Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack – Nashville, Tennessee

From Prince's Hot Chicken Shack
From Prince's Hot Chicken Shack

Of all of the restaurant destinations in Nashville that I had lined up, Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack was the #1 that I could not miss! As I heard the former Mayor Bill Purcell say in an online interview of Nashville’s Hot Chicken (the Mayor who under his watch founded the Music City Hot Chicken Festival), “It’s our most indigenous food.”

From Prince's Hot Chicken Shack

We almost missed Prince’s too, we went early one day, mislead by a bogus online posting, so we bumped up Martin’s Barbecue Joint on the schedule, then found out Prince’s didn’t open until 2 the next day, and was closed on Sunday! Holy Lord, need to make this happen! We did make it happen, even though we had eaten a big breakfast/lunch and were quite full. “I just need a taste,” I told myself.

As we walked in, I noticed an older gentleman sitting in the corner booth who looked familiar, sporting a generous plate of Hot Chicken.

We made our way to the ordering window, spotting and giving a big “Go Wings” to jersyed Detroiters at a booth on the way. “That’s what’s up!” one of them sputtered through the snot running down his nose as he sweated over a plate of hot chicken. (The Detroit Red Wings were playing the Nashville Predators on the Saturday we were in town.)

We made it to the window, and I’m ashamed to say that I ordered it mild, extra pickles please (I love pickles). I’m going to make some excuses here:

*All of the hype turned me into a big sniveling ninny.
*I drank about 20 Yazoo Pale Ales at Robert’s Western World the night/morning before, complete with a nightcap Fried Bologna Sandwich:

From Robert's Western World – Fried Bologna Sandwich

*We ate at Wendell Smith an hour before coming to Prince’s, I was so full it was intolerable
*I don’t know what came over me, I’m a big jackass

I know. No excuses count. I should have ordered it as God intended it to be…HOT! Next time.

As we waited for our Hot Chicken I glanced again at the corner booth, and realized that the older gentleman sitting there was none other than Bill Purcell, whom I mentioned above. The guy obviously loves his Hot Chicken, but not just any Hot Chicken, Prince’s. I got a cool picture of him in the shadow of the famous Prince’s window painting when I snapped a few pics outside.

From Prince's Hot Chicken Shack

Our order came up and as we were not lucky enough to find a booth inside that wasn’t occupied, we went to the car. Hey, I’m not proud!

Like I said, I ordered it mild (I know, I know, I know), and was expecting the hype to totally let me down. No way. This was the most full flavored, amazing Fried Chicken I have had in my entire life. No lie. Not just heat either, ordering it mild let me taste all of the nuances without thinking about the scoville rating. Amazing, full flavored chicken from the crust, all the way down to the bone, with just enough heat to appreciate. The chicken is nestled on top of white bread that catches all of the glorious, hot drippings and seasonings. I dare say that I enjoyed the flavor saturated, red bread as much as the chicken. Please bare in mind, when we ordered I was already uncomfortably full from the meat and three we had for lunch, but after biting into this amazing Nashville invention, I kept muttering, “Jeez, I wish I had ordered more!”

From Prince's Hot Chicken Shack

The chicken is fried in lard in huge cast iron pans in the back. The mystery, or secret recipe is in the finish that goes on after the chicken comes out of the fryer, although I suspect that there may be some Cayenne in the frying lard as well. I also picked up on a finishing seasoning that can be seen in the photo. I saw flecks of what I thought was chili powder.

From Prince's Hot Chicken Shack

Here is the film about Hot Chicken on the Southern Foodways Alliance by Joe York:

Recreating Nashville Hot Chicken for a recipe is my number one priority here on American Gourmand at the moment! As soon as I get it right, you know I will share!

Related Posts:

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe

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One Response to Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack – Nashville, Tennessee

  1. Join us for Nashville’s coolest (hottest?) summer festival – 2013 Music City Hot Chicken Festival. http://www.musiccityhotchickenfestival.com.

    Peace, Buckshot Malone

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