Nashville is a fun town, boasting more than 160 live music venues, giving Music City its well-earned moniker. Hot chicken hails from these parts and was born from revenge. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack
may be the oldest establishment to make this dish, dating back to the 1930s. The story is that Thorton Prince III was a womanizer. His girlfriend found out about his philandering and added spicy cayenne pepper to his chicken to punish him. However, Prince liked it so much, he decided to open a chicken joint with it on the menu.
You can make Nashville Hot Chicken yourself with a little bit of patience as fried chicken takes a bit of time. Two tablespoons of cayenne pepper is not a typo and is unbelievably the amount called for if you want the chicken “mild.” Reduce to one tablespoon if you are really spice-adverse and increase to 6 tablespoons for “hot” ― if you dare.
Want to see the recording studio where Elvis recorded more than 250 hits? Check out Historic RCA Studio B, an unassuming beige brick building sometimes called the “Home of a Thousand Hits.” Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings, and many others recorded here.
Nashville Hot Chicken
- 1 3-4 lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
For the egg dredge:
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon Frank’s Red Hot sauce
For the flour dredge:
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Vegetable oil (for frying), 6 cups
- 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup used frying oil
At least 3 hours before cooking, generously salt and pepper the chicken pieces. Let marinate in the refrigerator.
When ready to cook, heat oil in a large pot with deep sides. Prepare egg dredge by combining eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce in a shallow baking dish. In another shallow dish, prepare flour dredge by combining flour and salt. One at a time, dip chicken pieces first in egg dredge, then in flour dredge. When oil is 325 degrees, fry chicken, working in batches, frying a few pieces at a time. Turn pieces occasionally to achieve consistent color. When chicken is deep golden brown or reaches 160 degrees internally, remove to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet lined with newspaper or paper towels. Let oil temperature return to 325 between batches.
To finish: In a small bowl, combine cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Take ½ cup of the used cooking oil, and add to bowl. Stir well. With a brush, baste pieces of chicken with hot oil mixture. Serve chicken while still warm.