How you doin’? The Nashvillians are coming! And that’s a good thing if you really “need” some hot fried chicken. I can’t quite remember when the invasion started in SoCal, but several restaurants popped up selling Nashville “Hot” Fried Chicken at almost the same time. This chicken is not just good, it is addictive… it has that “come back flavor” you crave. One of the best hot chicken joints I’ve found is the country-style chicken at Howlin’ Rays.
Growing up in Los Angeles, Johnny “Ray” Zone paid his dues. He worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens around under chefs such as Thomas Keller, Gordon Ramsay and Nobu Matsuhisa and he learned how to cook a chicken. It wasn’t until a trip to Nashville, though, that Johnny created the Howlin’ Ray’s hot chicken concept.
Some of the hot chicken restaurants don’t give you a choice on how hot is hot. At Ray’s you have a choice--Country, no heat; Mild, brush of heat; Medium, feel the burn; Hot, burn, baby, burn: X-Hot, you've been warned and Howlin', can't touch this 10++
Now with all the time on our hands you can make your own Nashville “Hot” chicken and you can control the amount of heat yourself. Here’s how to give it a start. So, let’s get started.
This recipe will yield a "Medium" hot result... adjust the spices and hot sauce to your liking.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Marinate time: overnight or up to 24 hours
Fry time: 15-20 minutes
Rest time: 15 minutes
1 whole chicken (3–4-pounds), patted dry and quartered
To make the dry rub
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
To make the batter
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons Louisiana hot sauce
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Peanut oil, for frying (enough so that the pieces are under the oil when frying)
To marinate the chicken
ChefSecret: It’s always best to use a food thermometer to check for doneness.
Who is Ed Engoron?