Nashville Hot Chicken Power Rankings

 In Food, Nashville

We’ve been trying to dig into the Nashville hot chicken scene here in the Music City for a little over a year now. So, I figured I’d at least create a running post with all of the places I’ve visited so far.

The scale I use for our rankings here on SoBros Network consist of flavor, heat, texture, and the fixins that come along with the main attraction. I average all four for the overall grade. Highly scientific stuff that isn’t at all arbitrary and completely just the subjective opinion of one particular Editor In Chief.

And, for fuck’s sake, I know this list doesn’t have Prince’s or Bolton’s on it. Important qualifier: I’ve literally only reviewed nine places around town. Don’t @ me with the “where’s Hattie B’s? Where’s Bolton’s? Where’s Prince’s?” I KNOW – we’re working on getting out to the heavyweights in the Nashville hot chicken scene. This portfolio has to start somewhere, and right now, it’s starting east of town because that’s the easiest for me to get to. These sorts of ambitions take time. I’ve been to a lot of the spots around town at some point, but I want to do the reviews right – get the photos, write the words, the whole nine. *shrugs*

By the time it’s all said and done, I want to have every Nashville hot chicken joint in town on this list.

Nashville Hot Chicken Power Rankings

1. Hurts Hot Chicken: 8.53/10review“This instantly becomes our highest rated Nashville hot chicken, and deservedly so. I like a good, rich and savory flavor on my hot chicken….borderline ‘smoky.’ Hurt’s Hot Chicken is just that. It’s a tremendous blend of spices that isn’t overshadowed by the heat.”

2. Red’s 615 Kitchen: 7.23/10review “It’s a different flavor than the straight cayenne deluge of other hot chicken dishes. I dare say it had a sweet hint to it. That made for a really unique flavor and that’s hard to accomplish in Nashville.”

3. Scoreboard Bar & Grill: 6.62/10review“Excellent flavor, excellent texture. The chicken wasn’t dry, but the tenders had a nice oily coat to ’em. They were crispy, but not crunchy (just how I like ’em). The only thing keeping them out of the “elite” category is that their hot wasn’t nearly as hot as what’s become the standard.”

4. Riverfront Tavern: 6.25/10review“Nailed the flavor. This is exactly what hot chicken is supposed to taste like. It’s a diverse and dynamic heat – not just bathed in black pepper like some other establishments in the area. I also love that they’re served on dinner rolls – that slightly sweet taste complemented the heat very well.”

5. Helen’s Hot Chicken: 5.75/10review“Helen’s isn’t going to wow you in the grand scheme of Nashville hot chicken, but it’s a reliable option to satisfy the craving should you get it and not feel like seeking out the best in town. It’s a solid take-out option on the way home from work.”

6. Firecracker Hot Chicken: 5.5/10review“Two things can be true, folks – I can absolutely love this meal -AND- I can acknowledge that it is completely average Nashville hot chicken. High marks for the quality of the cut itself, how juicy the chicken is, and how freshly prepared it was. But, in terms of flavor, it’s behind all of the Nashville mainstays.”

7. PDK Kitchen: 5.13/10review“Gotta say – my immediate reaction…my bite one thoughts were, “this is just more heat than flavor.” As I worked on it, the flavor grew on me a bit, but it still wasn’t anywhere near the elite hot chicken joints in town. It was slightly below average. Bread and butter pickles do NOT belong on hot chicken, in my opinion.”

8. Party Fowl: 3/10review – I love the full menu at Party Fowl (grit cakes, foul balls, excellent beer list, good wings), but the hot chicken has just been so hit or miss that it’s not among my favorites for hot chicken. The night I went in to do this review, it obviously wasn’t all that memorable.

9. Nashville Underground: 2/10 review“For a place that wants to advertise their hot chicken (with a neon sign in the window), they have a long way to go before they’re considered among Nashville’s elite.”

MORE NASHVILLE RESTAURANT RANKINGS

  1. Butcher & Bee (8.5/10)
  2. Nectar: Urban Cantina (8.44/10)
  3. Von Elrod’s (8.17/10)
  4. Catch 22 (Mount Juliet) (7.125/10)
  5. Red’s 615 Kitchen (7/10)

*Keep in mind, we’re just starting out. This list is only 30 deep at this point. Stay tuned as we continue to build our anthology of Nashville reviews.

Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD and #BeBetter. “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Nashville, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley

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