We Tried KFC’s New Nashville Hot Chicken, and It’s Pretty Awesome

Gina Pace
Editor

KFC is testing Nashville hot chicken. (Photo: KFC)

Nashville hot chicken fans, get ready: You’ll soon be able to get the spicy stuff at a KFC near you.

KFC is testing the chicken, a regional delicacy known for being hot, smoky, and a little bit sweet, in 32 restaurants in the Pittsburgh area this week and has plans to roll out the product nationwide “very soon,” according to executives.

The company exclusively shared the new product with Yahoo Food and YouTube food personality Daym Drops Friday. Executives think the limited-time product has big potential because it’s spicy, difficult to find outside of Nashville, and nearly impossible to make at home.

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“It can take four and half hours to prep,” said Kevin Hochman, the chief marketing officer for KFC, referring to a recipe published in Bon Appétit last summer. “And when you do find a restaurant that serves it, it can be pretty pricy.”

Unlike the chain’s Original Recipe chicken, which is pressure fried, the Nashville Hot Chicken is cooked in an open fryer so it develops a crispier skin. The chain that keeps the secrets to the “11 herbs and spices” under a double-vaulted safe also doesn’t share too many details about what goes in the Nashville recipe, other than cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. It’s served topped with slices of dill pickle.

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So what can you expect?

It’s not so hot that it’s a novelty product or a challenge for diners to complete. But the heat does build and have a kick — you’ll need to take a break after a few bites to eat a bite of a biscuit or a spoonful of coleslaw. After you’re done, your lips will tingle for a few minutes. It’s also not going to be confused with health food — after eating, your fingers will glisten with a sheen of red oil.

“There is more flavor than just spice,” said KFC head chef Bob Das. “We’ve done a lot of research on the chicken, and it’s amazing the cult following this product has.”

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The chicken is available in both tenders and on-the-bone varieties. It starts at $5.49 for a one-piece breast basket with coleslaw and a biscuit. The chicken will be available in the Pittsburgh area for the next eight weeks for the trial period.

Norm McDonald, the latest actor to take on the mantle of Colonel Sanders, has even recorded a commercial for the product that’s currently airing in the Pittsburgh area.

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