image description April 7, 2014

Nashville’s Famous Hot Chicken

Location:
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Nashville’s Famous Hot Chicken

A Nashville Staple

You can’t talk about the Nashville food scene without mentioning hot chicken. This dish is to Nashville’s food what the Opry is to music, and a trip to Music City is incomplete without trying it. Here’s the run down: chicken pieces are marinated, usually in buttermilk, then dredged in a mix of flour and spices and deep fried. Then it’s basted with homemade hot sauce made from oil right out of the fryer and often finished with even more heat from a dry cayenne spice mix. Every hot chicken place guards their secret recipe, each unique in their own right. My two favorites, Prince’s Hot Chicken and Hattie B’s, couldn’t be more different.

Prince's Hot Chicken

The Prince family was the first in the city to cook hot chicken, with more than 70 years of hot chicken history that recently won them a James Beard Foundation American Classics award. The story goes like this: Thornton Prince, a known womanizer, stayed out a bit too late one night, so his lady friend cooked up some cayenne-blasted fried chicken to teach him a lesson. But the prank backfired: Thornton loved the recipe, eventually opening up a restaurant with the addictive spicy chicken as the centerpiece. These days, Thornton’s niece, Andre Prince Jeffries, runs the business and it couldn’t be more popular. Chicken breasts, thighs and wings are first marinated in buttermilk, then breaded, sauced with a heavily cayenne-filled paste and pan-fried. You can order various degrees of spice, but go easy because even the mild packs a hefty punch. It’s served atop white bread and speared with a few pickle chips.

AZ at Hattie B's in Nashville.

The Prince family started a trend that spread like wild fire over the city, with each hot chicken joint creating a distinctive riff on Prince’s original recipe. Opened in 2012, Hattie B’s has become a heavy weight with hot chicken fans in just a few short years. Nick Bishop and his dad (who can also take credit for Bishop’s Meat and Three in Franklin, Tennessee) cook their chicken perfectly, then douse it with a heat profile that goes from a legit mild to “shut the cluck up” (a.k.a. burn notice). The Bishop team is also churning out scratch-made sides like pimento mac ‘n’ cheese and black eyed pea salad, alongside a slew of local brews. The original Midtown location is so popular, they’re opening a second Charlotte Avenue location this May.

Contact

Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack
123 Ewing Lane
Nashville, TN 37207
615.226.9442
facebook.com/pages/Princes-Hot-Chicken

Hattie B’s
112 19th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203
615.678.4794
hattieb.com

 

 

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