While living in the South for a few years, I devoured a barnyard's worth of glorious fried chicken, and I also learned the secrets (yup, frying in lard) to make the crispiest, most flavorful bird to come out of a cast iron skillet. I felt confident my chicken frying skills were at their peak. But that was before trying Chef John's version of Nashville Hot Fried Chicken, the wildly popular recipe trending on Allrecipes. Now, I've got a brand new favorite... after making a couple minor changes. Meet your new bird obsession: Nashville Hot Chicken.

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Photo by Meredith

What is Nashville Hot Chicken?

This much-clucked-over preparation — KFC even offered a version in select markets this summer — was actually first created as a punishment. According to the often-told tale, the owner of Prince's Hot Chicken was cheating on his wife, so she made him a batch of bird that was over-the-top spicy. Surprise! He loved it, put it on the menu and many years later, it's world famous.

show up to this Nashville eatery with camera crews to sweat and cry while munching on orders of XXX Hot. It's become so mainstream, The New York Times food section recently included a recipe. It was not the real deal, though.

It's All in the Glaze

The key to authentic Nashville Hot Chicken is the final step, and, on that count, Chef John stays true. "We're talking about an ultra-crispy fried chicken doused with a cayenne-infused glaze, and by 'glaze' I mean melted butter and lard," he explains in the recipe's intro. I also appreciated his approach to brining the bird and then marinating it in pepper sauce-infused buttermilk. That marinade becomes part of the coating process, too. The marinated bird is dipped in seasoned flour, then goes back for another dip in the marinade before a final dredge in the flour. More coating means extra crispy chicken. It's important to note that this chicken is going to be more mahogany than golden, especially after brushing on the pepper after cooking. Trust me, it tastes awesome.

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Photo by Leslie Kelly

My Review

I loved this recipe so much — and did I mention, I'm a fried chicken snob, so my standards are sky high — that I wrote a review. Reviewing recipes is one of the coolest features available to the Allrecipes community. Sharing your experience and making suggestions on how you made adjustments is so incredibly helpful. I gave it four stars and said it was well worth the considerable effort. Because, you know, it's fried chicken! I will most definitely make this recipe again. (It's going into the Collection I created called "Everything's Better Fried".) While I'm not a fan of turbo-charged spice in foods, Chef John's preparation was on the mild side. So, I added a restrained dusting of habanero chili powder just before eating. Perfection!

Review Chef John's recipe

More Chicken Scratch:

Prefer something mild? Watch this short video on how to make Buttermilk Fried Chicken: