Nashville HOT Chicken

Tuesdays at the Roadhouse are officially Nashville HOT Chicken Tuesdays

Make your Tuesday even hotter.

hot fried chicken-7A lot of you are going to already be intimately familiar with the Roadhouse Buttermilk Fried Chicken. We know that because it’s our #1 most popular dish and people comment on it—and eat it—all the time. It’s done in the style of Western Tennessee, learned from the great fried chicken at Gus’, over in the town of Mason, about 45 minutes east of Memphis. Buttermilk, some black pepper, a bit of red pepper fried up with a pretty dark crisp crust, it’s got a touch of heat, lots of flavor, and most everyone loves it. Delicious.

I use that as a reference point ‘cause once a week the Roadhouse heads East (figuratively) across Tennessee—Tuesdays at the Roadhouse are officially Nashville HOT Chicken Tuesdays.

A few years into the Roadhouse opening, Ari came across a great Southern Foodways Alliance-sponsored short film by Joe York, Hot Chicken. Even if you don’t typically like spicy food you’ll be intrigued just from watching Joe’s work. It’s hilarious, it’s interesting, it’s informative and it’s only about nine minutes long. Hot Chicken shares the story of Andre Prince Jeffries, the woman behind the illustrious Prince’s Fried Chicken in Nashville, Tennessee. Prince’s is run by Andre and although she’s been at it for many years now, she didn’t start the business, nor is it her recipe; she’s been at for a long time now, and for most people who know about hot fried chicken, she is the woman who most represents this very noteworthy Nashville specialty. The story—and of course there are alternate versions to be found—is that hot chicken’s origins date back to one fateful night when Andre’s Uncle (Thornton Prince) left for the evening and failed to make it home one time too many. His girlfriend decided to take revenge the next morning by pouring a whole pile of pepper sauce into her fried chicken batter, cooked it up and then served it to him. As things like these often go, wouldn’t you know he actually liked it and Nashville hot chicken was born.

Nashville Hot Fried Chicken is always served, bone-in, sitting kind of awkwardly if never-the-less deliciously, atop slices of Bakehouse White bread and pickles. Unlike the better-known hot wings from Buffalo, with Nashville Hot Fried Chicken the heat isn’t poured on at the end. It’s actually in the batter—it gets under the skin before it’s cooked. It’s safe to say that if you like fried chicken and you like spicy stuff, it’ll get under yours too when you eat it. Given that we’re in Ann Arbor and not Nashville we haven’t gone for the most nuclear super ballistic extra hot version (though if you want to feel the pain we could probably whip some up for you).

John Edgerton, one of the South’s great writers on food, culture and politics, and a long time resident of Nashville, wrote this about hot fried chicken, “The delicacy, if I may call it that, definitely separates the lions from the lambs, and it’s a division that does not cut along lines of race, class, gender, age, or previous condition of servitude. You either eat it and weep, or you’re a wimp like me and order it as mild as they can make it—a normal piece of chicken, deep-fat fried to crispy perfection.”

Stop by any Tuesday, lunch or dinner, we’ll be serving up Nashville Hot Fried Chicken. If you’ve never tried it before, ask for a taste, we’d love to get you a sample!