Tennessee Hot Chicken
Ingredients
Directions
Ingredients
½ c
plus 3 tbsp cayenne pepper
Jump
1 tbsp
plus 2 tsp garlic powder
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1 tbsp
onion powder
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1 tbsp
plus 2 tsp smoked paprika
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1 tbsp
chipotle chile powder
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1 tbsp
plus 2 tsp salt
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c
hot sauce, such as tabasco
Jump
8
skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
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vegetable oil, for frying
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c
all-purpose flour
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2 c
buttermilk
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nashville hot sauce
2 tbsp
firmly packed light brown sugar
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5 tbsp
cayenne pepper
Jump
1 tsp
smoked paprika
Jump
tsp
chipotle chile powder
Jump
dill hamburger pickles, for serving
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sliced white bread, for serving
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Tennessee Hot Chicken

In Fried Chicken, Rebecca Lang takes a closer look at the staple that has roots everywhere from the Philippines to Jamaica to Nashville.

It’s widely known that a few restaurants in Nashville, Tennessee, serve insanely hot and spicy chicken. Rumors of sweating, crying, screaming, and many other kinds of reactions abound. When this chicken hits the hot oil, you’ll know immediately that it’s got some heat because it’s tough to even inhale near the fryer. The pickles cut the heat a little and the white bread is perfect for loading up extra hot sauce.

6 servings

  1. To make the marinade, whisk 2 tablespoons of the cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon of the garlic powder, the onion powder, 1 tablespoon of the paprika, the chile powder, 1½ teaspoons of the salt, and 1 cup of the hot sauce in a bowl.
  2. Place the chicken thighs in a large zip-top bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and rub to coat the chicken. Double bag the meat with another large zip-top (the aroma of the marinade is strong), seal, and refrigerate for 12 hours.
  3. In a deep fryer or large, deep stockpot, heat 3 inches of vegetable oil over high heat to 335°F. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together 1½ cups of the flour, 6 tablespoons of the cayenne pepper, and 1½ teaspoons of the salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and the remaining 1¼ cups of the hot sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 4 cups of flour, 3 tablespoons of cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of paprika, and 2 teaspoons of garlic powder.
  5. Remove the pieces from the zip-top bag, discarding the marinade.
  6. Dredge each thigh in the first flour mixture, dip in the buttermilk mixture, and dredge in the second flour mixture. Once all thighs have been coated, carefully place them in the hot oil. Depending on the size of your fryer, you may need to fry in two batches. Fry for 16 to 18 minutes, or until dark brown and juices run clear. Maintain a frying temperature of 325°F to 335°F. Drain the chicken on the wire rack.
  7. To make the hot sauce, carefully ladle 3⁄4 cup of the frying oil into a small heatproof bowl. Whisk in the brown sugar, cayenne pepper, paprika, and chile powder.
  8. Immediately before serving the chicken, liberally brush each thigh with the hot sauce. Stir the sauce after brushing each piece to keep the spices from falling to the bottom.
  9. Serve with pickle slices and white bread.

Reprinted with permission from Fried Chicken, by Rebecca Lang, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Fried Chicken

Rebecca Lang

Fried Chicken

Book Cover