Nashville Hot Chicken
This amazing Nashville Hot Chicken recipe results in a crispy, tender, fiery fried chicken with a spicy kick that is positively addictive.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Dry-Brine Prep1 d
Total Time1 d 1 hr
Servings: 4 large servings
For the Dry Brine
- 1 whole chicken 3 pounds, washed, patted dry, and cut into quarters
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
For the Dredge
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- Vegetable oil for frying
For the Spicy Coating
- 1 cup hot frying oil or hot lard
- 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Dill pickle slices
- White bread optional
Step 1: The Dry-Brine
In a medium bowl, toss together the chicken pieces, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (Up to 24 hours)
Step 2: The Dredge-Dip-Dredge
In a 9×9 pan or baking dish, whisk together the milk, eggs, and hot sauce. In a separate 9×9 baking dish, combine the four and salt.
Drag the chicken through the flour mixture, coating evenly.
Dip the floured chicken in the milk mixture.
Drag once again in the flour mixture.
Shake off excess between each step. Allow chicken to rest on drying rack while you prepare the rest of the chicken pieces for frying.
Step 3: The Fry
PLEASE READ NOTES IN POST for additional notes and tips about this step. WARNING: Deep frying can be dangerous! Carefully prepare the area before you begin deep frying. Always make sure that whatever you are deep frying in is stable so that it won’t tip. Always use a tongs, a skimmer, or a deep-fry basket to add and remove chicken pieces from the hot oil. Chicken pieces can slip from forks or spoons and splash hot oil.
Heat vegetable oil in a deep skillet or deep fryer until it is between 340°F – 350°F. The oil needs to be deep enough for the chicken to fully submerge. [If you don’t have a deep enough skillet for deep frying, see HELP in post.] The temperature will drop when you add the chicken. Keep the oil at 325°F while the chicken fries.
Working in batches, use tongs to carefully add the chicken to the hot oil and fry until crispy. If using a skillet, you will need to turn the pieces as they brown. Do not let them touch each other while frying.
Estimated cooking times [fully submerged in frying oil]: 15-17 minutes for breast quarters; 18-20 minutes for leg quarters.
Chicken is done when it registers an internal temperature of 165°F. (Yes, I use a candy thermometer, and it works just fine.)
When done, remove chicken from oil and allow to drain on wire rack.
Step 4: The Spicy Coating (Wet Application)
Ladle about a cup of hot frying oil into a heatproof bowl or pan. Whisk in cayenne, brown sugar, and spices. The hot oil will activate the spices. (I use a small saucepan for this in case I need to heat the oil up again before basting a second batch.)
Baste the hot spice mixture over the hot fried chicken. You want the hot oil mixture hot enough that when you baste it over the fried chicken, the skin stays nice and crispy.
The spice level in this recipe is gauged as MEDIUM HOT. Adjust spices according to your own tastes.
IMPORTANT: The oil needs to maintain an optimal temperature of 325° while the chicken is frying. However, the oil temp will drop at least 25° when you add the chicken, so initially you need to heat the oil up to about 350°.
It’s important to maintain the correct temperature for frying chicken of 325° F. If the temperature of oil in the pan drops down below 300°, the chicken will begin to absorb the cooking oil, resulting in greasy, soggy chicken. If it rises above about 340°, the chicken will cook too quickly on the outside, and not get done in the middle. When fried at the correct temperature, the chicken will come out golden brown, having absorbed very little oil.