Hot Chicken

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4

Hot Chicken is the local specialty in Nashville, a crunchy fried chicken that is brushed with a spicy cayenne paste. Plan to start this recipe ahead of time because the chicken needs to dry brine overnight.


For the Chicken

  • 3 pounds chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tsp ground pepper

For the Crispy Coating

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp sea salt

For Frying and the Cayenne Paste

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • ½ cup lard melted and heated (see note)
  • 3 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ tsp sea salt and
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp garlic powder


  1. Place the drumsticks in a large bowl. Toss them with kosher salt and black pepper. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the milk and hot sauce. In another medium bowl, whisk the flour with the salt. Coat each drumstick in the flour and then dip it in the milk mixture. Let the excess drip off before coating it in the flour again. Repeat with the rest of the drumsticks.
  3. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil to 325°F. Cook the drumsticks in small batches for 18 to 20 minutes. Once cooked, transfer the chicken to a rack to drain.

  4. In medium heat-proof bowl, carefully whisk the warm lard (or frying oil) with cayenne pepper, brown sugar, sea salt, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.
  5. Brush the mixture over the fried chicken and serve.


  • You can use lard to make the spicy coating or use the vegetable oil you used to fry the chicken.
  • Recipe source: Food Network
All images and content are © Kirbie's Cravings.

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