Yeah, I totally at a lot over Thanksgiving. What of it?
The missus and I spent the holiday in Nashville, Tennessee. We’re both good eaters. So in addition to the traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving itself, we went on the hunt for some good regional cuisine.
Because we’re Yankees, we didn’t even really know what that might mean. Nashville is in the South, sure, but it’s not the Deep South. Does Nashville do good barbecue? Yes, apparently it does good barbecue. But Nashville’s contribution to southern cuisine is not barbecue.
It’s Nashville Hot Chicken. Get it on or off the bone with a couple of sides and prepare to sweat.
A couple of weeks ago, I’d been in Denver, and my host there asked a Thai restaurant to prepare her dish “Thai spicy.” It had some kick, but no way was it “Thai spicy.”
The Nashville Hot Chicken joint we went to offered their Hot Chicken mild, medium, hot, extra-hot, and extra-extra-hot.
I was raised on a fairly bland diet. Germans just don’t cook with tons of spice. And having spent most of my formative years in Kansas, it’s not like hot sauce was something that came with every meal.
In fact, it’s really only in recent years that I’ve begun to enjoy spicy foods. At our nearby Thai place, “mild” will sometimes knock me (and my unpracticed palette) right on my ass. What can I say? I’m very sensitive.
So when my sister told me that even mild Nashville Hot Chicken has a good kick (she’s been to our Thai place with us), I trusted her. She and the step-dad and I went with medium. The missus and brother-in-law (who has a different hot sauce for every meal) went with hot. (Ma has a sensitive constitution and had a leftover turkey sandwich instead of Nashville Hot Chicken. Poor Ma.)
Most of us went with chicken fingers, and from what I could gather, the Hot is created with some sort of dry rub that coats the whole thing. It’s not breaded (at least I think it’s not breaded), and I’m pretty sure they deep-fry it from there.
The medium stretched my threshold for spiciness, but it was outstanding. The missus also loved it, although she also said that if she were to do it again, she’d go with medium. It was the first meal I ever ate with my brother-in-law in which he didn’t add hot sauce.
And that’s the thing… This is a guy who likes the spice more than anyone else in my life. The “hot” was hot enough even for him. I can’t imagine who’s going in there for extra-hot and extra-extra-hot.
When the assholes at Fox News were talking about the students that got pepper-sprayed at UC Davis, one of them said that pepper spray was basically a food product.
Maybe that whack-job knows something I don’t. Maybe the extra-hot and extra-extra-hot versions of Nashville Hot Chicken are prepared with pepper spray.
I sure as shit wouldn’t want to get one of those chicken fingers in my eyes.
We were actually going to get a bunch of Nashville Hot Chicken to bring back to Queens with us. Alas, our Nashville Hot Chicken place was closed on the Sunday we wanted to order it.
Nashville is, after all, in the South, if not the Deep South.