If you've never had Nashville Hot Chicken, we're talking about an ultra-crispy fried chicken doused with a cayenne-infused glaze, and by 'glaze' I mean melted butter and lard. For the record, I've never been to Nashville, so I can't tell you how authentic this is, but it works for me, and is fairly easy to pull off.

Chef John
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Ingredients

4
Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified

Marinade:

Flour:

Sauce:

Directions

  • Toss chicken pieces with 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Transfer chicken to a bowl; cover and refrigerate overnight.

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  • Whisk buttermilk, pickle brine, hot sauce, and egg together in a mixing bowl. Pour marinade over chicken and stir to ensure each piece is thoroughly coated. Cover and let chicken marinate in refrigerator 2 to 4 hours.

  • Mix flour and salt together in a shallow flat dish. Remove chicken from marinade and blot with paper towels. Reserve marinade. Toss chicken in flour until thoroughly coated. Return chicken to marinade, coating all sides; remove chicken from marinade allowing excess to drip back into the bowl. Coat the chicken once again in flour mixture. Place on a rack. Repeat with all chicken pieces. Allow to sit out about 15 minutes to allow coating to dry out a bit.

  • Place butter and lard in a large pot. Add cayenne pepper, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, kosher salt, and black pepper. Place over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until fats melt. Remove from heat; keep sauce warm.

  • Fill cast iron skillet about 1/3 of the way with vegetable oil. Heat oil to 350 degrees F over medium-high heat. Carefully place chicken into hot oil, skin side down. Maintain an oil temperature of 325 degrees F, adjusting heat as need. Fry until instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees F, 8 to 10 minutes per side.

  • Transfer chicken to a rack to drain. Brush with the sauce on both sides.

Cook's Note:

Serve chicken pieces on white bread and brush with the sauce. Serve with pickles.

Nutrition Facts

1115 calories; 66 g total fat; 258 mg cholesterol; 3755 mg sodium. 74.5 g carbohydrates; 53.9 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (34)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
08/04/2016
I'm a fried chicken snob and this recipe came very close to the fiery version I've eaten down South. To turn up the heat I added a teeny bit of habanero chili powder and that did the trick. As a seasoned chicken fryer I also added my not-so-secret ingredient to the flour mixture to make the chicken extra crispy: about a half cup of Matzo meal. Really! Finally I have a trusted Lodge cast iron skillet that never lets me down on frying projects. The tricky thing is getting the oil temp just right and keeping it hot. If the oil's not hot enough it makes for greasy chicken. If it's too hot the coating burns before the chicken's fully cooked. All that sounds like a huge hassle but it's so incredibly delish you'll be glad you made the effort! Read More
(17)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 1 stars
11/09/2016
Butter/lard remained separated from the seasonings & brown sugar which congealed. Maybe I did something wrong but hard to see how. Read More
(7)
41 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 30
  • 4 star values: 7
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 4 stars
08/04/2016
I'm a fried chicken snob and this recipe came very close to the fiery version I've eaten down South. To turn up the heat I added a teeny bit of habanero chili powder and that did the trick. As a seasoned chicken fryer I also added my not-so-secret ingredient to the flour mixture to make the chicken extra crispy: about a half cup of Matzo meal. Really! Finally I have a trusted Lodge cast iron skillet that never lets me down on frying projects. The tricky thing is getting the oil temp just right and keeping it hot. If the oil's not hot enough it makes for greasy chicken. If it's too hot the coating burns before the chicken's fully cooked. All that sounds like a huge hassle but it's so incredibly delish you'll be glad you made the effort! Read More
(17)
Rating: 4 stars
08/04/2016
I'm a fried chicken snob and this recipe came very close to the fiery version I've eaten down South. To turn up the heat I added a teeny bit of habanero chili powder and that did the trick. As a seasoned chicken fryer I also added my not-so-secret ingredient to the flour mixture to make the chicken extra crispy: about a half cup of Matzo meal. Really! Finally I have a trusted Lodge cast iron skillet that never lets me down on frying projects. The tricky thing is getting the oil temp just right and keeping it hot. If the oil's not hot enough it makes for greasy chicken. If it's too hot the coating burns before the chicken's fully cooked. All that sounds like a huge hassle but it's so incredibly delish you'll be glad you made the effort! Read More
(17)
Rating: 5 stars
09/12/2016
My husband and sons love hot food. Me not as much. I was kind of scared of the amount of cayenne pepper in this recipe but the fats and the brown sugar took the edge off. It was fantastic -- all of us agreed. It was hot but not the kind of hot where you are gulping milk in order to stop crying. It was hot enough for my guys; I wouldn't have wanted it any hotter but I could eat it too. The techniques here produced juicy and flavorful results. Would definitely make again. Read More
(13)
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Rating: 5 stars
02/23/2018
I have made this recipe 5-6 times already. The first time I made a mistake and added the dry seasoning to the flour the second time I followed the recipe exactly and we did not like it as much so now my mistake is how we make it. I follow the recipe except I add 2 TBSP of Harissa to my flour mixture (we really like it hot) and everything else is the same. Harissa is an African spice and I buy the dry powder version. We make this recipe around every 3 weeks as my family cannot go any longer without it. This recipe is absolutely a standby for us and we will eat it with salad or my son likes it with rice. I do not work for this spice shop but this is where I buy the Harissa. It is also great on meats and on potatoes. https://www.savoryspiceshop.com/blends/harissa.html Read More
(11)
Rating: 1 stars
11/09/2016
Butter/lard remained separated from the seasonings & brown sugar which congealed. Maybe I did something wrong but hard to see how. Read More
(7)
Rating: 5 stars
08/01/2016
Loved it. Nice and spicy and the pickles are a nice cooling factor. Read More
(5)
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Rating: 5 stars
12/17/2016
Just made this and it turned out great! I usually fail when I try to make fried chicken it's either soggy or all of the breading just falls off. Like in the video you can run a fork over it and hear how crunchy it is. The sauce is delicious just the right amount of heat. I will definitely be making this again thanks Chef John! Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
10/17/2017
I have made this several times and it's always a big hit when hosting. When it's just for my little family we take the leftovers and make chicken salad for lunches. As other reviewers have mentioned I learned after my first time do not make the sauce too early other wise the spices butter and lard will separate instead of staying together. It seems to be fickle about how long it can be heated for. Read More
(3)
Rating: 4 stars
08/01/2016
I live in Nashville and this is the real deal. We don't eat things like this every day but cowboy up for this real southern traditional meal. Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
08/24/2017
First let me say that while I am from the South my folks are both transplanted Yankees and know nothing about frying chicken. So I lived in Nashville for a few years and learned a trick or two from some friends' mommas. Folks this is the real deal. Secondly I hate frying...pan frying deep frying you name it I hate to do it. More specifically I hate the clean up. This is so worth it. Thirdly and most importantly this is not an every day dinner. This is not a once a month dinner. This is a treat and yes LARD is important. So with all that said I made this with boneless skin on breasts and thighs cut into some kind of large strips. It was delectable! For me the heat was spot-on. Sometimes it can be too hot. It was a bit too much for those in my family who are not fans of spice (oh well more for me right?) so I do recommend starting with 1 tablespoon of cayenne as another reviewer said. Thanks Chef John! Read More
(3)