Nashville, TN Hot Chicken and BBQ Restaurants

Nashville, TN is home to many unique BBQ and Chicken restaurants including Jack's BBQ, Bolton's Spicy Chicken, and Prince's Hot Chicken.

By Tiffany Williams on April 29, 2011 at 3:26 am EST
Prince's Hot Chicken in Nashville, TN

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeffrey S. Otto

We’re talking about fried chicken‚ Nashville-style. Even the mild is hot‚ and the extra hot is‚ well‚ blazing‚ searing‚ eye-popping and sweat-inducing.

“There’s just nothing like it anywhere in the world. It is a unique Nashville food not available anywhere else on the planet‚” says onetime Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell. “Once you’ve had it‚ you understand that it’s both different and better than any other food.”

And he’s not kidding. Purcell is a hot-chicken aficionado who is spotted frequently at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack‚ the granddaddy of the city’s hot-chicken emporiums.

Located north of downtown off Dickerson Road‚ Prince’s dates back to the 1940s. Other hot-chicken outlets include 400° and Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish. Yes‚ fish.

Nashville hot-chicken lovers leave the little wings and drummettes for the Yankees up in Buffalo.

A hot-chicken serving is either a leg and thigh or a breast and wing‚ fried to a crispy brown in a cast-iron skillet and served atop two slices of white bread. Pickles speared with a toothpick provide the garnish. Purcell‚ a regular at Prince’s for 30 years‚ describes the bread‚ sopping with the chicken’s grease and spices‚ as “kind of like dessert.”

While the former mayor recommends sides of french fries and coleslaw‚ he stresses that “it’s really all about the chicken.” While the spice recipes are closely guarded secrets of the individual restaurants‚ cayenne pepper and paprika are generally acknowledged ingredients. For Purcell‚ the hotter the better.

“It’s a hot chicken shack. I know they have other temperatures available‚ but if you want that‚ you should go to a medium chicken shack or a mild chicken shack‚” he quips.

The city's hot-chicken reaches its pinnacle on July 4 every year at the Hot Chicken Festival.

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