Nashville-Style Hot Chicken Recipe

Carla Hall's hot chicken is all about that crispy, chile-oil-dunked skin

Nashville's signature fried chicken dish has thick, crispy skin that's dunked in chile oil for a fiery finish, and Top Chef favorite Carla Hall's version is no different. Little more is needed to round it all out other than a slice of soft, white bread and a couple of pickles.

When you're cooking fried chicken in a cast-iron skillet, prevent any dark spots by using a pair of metal tongs to occasionally nudge the chicken around.

Also, you'll want to save the excess spiced oil to drizzle onto fried eggs, sandwiches and roasted vegetables. The longer the oil sits, the spicier it becomes, so Hall suggests straining out the spices after two weeks.

To learn more, read "Hot Chicken in the City."

Recipe adapted from Carla Hall's Southern Kitchen, Brooklyn, New York, NY

Nashville-Style Hot Chicken
4.3 from 42 ratings
Carla Hall's hot chicken recipe begins with a dill pickle brine and ends with an epic dunk in chile oil. Get the recipe on Tasting Table.
Prep Time
20.03
hours
Cook Time
1.5
hours
Servings
4
to 6 servings
Total time: 21.53 hours
Ingredients
  • For the Brine
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 1 cup sliced dill pickles
  • 1 cup dill pickle juice
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 habanero pepper, stem removed
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • For the Hot Chicken
  • 2 cups all-­purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • About 4 cups canola oil, for frying
  • For the Spicy Oil
  • 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 3 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 3 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 cups canola oil
  • To Serve
  • 6 to 8 slices white bread
  • ½ cup sliced pickles
Optional Ingredients
  • Toothpicks (optional)
Directions
  1. Make the brine: Place the chicken in a gallon-size Ziploc bag. In a blender, combine the pickles, pickle juice, water, habanero pepper, salt and sugar, and mix on medium speed until smooth. Pour the brine over the chicken and seal the bag. Chill for 4 to 8 hours.
  2. Remove the chicken from the brine and lay the thighs in a single layer, skin-sides up, on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Chill, uncovered, for 1 hour.
  3. Make the hot chicken: In a large bowl, combine the flour, paprika, cayenne, salt and black pepper. Dredge the chicken thighs in the seasoned flour, then pat them between your hands to shake off excess. Return the chicken to the wire rack, reserving the seasoned flour, and chill another 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the spicy oil: In a large saucepan, combine the cayenne, smoked and sweet paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt and sugar. Place over medium heat and toast until fragrant, stirring often, 2 minutes. Slowly add the oil and heat for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and keep warm. Make ahead: Let the oil cool to room temperature, then store in the fridge, covered, for up to 2 weeks.
  5. Dredge the chicken thighs in the reserved flour once more and return them to the wire rack. Chill in the fridge for a final 30 minutes.
  6. Line a clean rimmed sheet tray with a clean wire rack and set aside. Attach a deep-fry thermometer to a large cast-iron skillet, and fill it with oil to a ½-inch depth. Place the skillet over medium-high heat until a thermometer registers 365°. Working in 2 batches, lay the chicken thighs in the hot oil, skin-sides down and away from you, and cook until the bottoms are deep golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Carefully flip and continue to cook until the each chicken thigh is deep brown, and a meat thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the thigh registers 160°, another 6 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the wire rack and repeat with the remaining thighs.
  7. Using a large slotted spoon, dunk the fried chicken into the hot oil, turning to coat both sides.
  8. To serve, lay the bread slices on a large platter and top with the fried chicken and pickles.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 1,422
Total Fat 109.7 g
Saturated Fat 16.9 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 252.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 58.0 g
Dietary Fiber 5.4 g
Total Sugars 6.6 g
Sodium 1,158.2 mg
Protein 51.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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