Outsider Cowboy Cooking: Nashville Hot Chicken

by Jim Casey
outsider-cowboy-cooking-nashville-hot-chicken

Nashville Hot Chicken has taken the poultry-loving world by storm over the last 20 years or so. Like the Philly cheesesteak, Chicago deep-dish pizza, or Boston clam chowder, Nashville has championed hot chicken as its culinary claim to fame. Now, just about every restaurant in Music City has hot chicken on its menu. But if you want great Nashville Hot Chicken, check out Prince’s, Bolton’s, Big Shake’s, or The Original Corner Pub.

Nashville Hot Chicken gets its kick from a spice mix that prominently features cayenne pepper. After the chicken is fried, the spice mix is dissolved in warm frying oil and poured over the top of the cooked bird. And I won’t lie to you. My spice mixture is hot—really hot. Some recipes call for the addition of brown sugar to counter the heat, but not on my watch. Don’t be scared. Just keep a cold beer close by. Let’s get cooking . . . Cowboy Cooking.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lbs. chicken (thighs, drums, breasts, wings, or tenders)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup corn flour
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 oz. hot sauce
  • 8 tbsp. HOT spice rub (3 tbsp. cayenne, 1 tbsp. each of paprika, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and mustard powder)
  • 4 cups vegetable oil
  • white bread & pickles (for serving)

Prep Work

Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. You can use any cut of chicken, including breasts, wings, or tenders. Today, I’m using thighs and drumsticks.

Mix the flour and corn flour together with 1 tbsp. of the spice rub.

Add the egg, hot sauce, and 1 tbsp. of the spice rub to the buttermilk.

Cowboy Cooking Equipment

I’m frying the chicken in my Smithey Ironware No. 12 Cast Iron Skillet, which I recently reviewed for Outsider. This 12-inch skillet is 2.25-inches deep, which is a good depth for frying chicken. Of course, you also can use a cast iron Dutch oven.

In addition, you can prepare this recipe on the stovetop.

Nashville Hot Chicken Directions

Liberally season the chicken with about 2 tbsp. of the spice rub. Dust the chicken in the flour mixture.

Dip the chicken into the buttermilk mixture. Now, double dip the chicken back into the flour mixture. Let the chicken rest while you bring 4 cups of oil to heat (about 325 degrees).

Add the chicken to the oil. Fry for about 8-10 minutes. Flip the chicken and fry for another 8-10 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the oil and let rest. Pour 1 cup of the used oil into a cast iron sauce pot and add the remaining spice rub (about 4 tbsp.). Stir the mixture. Pour the oil mixture over the chicken. Serve over white bread and top with pickles. Enjoy your Cowboy Cooking masterpiece.

(Clockwise from top left) Liberally season the chicken; double dip the chicken in flour mixture; fry about 10 mins per side; serve over white bread with pickles.

Recommendations

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