Hot chicken—the staple of Nashville cuisine is making its way across the United States, and Fuchs is here to help! In this post, we’d like to walk you through a little bit of history, a description of the product, and how Fuchs can get you the right ingredient to deliver hot chicken flavor on your products.
Sometime in the 1950s, if you believe the rumors, a man named Thornton Prince came home early one morning after a Saturday night out on the town. His wife, none too happy at his promiscuity, sought to teach him a lesson, and served his Sunday morning fried chicken with a little something extra: a heckuva kick of spice! Unfortunately for Mrs. Prince, her husband loved the hot chicken, and a Nashville tradition (and family business) was born.
Many restaurants in Nashville now serve the iconic dish, but Prince’s is still the gold standard. The spice blends at each restaurant are a closely guarded secret, but they all provide that grit-your-teeth, fan-your-mouth heat. In general, the cooks double-bread the chicken (two dips each in the egg wash and breading), then put it in the fryer for about twenty minutes. When the chicken is fully cooked, the cooks pull it out and set it aside, then mix some of the hot fryer oil into the spice blend to make a wet application spice. Then the cook will dredge the fried chicken in the spiced oil, place the piece of chicken on a slice of white bread, and top it with a few dill pickles before serving it to the customer.
So how does Fuchs translate a piece of fried chicken covered in a wet sauce into a dry seasoning blend for your product? Magic!
First, we have to consider all the components that make up the flavor profile. In this case, we have:
This would include the breading (flour and spices, maybe some onion and garlic), the oil, and the cooked/fried flavor
Everything tastes like chicken, but chicken tastes savory and slightly meaty
Cayenne pepper and its extracts are the go-to here
Cayenne pepper, paprika, and black pepper are identifiable in some of the milder versions, but each restaurant will have its own spin
Mostly there to soak up the excess oil and make the eating process more tolerable
Dill, vinegar, and a little bit of cucumber
Then we have to use our food science skills to figure out what ingredients will give each taste. Natural flavors are quite useful for the fried, chicken, and pickle components; salt, yeast extracts, and monosodium glutamate are useful to make the seasoning taste like chicken; any number of Fuchs spices and spice extracts can be used for the heat and spice; and vinegar powder and ground dill can add a little bit of pickle tang to the finished product.
Now the real work begins: we have to take all the components listed above and combine them into a tasty product, while staying true to the flavor profile of our target dish, making it work in our customer’s application process, and following any regulatory requirements asked of us (organic, Non-GMO Project compliant, no MSG, all natural, kosher…if you can think it, we’ve probably done it before). This can take many iterations and much trial and error (and the taste buds of many taste-testers), and that’s boring to write about, so let’s skip ahead.
Now we have our finished seasoning! We’ve already tried it in your application, current or potential customer, and it worked wonderfully. For samples of our Nashville Hot Chicken seasoning, or any of our other seasonings, click here.