for the hot chicken.
  • Chili powder- add more heat and different flavor profiles.
  • Brown sugar- provides a sweet balance to the heat.
  • Smoked Paprika- enhance flavors and gives a smoky twist.

For marinating:

  • 1 cup buttermilk.
  • 1/4 cup pickle brine.
  • 2 tablespoon hot sauce like Tabasco, or Louisiana.
  • 1 large egg.
  • 1 tablespoon of kosher salt.

For flour:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour.
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch.
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper.
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika.
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper.

For hot sauce:

  • 1/4 cup of butter.
  • 1/2 cup of spicy oil ( oil leftover after frying).
  • 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper ( you can increase the quantity as per your heat preference).
  • 1 tablespoon of packed light brown sugar ( depending on your sweetness level preference).
  • 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika.
  • 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder.
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder blend.

For serving:

  • White bread.
  • Sliced pickles.
  • Dry seasoning.

Types of Equipment Required

  • Cast iron skillet.
  • Shallow dish.
  • Wire rack.
  • Baking sheet.

Method of Preparation of Nashville Hot Chicken

  1. Put chicken pieces in a bowl, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, and toss it evenly. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight.
  2. Prepare the marinade in a bowl. Put pickle brine, buttermilk, egg, hot sauce brine, salt in a bowl and whisk them together. Add chicken pieces in this buttermilk and hot sauce marinade and mix thoroughly to ensure each chicken piece is coated. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 2 to 4 hours. Save the rest of the marinade.
  3. Sift flour and cornstarch in a bowl. Add salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper and mix it evenly.
  4. Take two shallow dishes. In one swallow dish put the flour mixture and in another, put the marinade mixture.
  5. Now follow this chicken breading process to ensure juicy and crispy fried chicken.
  6. Take one piece of marinated chicken, put it into the flour mixture and coat it thoroughly from all sides. Dip that coated chicken piece in the buttermilk mixture fully, remove from marinade and allow the excess marinade to drip back in the bowl itself.
  7. Put that chicken piece back in the flour mixture, coating evenly from all sides. Thus, create a double coating, and put it on the baking sheet.
  8. Do the same process with the remaining chicken pieces one by one. Let all the chicken pieces rest and dry for a few minutes.
  9. The rest time for coating helps the crust to adhere to the chicken pieces. This double coating causes the chicken to fry up slightly thicker and remain crisp when the spicy sauce is brushed over.
  10. Heat large deep-sided skillet, and the cast iron skillet is preferred since it retains heat better. Pour almost two inches of oil for frying.
  11. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Measure cooking oil temperature with an instant-read thermometer. It should read 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  12. If you do not have a thermometer, put a 1-inch bread cube in the oil. If it gets brown in 45 seconds, then it is the right temperature.
  13. Higher temperatures will cause the chicken to burn from outside without being properly cooked from inside. or at low-temperature chicken will absorb oil and become greasy and heavy.
  14. Drop chicken pieces in the hot oil in the skillet carefully with the skin down and deep-frying them. Flip them over once till the chicken pieces are golden brown for 6 to 8 minutes, till the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahreneit.
  15. Remove chicken pieces on the parchment paper. Like this fry the remaining chicken pieces .Fry the chicken in batches, do not overcrowd the pan and let the chicken pieces float easily. Before frying the next batch, check the oil temperature again, and let it come to 350 degrees Fahreniet.
  16. Put the deep-fried chicken pieces on a wire rack to drain or on the paper towels to absorb excess oil. You can keep the fried chicken pieces on a baking sheet in preheated oven to keep it warm and crisp.
  17. After frying chicken pieces, let the oil cool slightly.
  18. Prepare hot sauce by taking used oil and butter in a bowl, mix it to melt down the butter. Now add cayenne pepper, paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, light brown sugar powder, salt and mix it properly to form a paste.
  19. Brush the fried chicken pieces with this hot sauce paste and your Nashville hot chicken is ready to eat.

Serving Ideas for Nashville Hot Chicken Recipe

  1. Serve this crispy Nashville hot chicken on white bread, bun, paprika white bread, brush the fried chicken with hot sauce with sliced pickle chips on top of them, sprinkle some dry seasoning, and finish it with bun top. So enjoy this hot chicken sandwich as a special breakfast.
  2. This Nashville hot chicken is a wholesome and perfect meal on its own but can be served with French fries, potato chips, or tater tots,
  3. This hot chicken can also be paired with coleslaw, potato salad, cornbread, mac and cheese, andcollard greens.
  4. You can also pair up with fresh veggies like cucumbers, celery, carrot sticks, and tomatoes to balance out the spice.
  5. Dips like ranch or blue cheese dressing will also taste good together.
Seasoning of Nashville hot chicken
Photo by Murtada Mustafa from Pexels

Storage of Leftover Fried Chicken

You can store the leftover fried chicken and have it later on. Before storing, let the fried chicken pieces cool down to room temperature, put them in an airtight container, and refrigerate it. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Later on, reheat Nashville hot chicken for a few minutes in an air fryer or at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven. So, in this way you can enjoy the crunchy leftover Nashville hot chicken again effortlessly.

Tips for Adjusting The Heat in Nashville Hot Chicken Recipe

Hot sauce in the buttermilk brine and cayenne pepper in the flour mixture contributes to the spiciness of the Nashville hot chicken recipe but the main heat comes from the spice paste made with the cooking oil. Hence, you can adjust the level of heat according to your preference.

  • For a heat-sensitive person- use 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper as it gives a pleasant spicy taste.
  • For a heat-loving person- increases to 4-6 tablespoons of cayenne pepper. It will set your mouth on fire and you will get a ‘hurts so good’ sensation.
  • You can also balance the spice in this Nashville hot chicken by adding brown sugar according to your taste and tolerance level.

Remember, this Nashville hot chicken recipe is traditional hot chicken. So if you are not a person who likes spicy food, try on other types of fried chicken recipes.

Tips for Frying at Home

Frying can be tricky and intimidating, but here are some tips for your safety and proper frying of chicken.

  • A proper skillet or pan is the foremost thing. A heavy cast-iron skillet is best. Since you have to do frying in multiple batches, the cast iron will retain heat. You can use any large heavy skillet or deep pan which is at least 3 inches tall so that hot oil does not slosh or bubble over. You can also use a Dutch oven in place of this.
  • Always let the chicken sit for a few minutes after coating. This rest time will help in good crust adherence to chicken pieces.
  • Properly heat the oil to the required temperature. You can measure the temperature of the oil with the help of an instant-read thermometer, it should read 350 degrees Fahreniet. Higher temperatures will burn the chicken from outside and lower temperature will cause the chicken to be greasy and heavy.
  • If you do not have a thermometer, then put some water or flour mixture in the hot oil, if its swirls or dance then the oil is ready for frying.
  • While deep frying, slide the chicken pieces slowly into the hot oil. Use tongs to hold chicken pieces, immerse half into the oil and release it slowly.
  • Do not drop the chicken pieces from distance, otherwise, the oil will splatter up and may potentially hit and burn you.
  • Never crowd the pan, if there will not be enough space for the chicken pieces to flip and float easily, it will be half fried or half-cooked. Flip the chicken pieces in halfway through the process for even cooking.
  • Too many chicken pieces at once will drop the temperature of the oil fast and the chicken will come out greasy and heavy. So deep fry in batches.
  • Maintain the temperature of the oil to 350 degrees Fahreniet by adjusting the flame. On average it takes about 6-8 minutes for frying. When the chicken is golden brown or its internal temperature reaches 160-165 degrees Fahreneit, it is done.
  • The internal temperature for boneless chicken thighs will be 165 degrees Fahreneit and 160 degrees Fahreniet for chicken breasts. For white meat, the temperature should be 160 degrees Fahreniet.
  • Before frying the next batch, make sure that the temperature of the oil is 350 degrees Fahreniet again.
frying
Photo by satif576 on Pixabay

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving) of Nashville Hot chicken Recipe

  • Calories- 712 to 800 calories.
  • Fat- 44g to 50g.
  • Protein- 50 to 55g.
  • Carbs- 40g to 60g.

Some kitchen Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes

  • Never take the chicken from the fridge, dredge it and directly fry it. Let your chicken come to room temperature and sit at that temperature for 30 minutes .If you fry cold chicken, the coldness of the chicken will drop the temperature of the oil drastically and will result in uneven cooking.
  • Dry the chicken pieces well. After dredging your chicken, you should pat your chicken pieces with paper towels to remove excess water. It will help in perfect even coating of flour mixture without causing irregular lumps.
  • Cut large pieces into small ones. All pieces should be of the same size almost so that they cook evenly and at the same rate.
  • Always use brine or buttermilk since it tenderizes the chicken and makes it succulent and juicy.
  • Season your flour mixture with desired spices, especially with salt, black pepper, or cayenne pepper so that you will get flavorful crust with flavorful chicken too.
  • Do not use too much flour for coating, or coat your chicken very thick, otherwise, it will result in a wet, soggy, and greasy thick layer.
  • Always use the right oil for frying. Use oil with a high smoking point to fry your chicken. Smoking point refers to the temperature at which oil starts to break down and gives unpleasant fumes. Oil like sesame, peanut, canola, and refined oil is great for frying.
  • The temperature of the oil should be checked and maintained.
  • Check your fried chicken to see whether it is done or not with the help of a meat thermometer.

Recipe Variation

The variation to a traditional hot chicken recipe can come from the application of the spice paste either before breading or after breading. Some additional spices can also lead to some variants.

Nashville Hot Turkey Version

In this recipe replace the bone-in chicken pieces with boneless skinless turkey breasts. Cut it diagonally into 1-inch thick steaks and fry for 8 to 9 minutes until crisp flipping halfway through the cooking.

Hot Fish

It is a variation to the hot chicken theme. This breaded and fried whiting or catfish fillet is prepared using a similar cayenne paste or using a cayenne powder blend which is sprinkled over the fillet. Some hot chicken restaurants also serve this hot fish.

The Footnote

There is a citywide festival and competition celebration for this Nashville hot chicken recipe. The recipe has become popular beyond the southern United States due to the influence of the Nashville music industry.

Therefore, this Nashville hot chicken is not your average fried chicken., it is full of flavours and spices too. If you are a spice food-loving person then go and enjoy this Nashville hot chicken recipe.

Written by Saba

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