What is Nashville hot chicken?
Nashville hot chicken hails from—you guessed it—Nashville, Tennessee. Bone-in, skin-on crispy fried chicken gets bathed in or brushed with a fiery red glaze.
Compared to the thick gochujang glazes of Korean spicy chicken, Nashville hot chicken's glaze is more wet and loose—much like hot sauce you'd lash over pizza. Cayenne pepper, the star ingredient, brings the heat. To form the base, you want something runny and fatty: either melted butter, lard, or leftover frying oil.
Hot frying oil + aromatics and spices = chili oil
Since oil-based Nashville hot chicken sauce works as a glaze, why not Chinese-style chili oil? Here, we call it firecracker chili oil—named after the sizzling sounds of chopped chilies and aromatics meeting hot, hot oil, like a New Year's Eve party in your kitchen.