Nashville Hot Chicken is a food unlike any other. It's not "buffalo" chicken - its HOT chicken. But what makes it Nashville Hot Chicken? 

Nashville Hot Chicken is comprised of three components: bread, chicken and pickle. But it's not just that simple.

  • Bread: Authentic Nashville Hot Chicken uses simple white bread - 1-2 slices placed under the Hot Chicken to absorb the juices and flavor.
  • Chicken: While each Nashville Hot Chicken restaurant may have their own secret blend of spices, many note that it's not just an intense amount of heat that makes it authentic, it's that heat and flavor. The chicken is fried and coated in these seasonings, most typically in a "dry" sauce - often made with a base of lard or oil. The use of a "wet" sauce (such as Buffalo-style chicken) is NOT Nashville Hot Chicken.
  • Pickle: Authentic Nashville Hot Chicken places a few slices of dill pickles atop the cooked chicken. While some folks may want to experiment with bread & butter pickles, this is not the authentic way.

While some may take all three of these elements and present it as "Nashville-Style Hot Chicken," don't be fooled. What really makes it authentic is the combination of these things and the finished flavor of the chicken itself. It's overwhelmingly spicy, yet abundantly flavorful. To be sure you're enjoying the authentic article, view our Hot Chicken Locator to find Hot Chicken Coailition Certified establishments.