[coughing] Alana Yzola: Drink! Drink one of these! Herrine Ro: I like it, but it hurts! [crying] Man down! [coughs] [singing country cover
“She Will Be Loved”] Hi guys, I’m Herrine. And I’m Alana. Herrine: And today, we are in Nashville. This place isn’t just home to great music and Southern charm; it’s
also home to hot chicken. Alana: Yeah, and we’re hitting
up four major spots today. One is the place that started it all, the other is, like, an empire, and the other two are local favorites. Herrine: We aren’t just
looking for hot chicken that’s spicy and hurts you; we’re looking for actual great
flavor and bold seasoning. Alana: Right, it has to
be crunchy on the outside, juicy on the inside, the whole shebang. Herrine: I am so nervous! Alana: Yeah, like, my
insides are gonna probably hate me after this. [laughs nervously] Herrine: You and me both,
but we’re here to find out which one’s the best, so let’s get going. Alana: All right, let’s go. Herrine: To keep it fair, we will be ordering the
“hot” at each location. Our first stop is Prince’s Hot Chicken. Legend has it that this is the birthplace of the iconic Nashville dish. Customer: It’s hot! Boy, I’m cryin’ now! Customer: Prince’s is better because it is the original to Nashville and it has the best story as
to why it got started, as well. Ms. André Prince: My
great-uncle was a very outgoing, out-of-the-box-type person. Alana: This is Ms. André Prince. She’s the owner of Prince’s, and she carries on her
great-uncle’s legacy. The story goes that he
came home late one night and his lover wasn’t pleased. She expressed her anger by
cooking up some fried chicken, but fiery chicken, to match her fury. Ms. André: And he was probably taken back, but after it settled in, he liked it. Who wouldn’t? [laughs] Herrine: After that, Thorton
Prince opened up a store and sold hot chicken to customers. Ms. André: More women eat it hot than men. That’s why it had to have
started with a woman. It’s that fiery woman. That fire coming out of her. [grunts and laughs] Alana: Prince’s closely
guards their recipe, so unfortunately, we couldn’t make it back into the kitchen. Ms. André: I gotta make a
living, I got bills to pay! [laughs] The main thing is cayenne, and that has gotten around. [laughs] Most popular, of course,
is the chicken breast, breast quarter. Herrine: Oh, my God, immediate tears! Alana: I’m a fiery woman. The flavor explodes, it’s not just hot. You need to try it, though. You need to feel what I’m feeling. Herrine: Here goes nothing! Alana: Just go for it,
don’t even think about it. Oh, no. No, you have
to, oh my, no, Herrine! It hits you later. I wouldn’t have probably
taken that second bite. Herrine: I’m doing OK.
Alana: Really? Herrine: Oh, the swallowing made it worse. Alana: Well, yeah, that’s how one eats. [both laugh] Herrine: And it hits your throat, like, in my mouth it wasn’t too bad. Alana: Yeah. I will say that some,
like, fried-chicken spots that I’ve been to that say that they’re spicy or hot, I’ve noticed that the seasoning is a little bit more on the salty side. But for this one, I feel
like it’s perfectly balanced. I don’t think it’s overly salty. I definitely taste the cayenne. The cayenne, to me, is, like,
the most prominent flavor. Herrine: That’s the thing
that’s hitting your throat. It kind of makes you cough a little bit. [coughs] I feel like the reason why hot chicken became such a staple Nashville food because it’s addictive. Like, as much as it’s, like, painful– Alana: It clears the sinuses, though. Herrine: This is a great way
to start off the whole trip. Alana: Our second stop is Party Fowl, a newer player in the hot-chicken game. While the fiery fowl
is the main attraction at this place, it’s also a full
sit-down restaurant and bar. Austin Smith: So, if
you’re gonna do hot chicken in Nashville, one thing you
need to do is kiss the ring. And there’s one person in town
that you gotta pay homage to, and that’s Ms. André. Well, with Nashville hot
chicken being as great as it is, it’s starting to gain some popularity, I saw there was no full service, full bar Nashville hot chicken
anywhere in the country, and I went out to try to fix that. So, the awards we’ve been given: top five fried chicken in
the United States of America, we’ve gotten to film shows
with Shaquille O’Neal, and we’ve been on HBO. I mean, we’ve really run the gamut. We’ve been very blessed. Customer: I know how good this place is, she and I love it, come here all the time. And we had to share it with
our buddies from out of town. That’s all the hot chicken I’ve ever had. It’s all I need. Austin: So, our classic way
of serving hot chicken is we cut the birds in half and
we fry the half as it is. The spices in our Nashville
hot are gonna be your cayenne, which is the most important
part of Nashville hot chicken. Habanero pure is what takes
it to that next level. It sings a different note on your palate, and it really elevates that cayenne. Most people use a thin
piece of white bread. Why Texas toast? It’s because it’s bigger, it’s thicker. It sops up even more of that good mud. We have three neons on the
outside of our building: Nashville Hot Chicken, Local
Brews, and Boozy Slushies. Boozy Slushies put the flame out. My favorite one, though, for
that, is the Bushwhacker. The dairy, the chocolate, all those notes really hammer down that spice. Alana: OK. [exhales] Herrine: I have heartburn. [both laugh] Alana: You could smell that
there’s, like, paprika there. Both: Cayenne. Herrine: They drizzled
extra amount of, like, that bottom spice on top for us. Alana: So, a little extra
somethin’ somethin’. Herrine: Yeah. Alana: OK. [crunch] [clearing throat] Alana: Drink! Drink one of these! Herrine: I like it, but it hurts! Alana: Is it helping at all? Herrine: No! [Alana laughs] It makes it worse, it aggravates it! Alana: This feels like the whole chicken. Herrine: She’s thick. Alana: Mm-hmm. [crunch] [slo-mo crunch] Herrine: [slo-mo] That’s a good crunch. How is it? [Alana coughs] Alana: The first bite, I [coughs]. [Herrine laughs] The first bite I got was on the sweeter side, so I’m like, Herrine, are you overexaggerating
just a little bit? And then, the flavors kinda chilled on my tongue for a little bit. It’s kinda climbing up to my nose. [breathes] Herrine: I love how they
double-bread it here. It’s so crunchy. They might be new to the game, like, compared to Prince’s, but the seasoning here is thicker. I feel like there’s more of,
like, a granular texture to it. And, for that reason, I
feel like the seasoning is a lot more pronounced. Alana: Right. Herrine: And it almost
has, like, a sweeter, smokier flavor than other hot chicken. Alana: The sweetness allowed you to take a breath and
really taste the flavors that are on it. Herrine: It’s just a good time. The food’s delicious, and then you cool off with, like, a boozy slushie, and by the end of it, you’re drinking this so much that you’re probably
gonna get a little tipsy. This makes just the hot chicken that much more fun and enjoyable. Our third stop is Hattie B’s, known for helping spread
the hot-chicken frenzy from Nashville and beyond, with seven locations in four states. Customer: The chicken is the
best chicken in the world. It is delicious. I come here so much that
I know all the staff. They greet me by name. Nick Bishop: The great
thing about hot chicken is that everybody does it differently. At Hattie B’s, our menu is rooted really in a Southern meat-and-three, which I think are as much
Nashville as hot chicken is. For us, we really wanted to
have distinct heat levels, so that there was a little
something for everybody. My opinion is that bone-in
are the most traditional and probably the best way to get it. Our seasoning is absolutely a secret. It incorporates a little bit of habanero, but just a heavy dose of cayenne. We try to think of the
menu a little bit as, like, what would pair well and help
kinda bring the heat down when you’re suffering the most. Herrine: If this was a side competition… Alana: That would win? [laughs] Nick: Some of the awards that we’ve got, we’ve won best hot chicken
in Nashville a couple times in the reader’s poll. Alana: You look as happy as can be. Herrine: Do I have something on my face? Ooh, that’s bad! That’s… [Alana laughs] My lips are burning. It, like, hits your nose. Like…like, the back of your nose. [crunching] Alana: There’s something sweet in here. Brown sugar, maybe? Herrine: Mmm. Alana: I think there’s like a slight brown-sugary taste to it. Herrine: That’s a really good catch. Alana: Yeah, and I think
it’s killing the heat a little bit. So, it’s like, it’s a slow crawl, but even I feel like at its peak, it’s not unmanageable. Overall, this is deliciously seasoned, super crispy, the meat itself is juicy, no complaints on that. If you could change one thing, what do you think it’d be? Herrine: I think, because
I was expecting the hot to be, like, really, really hot, I wish that it was hotter.
Alana: Mm-hmm. Which means, I probably
should’ve just ordered the D— Hot, instead of the Hot. But, we’re only going
across the board as Hot. Alana: We wanted to try
the Shut the Cluck Up before we left, just to see
how hot Nashville really gets. Both: Three, two, one. [coughing] Alana: It didn’t hit her
yet, it didn’t hit her yet. Herrine: Oh, it hurts so much! [sobbing]
Alana: Does it end?! Does it end?! Herrine: Our final stop is Pepperfire, where the hot chicken is truly hot. Like, HOT, in all caps. And the hot chicken is done in ways you won’t see anywhere else. Alana: My eyes are watering a little bit. Herrine: Yeah. Alana: My nose is running a little bit. But I’m happy about it. Customer: Been here probably
at least once a month for the last couple of years. You can customize the flavor, and also it’s just really juicy. Isaac Beard: What makes Pepperfire unique, we’ve always been flavor
first, heat second. We definitely bring the
heat, no doubt about that. Today, we’re gonna serve you some original-style hot chicken. We’re gonna go breast
quarters, leg quarters. And we’re gonna go hot. And that’s gonna be an
amazing amount of heat, and it’ll still have a lot of flavor. Herrine: Pepperfire
makes their hot chicken by first pouring a wet
spice over the chicken. Then, doubling up on that heat, by dusting a generous
amount of secret seasoning. Alana: I feel so sorry for
my esophagus, but here we go. The seasonings definitely hit you first. And then, oh, I feel it. On the lip area. [crunch] That’s like a ASMR crunch. Herrine: It is. Alana: You’re sweating? Herrine: I am sweating. I can’t tell if it’s the
97 degrees in Nashville or the chicken, but, you know. Alana: Either way, it’s a hot girl summer. Herrine: What do you think
goes into this seasoning? Alana: Definitely cayenne. Maybe vinegar on the liquid rub. ‘Cause I’m getting a vinegary.
Herrine: Can you smell that? It made me cough. Alana: That’s the cayenne. I feel like there’s vinegar in there. Can we know? Herrine: There’s no vinegar in here. I think there’s cumin in here. Alana: Mmm, you’re right,
I think you’re right. You have a good palate. Herrine: Thank you so much! Alana: She does. Herrine: So do you! Except for the vinegar,
you know, mistake. [laughs] Herrine: We’re here to
pick the best of the best. Do you have your pick? Alana: I think I have one. Herrine: I do, too. Alana: All right, ready? Herrine: Three, two, one. Oh! OK, great.
Alana: OK. OK, yes. Herrine: That was my second pick. I picked Prince’s not
only because the recipe was just delicious, I can
understand why it is top secret. The chicken was super-duper juicy, the skin was still crunchy on the outside, and the seasoning, I don’t know what goes
into that seasoning, but it was so, so good. Alana: I almost picked Prince’s
for the same reasonings. That seasoning is incomparable. However, the reason
why I picked Party Fowl is because there were other elements that I felt like shone a tiny bit more. Party Fowl had a crunchier skin, it was double-fried. Second of all, the heat
on Party Fowl’s chicken was just like, they brought it. That was a true Nashville hot. Also, they served it with Texas toast. That’s why I had to pick Party Fowl. Herrine: I totally forgot
about that Texas toast, and also, I realized at Party Fowl, they scooped up that bottom seasoning, gave it that extra oomph. So, as much as Prince’s is a place that you have to go when
you go to Nashville, Party Fowl, yeah, I’m
gonna switch over to Alana and agree that Party Fowl is the best. So, what do you guys think? Do you think that
Prince’s should have been the best of the best, or do you agree that Party Fowl ultimately is the winner? Alana: Or do you think it
should have been Pepperfire or Hattie B’s, or a place
we didn’t even go to? Herrine: Let us know in
the comment section below. See ya!
Alana: Bye! [whimpering] Alana: A little ice cream. [laughing] [slurping] Oh, yeah.