How Nashville Got HOT!

Don’t get mad, get even, might be the sub-plot of a “fiery” romance that turned a “pay-back”, into one of most recently (re-discovered) chicken styles now making a big splash in the culinary scene.

Almost, to the point of becoming iconic.

And maybe we’re beyond that already

Nashville hot, is, quite simply, a version of Southern fried chicken, but with a “hot” (yet hauntingly sweet) take.

Paired with the acidity of a dill pickle and traditionally served over sliced bread to absorb all of its it’s goodness, the savory, juicy chicken, acidity of pickle and quite prominent heat of its spicy seasonings all are combined then fried into a mouthful of  #!%&?*&# yes!

Homemade Spicy Nashville Hot Chicken Fingers with Bread and Pickles

It’s the perfect definition of: “the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.”

Hello Popeye’s, hello Chick Fil-A, Kentucky Fried Chicken and nearly the whole fast food and casual fast-food industry.

Where have you all been these past 70 years?

What exactly is Nashville hot chicken?

There are many styles, using both bone-in and boneless chicken. The basics are that the chicken is usually marinated in buttermilk, seasoned with a hot, chili pepper seasoning (in many different ways), then deep fried, pressure cooked or pan-fried, as is typically done with Southern-fried chicken.

Call it…Southern fried with an “attitude!”

In some applications, the presentation can also include a smear of an additional paste made with oil and hot chile spices.


While the traditional way of serving Nashville hot chicken is said to go back to the early 70’s (the whole bread and pickle thing), its actual origins go way back to the “pay-back” of a scorned lover in the 30’s.

So where is Nashville Mecca?

Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack in East Nashville, Tennessee.

Here’s the ‘back story.”

It’s said that the origins of this popular chicken go back to the early 1930’s where it was made and sold in East Nashville’s primarily black neighborhoods.

During that time, as legend has it, a handsome “ladies’ man” by the name of Thornton Prince not so kindly “dissed” his main girl on a Saturday night.

Her payback was to give him a dose of “burning love” by adding a blistering amount of spicy heat to his traditional Sunday morning favorite of fried chicken.

Just to teach him a lesson.

Well? Thorton apparently loved it. So much so that he shared the recipe with friends and eventually opened up a chicken stand on Jefferson and 28th street featuring this famously hot chicken.

Its location has since moved to East Nashville in 1989 and is still as popular as ever and a must stop when in Nashville.