Nashville Hot Chicken
Ryan Scott's Nashville Fried Chicken, Biscuits, Spooky Halloween Ghost Berries
Nathan Congleton/TODAY
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Rating:
3.5 (2 rated)
Cook time:
Servings:
8

The only thing I can think of that makes fried chicken even better is a super spicy coating. The spices add heat, but also a ton of flavor.

Technique tip: Chilling the chicken uncovered in the refrigerator for an hour dries out the skin, which makes for crispier skin after frying. The hot oil can be made ahead: Cool to room temperature after cooking, then store in the fridge, covered, for up to 2 weeks.

Swap option: You can use dill pickles instead of bread and butter pickles. If using dill pickles, add a teaspoon of sugar to the brine.

Ingredients

  • Brine

    • 8 chicken thighs
    • 10 bread and butter pickles
    • 1 cup bread and butter pickle juice
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 jalapeño pepper, stem removed
    • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • Hot chicken

    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 cups canola oil, for frying
  • Spicy oil

    • 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
    • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
    • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 4 cups canola oil
  • To serve

    • 6 to 8 slices white bread
    • 1/2 cup sliced pickles

Preparation

For the brine:

Place the chicken in a gallon-size zip-top bag. In a blender, combine the pickles, pickle juice, water, jalapeño pepper and salt, and mix on medium speed until smooth. Pour the brine over the chicken and seal the bag. Chill for 4 to 8 hours.

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.

For the hot chicken:

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, paprika, salt, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper.

2. Dredge the chicken thighs in the seasoned flour, and 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.

3. Dredge the chicken thighs in the reserved flour once more and return them to the wire rack.

4. Line a clean rimmed sheet pan with a clean wire rack and set aside.

5. Attach a deep-fry thermometer to a large cast-iron skillet, and fill it with oil to a 1/2-inch depth. Place the skillet over medium-high heat until a thermometer registers 350°F.

6. Working in 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, 6-7 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°F, about another 6-7 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the wire rack and repeat with the remaining thighs.

For the spicy oil:

In a large saucepan, combine the cayenne, smoked paprika, salt, cumin, garlic powder and sugar. Place over medium heat and toast until fragrant, stirring often, 2 minutes. Slowly add the oil and heat for 10 minutes, and then remove from the heat.

To serve:

Using a large slotted spoon, dunk the fried chicken into the spicy oil, turning to coat both sides. Place on rack to drain any excess oil.

Lay the bread slices on a large platter and top with the fried chicken and pickle slices.

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Make Ryan Scott's hot chicken, ghost berries for a Halloween feast

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