Nashville-style hot chicken is, well, hot these days. New hot chicken restaurants are popping up all over. For those who have never tried it, Nashville-style chicken is traditional fried chicken that has been dipped or brushed with a hot cayenne pepper sauce. The sauce is traditionally made from melted lard, but you can substitute duck fat, or even warm vegetable oil if you like.
In this recipe, we switch things up a bit by substituting ancho chili powder for the cayenne. The sauce still packs some heat, but also takes on a bit of a smoky flavor.
To get a thick crust on the rabbit, we do a three-step dredge. First in seasoned flour, then in buttermilk, then in seasoned flour a second time. Let the rabbit rest for at least 10 minutes before dropping it into the hot oil.
2 rabbits, dressed and quartered
3 cups Kentucky Kernal (or your favorite) seasoned flour, divided in half
2 cups buttermilk
salt and pepper
Oil for deep frying
1 cup lard (or duck fat), melted
3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Heat two inches of oil in a heavy cast iron pot over medium-high heat to a temperature of 325-350 degree. While the oil heats, season the rabbit with salt and pepper. Dredge the rabbit in seasoned flour, then dip in buttermilk, and follow by a second dredge in flour. Let the rabbit rest a full ten minutes for the crust to set.
Slowly lower the rabbit into the hot oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry the rabbit for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it is golden brown and cooked through. Transfer the rabbit to a paper-lined platter and immediately brush on the pepper sauce.
For true Nashville style, serve the rabbit atop a slice of white bread. Top it with dill pickles.
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