Winter may be waning, but the popularity of Nashville Hot Chicken sure isn’t. We decided to try our hand at preparing a big batch. It was as good (and hot!) as promised.
Nashville Hot Chicken’s powerful poultry story originated nearly seven decades ago, at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. Apparently Thorton Prince was quite the lady’s man. Tiring of his late night escapades, his gal served him up a Sunday breakfast of fried chicken, generously doused in cayenne pepper and other fiery spices. Her revenge backfired – rather than crying out in pain, he loved it, and the inspiration for Nashville Hot Chicken was born. If you’re interested, read the whole story on Prince’s website. Numerous other restaurants and chains, inspired by Prince’s, have put their own twist on this Nashville classic.
We brined in the fridge overnight using a simple 6 % brine. If you want to learn everything you need to know about brining go to our friend’s site Genuine Ideas (browse under their food header). We lightly dusted the chicken with our seasoned flour, and thendipped it in a simple blend of eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce.
Then we tossed lightly again in our breading mix, giving us a light double breaded chicken. Double breading creates a nice robust crunch once the chicken is fried. Properly prepped, it was ready for the Collectramatic fryer.
The chicken was open-fried for 15 minutes at 325°F. It emerged from the fryer a mouth-watering golden brown. After draining excess oil, we painted with the spicy special sauce using a pastry brush. It was as good as we had hoped, delivering a delicious heat that delighted our taste buds while making our faces flush and our brows sweat.
This chicken can be held for two hours in a CVap holding cabinet. After frying, place it directly in a CVap set to 135 +50. Apply the sauce just before serving.
Here’s a pared-down version of the recipe (in case you’re not feeding an army).
Nashville Hot Chicken
- 2 – 3 1/2-4-pound chickens, each cut into ten pieces (breasts halved)
- 1 gallon of 6% brine
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk or whole milk
- 2 tablespoons vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Texas Pete)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika. (You may use your own special flour mix if you’d like).
- Vegetable oil (for frying; about 10 cups) (unless, of course, you have a Collectramatic fryer handy).
- 6 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Whisk flour and remaining 4 teaspoons salt in another large bowl.
- If you’re not using a Collectramatic fryer, fit a Dutch oven with frying thermometer; pour in oil to about two inches depth. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 325°F. Pat chicken dry. Working with one piece at a time, dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess, and then dip in buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl. Dredge again in flour mixture and place on a baking sheet.
- Working in four batches and returning oil to 325°F between batches, fry chicken, turning once after 15 minutes, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thigh pieces registers 185°F and 165F white meat. This usually takes ten more minutes after the turn for a total cook time of 25 minutes. Transfer to a clean wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Let oil cool slightly.
- Whisk cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika in a medium bowl; carefully whisk in 1 cup hot frying oil or melted lard. Brush fried chicken with spicy oil. Serve with bread and pickles.
Last month we had a visit from a famous South American fried chicken chain that wanted to take a closer look at our Collectramatic Pressure Fryers. He had heard about Collectramatic but had never tested one until his purchasing manager pointed out our price point compared to their current brand.
The goal was to match their current process, texture and to save on maintenance costs. Their current fryer is costing them a lot of time and money on maintenance.
Maintenance was a simple answer but we had even more to offer against their current brand…
- Collectramatic only has a few moving parts that relate to pressure.
- Collectramatic gaskets are simple to remove and clean.
- Collectramatic fryer pot is round and does not have corners that are hard to clean and crack.
- Collectramatic fryers have the heating elements in the oil resulting in faster recovery time.
- Collectramatic fryers can fryer up to 20 batches of 6 heads of chicken (120 heads) without filtering compared to needing to filter after only 4 to 5 batches with their current fryer brand.
We cooked a few rounds at our “normal” setting. And although the final color matched their website photo, the customer wanted it darker, much darker.
Now the big question. Was our Collectramatic pressure fryer ready to match the chicken they were looking for? I had confidence, but they have a unique process that I had not tried before.
After breading the chicken they place the breaded chicken in a refrigerator for a minimum of one hour prior to frying. In our test, we breaded the chicken and placed them in our quarter rack basket assembly before placing in the refrigerator. Currently, they bread the chicken, place it directly on a sheet pan, refrigerate and hand drop each piece of chicken into the pressure fryer.
Now the big test! Having never had the opportunity to try their chicken beforehand, we had never tasted their breading or their chicken (secret stuff). We were ready! So our Chef Barry Yates set the Collectramatic to their current setting of 350F for 12 minutes and 30 seconds.
We pulled a full rack of breaded chicken from the refrigerator after one hour. Needless to say, the breading was fully set as opposed to when you bread and place it directly into the fryer. In went the chicken, the lid was closed & locked and we pressed the start button.
As the time ticked away we waited patiently waited as the Collectramatic pressure fryer went to work, not knowing how this breaded/refrigerated chicken would turn out.
The alarm sounds. We pull the chicken. I look at Barry and he looks at me. The chicken appears much darker than we are used to and we look at the customer to gauge his reaction. Nothing.
We then un-racked the chicken from our quarter rack basket assembly keeping the chicken on the quarter rack trays, placed the trays easily on a sheet pan (4 per sheet pan) and let the customer dive in.
He begins pulling pieces apart, looks very closely at the breading and studies the interior like a true fried chicken professional. He then takes a knife and cuts through the bone to examine the marrow. He grabs a thigh and takes a huge bite.
Wait for it… “Perfect, now that’s what I’m talking about!”
Barry and I were still a bit skeptical about the dark color until we grabbed our first piece and took a bite. The exterior was dark, firm, crunchy with that old school black iron skillet fried chicken look. It did not have a burned or overcooked taste. The interior was very juicy and very tender.
It was absolutely amazing!
It is clear why this South American fried chicken chain has such a huge following.
So, the next time you are making fried chicken in our Collectramatic pressure fryer, give this breading option a try. You will not be disappointed!
- More than half of all chicken entrees ordered in restaurants are for fried chicken.
- In 2007, 95% of commercial restaurants had fried chicken on the menu.
- The average American eats over 80 pounds of chicken each year.
- According to the National Chicken Council, more than 1.25 billon chicken wing portions were consumed on Super Bowl Weekend in 2012 (more than 100 million pounds).
Are you considering what menu item is going to keep customers coming back for more? To go orders? Catering offerings? What is going to set your product apart from your competition? Let’s look at the features and benefits of our Collectramatic pressure fryer. Available in 4 head (32 pc per drop) and 6 head (48 pc per drop) – now that’s a lot of fried chicken!
Benefits of pressure frying: quicker cook times, juicier product, tenderization, texture control, and healthier product.
Benefits of a Winston Industries Collectramatic Pressure Fryer:
- Microprocessor controller
- Reliability – very few moving mechanical parts
- Round pot – for strength with a single weld, sediment cannot build up in the corners and continue to cook/ burn the oil.
- Footprint – let’s look at the numbers; with a LP56 fryer 6 head you can fry approximately 192 pieces of chicken per hour, fry 1,200 pieces before you need to filter the shortening. Our Collector, the largest in the industry we call the cold zone where we catch all the sediment etc. away from the cooking vat and does not continue to cook.
At a recent training with an install of 3 each LP56 Collectramatic fryers, they are able to pressure fry 576 pieces per hour and 3,600 pieces before they need to filter the shortening. Partner this with a F662A9 portable filter system and a Winston Cvap HA4522 holding cabinet or two. You now have a successful fried chicken program!
Since joining Winston Industries/Collectramatic Team in 2002, I can say that I have heard since day one that “Collectramatic fries the best tasting chicken.” When I started, I just thought that was what everyone working at Winston Industries said. Of course you would say we make the best chicken, because we build the best fryers, right?
A few years later, I got the chance to go to the KFC USA National Show in Orlando, Florida. While at the show, I heard from numerous Franchisees that “Collectramatic” fries the best Original Recipe Chicken! Now I realized that the company line of frying the best chicken wasn’t something we made up. It’s something our customers say and share with others!
In 2013, I started calling on KFC Franchisees in the US. I can honestly say, I still hear from franchisees that Collectramatic fries the best tasting chicken. Even the Colonel said it many years ago.
Don’t take my word for it though, take a look at these testimonials and see why!