Nashville Hot Chicken

     Hot. Fried. Chicken. It will make you sweat, light-headed and burn red, yet there is something about this chicken that makes it impossible to stop eating. When we were in Nashville for #ootratravels, we ventured out to Prince's Hot Chicken Shack. As we ate, we laughed, we panicked, we sweat and we ate every last bit. When you're in Nashville you MUST experience Hot Fried Chicken, and I say "experience" because after eating a quarter chicken we left unsure if we actually ate anything at all. We were dazed and drove back to the hotel bar for a beer and a moment of silence. 

     When I got home (with a few days of distance from the delicious, pain, fun?) I decided I wanted more! Unfortunately, Prince's Hot Chicken Shack is very secretive about their recipe, but I was able to find Hattie B's recipe on foodnetwork.com (a very similar Nashville hot fried chicken).
     The recipe uses 1.5 tablespoons of cayenne, which is what I used, and it came out to the Nashville equivalent of "mild." Don't worry, you will still sweat, Nashville "mild" is everyone else's hot. If you want the full spice experience, I suggest 2 tablespoons for "medium" and 3 tablespoons for "hot." Just a disclaimer, if you go with these options it will not be a typical "oh yes! Lovely! Let's sit down for dinner." It will be a more, "holy crap. Oh. My. God. I can't. It's too spicy. Must eat more" kind of experience. 
     I halved the recipe and used four chicken thighs as opposed to the more authentic quarter chicken the recipe calls for. 

Serves 2
Marinade time: Overnight
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Adapted from Lee Brian's recipe on foodnetwork.com

For the Chicken:
4 Bone-in chicken thighs
1/2 Tablespoon salt
3/4 Teaspoons pepper

For the coating:
1 Cup whole milk
2 Large eggs
1 Tablespoon hot sauce (I used Chalula. Tabasco would also work)
2 Cups flour

For the sauce:
1/4 cup (usually the amount a ladle holds) of hot frying oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons cayenne
1/2 Tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/4 Teaspoon paprika
1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder

About 1 quart vegetable oil for frying (the amount of oil will depend on the size pan you use, just make sure all four chicken thighs will be covered)

The night before
1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and place in a large Ziploc bag. 
2. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the chicken, shake and toss around to coat evenly.
3. Refrigerate overnight.

Day of
1. Fill a large saucepan with oil and heat slowly over medium-low heat, keep an eye on the temperature. 
1. Whisk the milk, eggs, and hot sauce in a shallow bowl.
2. Place the flour with a pinch of salt into another shallow bowl.
3. Dredge the chicken in the flour, then the milk/egg mixture, then back to the flour and shake off any excess. 
4. When the oil reaches 325 degrees, carefully place the thighs into the oil. Fry for about 17 minutes or until a deep golden brown.
5. While the chicken is cooking, ladle about 1/4 cup of the hot cooking oil into a small saucepan. 
6. Add the cayenne, brown sugar, paprika and garlic powder and heat over medium low-heat, whisk occasionally, and keep warm until the chicken is ready.
7. When the chicken is cooked (should be around 170 degrees), transfer to a wire rack placed over a sheet pan or paper towels. 
8. Immediately brush the hot oil sauce over both sides of the thighs and let rest for about 5 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!