Hattie B’s Hot Chicken–Nashville, TN

I’m always up for a road trip, and it has been a couple of months since I’ve been out of town.  This week I’m in Nashville, TN, and I have heard that Hattie B’s is where you go for hot chicken.

I’ve had hot wings, but hot chicken brings this fowl medium an entirely different direction.  It’s not sauced like hot wings, and it’s not just spicy fried chicken.  After it is marinated, seasoned, breaded, and fried, it is slathered in a cayenne-based paste.  For a more detailed exposition of Nashville’s hot chicken, you can consult Serious Eats.

I didn’t feel like torching my palate so I settled on the hot chicken.  There were two hotter grades, but I was quite satisfied with my choice.   

The chicken says it’s hot.
The chicken was alive with flavor.  At first you are hit with a wall of cayenne. Then subtle notes of sweetness and hints of paprika bubble to the surface. It was incredibly juicy and shrouded in perfectly crackly-crunchy skin.  The flavors were nicely balanced.  It wasn’t like eating a blowtorch, but nearly two hours later, my lips still retain a touch of heat and my esophagus is simmering with warmth. 
As you eat, the chicken paints your fingers red with the seasoning.
 I knew the line out the door was a good sign and I’m glad I braved the wait in the summer heat.  If you want hot chicken, you need to try Hattie B’s.

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