Nashville-Style Hot Chicken

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Nashville-Style Hot Chicken

No doubt about it, six tablespoons of cayenne is a lot, but that's what Hattie B's considers "medium." For a milder heat, decrease to two tablespoons.

Food Type: 
Preperation Time: 
4 hours
8 servings


    • 2 3 1/2-4-pound chickens, each cut into 10 pieces (breasts halved)
    • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 4 large eggs
    • 2 cups buttermilk or whole milk
    • 2 tablespoons vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Texas Pete)
    • 4 cups all-purpose flour
    • Vegetable oil (for frying; about 10 cups)
    • 6 tablespoons cayenne pepper
    • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • White bread and sliced pickles (for serving)

Toss chicken with black pepper and 2 tablespoon salt in a large bowl. Cover and chill at least 3 hours.


Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Whisk flour and remaining 4 teaspoons salt in another large bowl.


Fit a Dutch oven with thermometer; pour in oil to measure 2". Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 325°. Pat chicken dry. Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess, then dip in buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl. Dredge again in flour mixture and place on a baking sheet.


Working in 4 batches and returning oil to 325° between batches, fry chicken, turning occasionally, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of pieces registers 160° for white meat and 165° for dark, 15-18 minutes. Transfer to a clean wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Let oil cool slightly.


Whisk cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika in a medium bowl; carefully whisk in 1 cup frying oil. Brush fried chicken with spicy oil. Serve with bread and pickles.


Do ahead: Chicken can be seasoned 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

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