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Jan 21, 2016

Review: KFC - Nashville Hot Chicken

KFC's Nashville Hot Chicken features their Extra Crispy fried chicken or Extra Crispy tenders as a base that is glazed with KFC Nashville Hot sauce and topped with a few pickles.

It cost me $5.49 for a leg, thigh, side, and a biscuit.

The chicken came in a black plastic tray with a resealable plastic lid. The lid doesn't have any air holes so I recommend cracking it open a bit if you're driving any distance before eating so it doesn't steam itself to softness.

The sauce isn't like your typical hot sauce as there's no vinegar tang. Instead, it seems to be an oil mixed with various seasonings (mostly cayenne and paprika). I was watching them sauce it and they take a big squeeze bottle, shake it a bit and carefully covered the fried chicken on top (I'm not sure if they're supposed to do the bottom as well but they didn't).

The sauce gives the chicken a smokiness and a slow-burning, lingering heat. There's also an extra savory quality that makes it tasty. The visible seasoning powder carries most of the heat and flavor, which meant the top bites had a lot of punch, while the bottom of my chicken caught a lighter version from oil dripping off the top. It goes without saying that it's pretty messy eating (although so is fried chicken).

There were three pickles in total. They were fairly standard but did help cleanse the palate and cut against the spicy grease.

The breading held up very well against the sauce and remained very crispy, so much so that a few small bits flew out beyond the container as I was biting into it. There was a fairly thick, flaky layer to each piece. I saved some of the massive thigh piece that I got for later and it still offered a nice crunch. Depending on how your local KFC sauces it (or how long your chicken is steaming in its container on the drive home), I can see this being hit-or-miss but the pieces I got were spot on.

The chicken itself was juicy and tender but mostly unseasoned. You can always dip it in the sauce though.

Overall, KFC's Nashville Hot Chicken was really good but also novel. Cayenne and paprika aren't exactly uncommon to fried chicken but there was a little something more that made it great. (Maybe it was the oil to help the flavor and heat linger on the tongue). It does feel a bit heavy and rich though so I wouldn't eat a lot of it (but maybe that's a good thing).


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