Grilled Nashville Hot Chicken

Grilled Nashville Hot Chicken – adapted from the original Hattie B’s Hot Chicken recipe in Nashville, TN. SO good! Chicken marinated in cayenne pepper, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, and olive oil. Reserve some of the marinade to brush on the cooked chicken if you want it really HOT! Seriously THE BEST grilled chicken recipe! Serve with pickles, ranch dressing, and white bread! We are making this again this weekend – we are obsessed!

brushing chicken with hot sauce

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Grilled Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

I am all about some Nashville Hot Chicken. I absolutely LOVE it. My favorite place to eat hot chicken is at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken Restaurant in Nashville, TN. I always go with the hot heat level. Chicken Legs is a medium guy. Since we are in the middle of grilling season, I decided to try some Grilled Nashville Hot Chicken. OMG! I am totally obsessed with this chicken! It was ridiculously good! If you are a fan of spicy foods, you are going to LOVE this chicken!

What is Nashville Hot Chicken?

Traditionally Nashville hot chicken is buttermilk fried chicken tossed in a slightly sweet cayenne pepper-based paste. There is no wet sauce like with buffalo wings. Nashville hot chicken uses a dry sauce and it is HOT and spicy.

I’m going to say it again for those in the back, this chicken is HOT!

chicken cooking on the grill

How to Make Grilled Nashville Hot Chicken

I used Hattie B’s recipe as the base for this recipe. They fry their chicken and then brush it with the “hot” concoction. I decided to marinate some boneless chicken in the Nashville hot sauce and then brush a little of the reserved hot mixture on the chicken once it was off the grill. Perfection!

To make the chicken, in a large bowl, whisk together cayenne pepper, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, and olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Reserve ¼ cup of the marinade. Place chicken breasts in a ziplock bag and pour the remaining marinade over the chicken. Place the chicken in the refrigerator for a few hours to overnight.

When ready to cook the chicken, prepare the grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF. Brush the chicken with the reserved spicy sauce before removing it from the grill.

Helpful Tips & Frequently Asked Questions

  • You can use this marinade on any cut of chicken. Chicken breasts, chicken thigh, chicken tenderloins, chicken legs, or chicken wings.
    • You can use bone-in or boneless chicken.
    • Use a meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 165ºF.
  • I suggest pounding the chicken breast to an even thickness. We put the chicken in a ziplock bag and use a flat meat mallet to carefully pound out the hump. This ensures that the chicken cooks evenly and you don’t have juicy chicken and half-dry chicken.
  • If you don’t have a gas grill or charcoal grill, you can cook the chicken indoors in a skillet or grill pan.
    • Pan-sear the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 400ºF for 10 minutes, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.
  • The chicken right off the grill, with no extra hot sauce marinade, is equivalent to mild+ to medium heat. The chicken brushed with the hot concoction was equivalent to HOT at Hattie B’s.
    • If you don’t want extra spicy chicken, don’t brush it with any extra sauce.
plate of grilled chicken

What to Serve with Nashville Chicken

We absolutely love this chicken. We like to serve this chicken with some white bread, pickles, and ranch dressing. Don’t forget to whip up our favorite Hattie B’s sides – pimento mac and cheese and black-eyed pea salad. YUM! We ate this for lunch and had the leftovers for dinner in a tortilla wrap. I am still dreaming about this chicken. Make it this weekend and discover why Nashville Hot Chicken is simply the best!

Here are a few of our favorite recipes that go great with this yummy chicken:

Black Eyed Pea Salad

Black Eyed Pea Salad – recipe adapted from the famous Hattie B’s Hot Chicken restaurant in Nashville, TN. Red bell…

Pimento Mac & Cheese

Pimento Mac & Cheese – recipe from Hattie B’s Hot Chicken in Nashville. This stuff is SO good! Super creamy…

brushing chicken with hot sauce

Grilled Nashville Hot Chicken

Yield: 6 people
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Nashville Hot Grilled Chicken – adapted from the original Hattie B's Hot Chicken recipe in Nashville, TN. SO good! Chicken marinated in cayenne pepper, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, and olive oil. Reserve some of the marinade to brush on the cooked chicken if you want it really HOT! Seriously THE BEST grilled chicken recipe! Serve with pickles, ranch, and white bread! We are making this again this weekend – SO GOOD!

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs boneless chicken tenders

Instructions:

  • Whisk together cayenne pepper, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder and oil. Reserve 2 or 3 tablespoons if you want extra hot chicken.
  • Place chicken in a gallon ziplock bag and pour marinade over chicken. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to overnight.
  • Remove chicken from marinade and grill until done, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove chicken from grill and brush with reserved marinade, if desired.

Notes:

If you have never eaten Nashville hot chicken, please note that Nashville chicken is HOT.  
It is supposed to be spicy and uses a lot of cayenne pepper.
This recipe uses a lot of cayenne pepper, but I used much less than the original recipe from Hattie B’s. 
Start with 1 or 2 Tbsp of cayenne pepper and add more after tasting the chicken.
This is HOT!
Can use any cut of chicken you prefer – tenders, breasts, thighs, legs.
Cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.
To cook chicken tenders without a grill, cook in a skillet over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes.

Steph

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chicken cooking on the grill with text ovrerlay
plate of grilled nashville hot chicken with text overlay
plate of grilled nashville hot chicken with text overlay
plate of grilled nashville hot chicken with text overlay

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Comments

  1. Excellent!!! So easy and so delicious!
    This is a keeper and my family is already asking to make it again!

  2. I thought it was delicious! I love hot chicken so I increased the cayenne pepper for the marinade and for the finish coat.
    I've been eating hot chicken for over 40 years and if the meat ain't got heat, you've just got hot chicken skin.
    Thanks for reminding me.
    I also use this recipe for the oven.

    1. SO glad you enjoyed it! I agree with you – hot chicken needs to be HOT! People who haven't eaten authentic Nashville Hot Chicken don't understand.

    1. That comment was from my daughter who says “could be spicer” to everything. I don’t know how she handles it. She did like your recipe though and I did brush more marinade on for her. Not me. My tongue still hurts lol

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