How to make authentic Nashville hot chicken

How to make authentic Nashville hot chicken

Prep Time

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Cook Time

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Serves

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Above all, Nashville is known for two things: music and hot chicken. Venture outside of Tennessee and, for the most part, fried chicken is fried chicken. Sure, there’ great fried chicken and not so great fried chicken (though it’s all pretty great). Yes, you’ll find fried chicken that’s a little more juicy, a little crispier, a little more flavorful than the one across the road or across the country. But generally speaking, fried chicken only differs slightly in terms of preparation if not quality.

Such is not the case in Nashville, the city that reinvented the iconic dish and made it its own. True Nashville hot chicken only comes in one heat level: blazing.

With this version of Music City’s famous dish, you can adjust the heat as needed, but we recommend you eat it as intended: crackling on the outside, tender on the inside and so fiery you better keep a bandana next to you to wipe the sweat from your brow.

*Recipe and photo courtesy of The Food Channel 

Ingredients

For the chicken

  • 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon blackened seasoning
  • 1 cup buttermilk or whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Frank's RedHot sauce
  • 8-10 cups peanut oil, for frying

For the hot sauce

  • 1 cup peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Preparation

To make the chicken

  • 1 Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Set aside.
  • 2 For the chicken coating, set aside three wide, shallow bowls. In one shallow bowl, pour one cup of all-purpose flour and mix it with salt and pepper. In a second shallow bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce. In a third shallow bowl, whisk together the other cup of all-purpose flour and blackened seasoning.
  • 3 Take one piece of dried chicken and place into first bowl of flour (that is seasoned with salt and pepper). Shake off excess, then dip it into buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl. Finally, dredge again into the final flour bowl (that is seasoned with the blackened seasoning).
  • 4 Place prepared chicken on a baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the chicken breasts.
  • 5 Using a heavy-bottomed pot or large cast iron skillet, pour in oil so it comes up about 3-4 inches inside the pot. Heat over medium-high heat until a heat-safe thermometer registers 325° F.
  • 6 Working in batches, fry 2-3 pieces of chicken at a time, turning occasionally.
  • 7 The chicken coating should be deep golden brown and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of pieces registers 160° F for white meat and 165° F for dark (about 15-18 minutes.)
  • 8 Transfer cooked chicken to a clean wire rack set inside a baking sheet.

To make the hot sauce

  • 1 Whisk together cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika in a medium bowl; carefully whisk in 1 cup frying oil.

To finish

  • 1 Brush fried chicken with spicy oil or drizzle it on top.
  • 2 Serve with sliced white bread and pickles.

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