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How to: Nashville Hot Chicken

Nashville Hot Chicken is a spicy breaded chicken unlike any other. It's not "buffalo" chicken, its HOT chicken.

Originating in Nashville in the 1930s, legend has it that a scorned woman was seeking revenge on her significant other, Thornton Prince, so she doused his chicken with cayenne pepper, hoping it would be inedible. Prince's Hot Chicken Shack has been serving up its famous hot chicken ever since and was the inspiration behind our Honky Tonk Hot Chicken Rub

Nashville Hot Chicken is comprised of three components: thick bread to soak up the juices, fried chicken coated in a flavorful and hot dry rub, and tangy pickles. For our version, we started with a whole chicken, but you can use thighs, legs, or any chicken pieces you have on hand for the fry, but dark meat will have better results than white meat. 

To start, place your thawed, whole chicken on a cutting board and cut into 10 pieces: wings, drumsticks, thighs, breasts cut in half. When breaking down chicken, use a sharp knife to cut a slit in the skin between the joints. Break the joints by hand, to cut between the bones, and separate the pieces.

Transfer to a glass baking dish, then season with salt and 2 tablespoons of Honky Tonk rub. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours, or overnight. Note: be sure to save the backbone of your chicken for making homemade chicken stock. 



Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to dredging and frying and let sit at room temperature. 

Prepare dredging station: In a large bowl, whisk together flour and ⅓ cup of rub. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, 1 tablespoon of  Honky Tonk rub, and tabasco in a large bowl, then set aside.



Once your dredging station is set up, heat your oil in a deep cast iron skillet (oil should come up 1 inch from the bottom of the skillet) to 325° F. 

Piece, by piece, dredge the chicken in seasoned flour, shaking off excess, then dip in buttermilk mixture.  Dredge again in flour, then set aside on a sheet tray until all chicken is dredged. To prevent caking, use two sets of tongs to dredge your chicken: use one to dredge in flour, and another to dredge in buttermilk.

Fry chicken in 2 to 3 batches, turning occasionally until skin is golden brown and crisp, and the internal temperature registers 165 F.  Depending on the size of the chicken, each piece will take 8 to 15 minutes to fry.



Transfer the fried chicken pieces to a wire rack lined sheet tray to cool for 10 minutes, prior to serving warm. Optional: if you really want to turn up the heat, toss or drizzle your fried chicken in a hot oil made from 1 cup of the frying oil and 2-3 T of Honky Tonk Rub. 



Nashville Hot Chicken 

Prep time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Cook time: 30-45 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
4 lbs. Chicken, whole
1/2 cup + 1 T Honky Tonk Nashville Hot Chicken Rub, divided 
1 T Kosher Salt
Eggs
2/3 cup Buttermilk
2 tsp Tabasco Sauce
1 cup  Flour
1 quart Vegetable Oil, for frying
2-4 slices Thick-cut White Bread or Texas Toast
Bread & Butter Pickles
  Coleslaw

Instructions:

  1. Place the chicken on a cutting board, and cut into 10 pieces: wings, drumsticks, thighs, breasts cut in half.  Transfer to a glass baking dish, then season with salt and 2 tablespoons of rub. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours, or overnight.

  2. Remove the chicken 30 minutes prior to dredging and frying.

  3. Prepare dredging station: Whisk the eggs, buttermilk, 1 tablespoon of rub, and tabasco in a large bowl, then set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together flour and ¼ cup of rub. Set aside.

  4. Place oil in a deep cast iron skillet, or Dutch oven.  The oil should come up 1 inch from the bottom of the skillet.  Heat to 325° F.

  5. Piece, by piece, dredge the chicken in flour, shaking off excess, then dip in buttermilk mixture.  Dredge again in flour, then set aside on a sheet tray until all chicken is dredged.

  6. Fry chicken in 2 to 3 batches, turning occasionally, until skin is golden brown and crisp, and the internal temperature registers 165 F.  Depending on the size of the chicken, each piece will take 8 to 15 minutes to fry. Transfer the fried chicken pieces to a wire rack lined sheet tray to cool for 10 minutes, prior to serving warm.
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