Nashville is famous for its “Hot Chicken.” I like to get mine from Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. It’s crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, and it comes decorated with a thin round of bright green pickle that calls to mind a gold medal. Prince’s chicken is so hot, it can make a body see things. Speak in tongues. Change lives. This chicken is also fried. Now, I’ve already told you what I think about regular fried chicken—that it’s a bad boyfriend you’ve just got to give up.
But this hot chicken here? You can eat my Spicy Pepper Chicken whenever you like, and it’s a friend you’ll want to keep around. You feel me?
Serves 4 to 5
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1⁄3 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (3- to 4lb) chicken
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Mix the cayenne, olive oil, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
Remove the giblets, neck, and liver packet—anything stuffed in the interior of the chicken. Rinse the chicken inside and out, and pat dry. Put the chicken in a baking dish with low sides. Season it generously with salt and pepper inside and out. Starting at the neck of the chicken, and making sure to break no more of the skin than you have to, rub the oil mixture onto the chicken flesh, including the legs. The whole chicken should appear reddish.
Roast the chicken for 20 minutes to crisp the skin, then turn the heat down to 400°F. Continue to roast the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F. The juices should run clear and colorless when you pierce a thigh. This can take another 25 to 40 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven and let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.
The above excerpt is taken from Soul Food Love by Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams (Clarkson Potter, 2015)