This Southern fried chicken recipe makes Belles Hot Chicken’s spicy Nashville style chicken which Australian chef Morgan McGlone learnt to make during his time in the USA’s South, home to some of the world’s best fried chicken. We use it in everything from chicken burgers to chicken fried rice.
This Southern fried chicken recipe by Belles Hot Chicken’s chef Morgan McGlone makes some of the best fried chicken in the spicy Nashville-style of chicken outside of the USA. Australian chef Morgy McGlone learnt to make it during his time in the South, where he immersed himself in learning how to make and perfect the South’s famous hot chicken.
As you’d expect from a chef who immersed himself in learning how to cook fried chicken in the USA, Morgy’s Southern-style fried chicken recipe is the real deal. Boneless skin-on chicken thighs are coated in seasoned flour that forms a ‘glue’ on the chicken and then the pieces are deep fried to get a crispy skin.
The fried chicken pieces are then dipped in a spicy oil mixture that the chef calls ‘Masala chicken fat’ but the real secret to why this Southern fried chicken recipe makes the best fried chicken is the final spicy seasoning that elevates this fried chicken to the next level.
This recipe makes us a big batch of succulent spicy chicken pieces that we’ll tuck into with crunchy fries or spicy potato wedges, eat in chicken burgers, and use as leftovers to make chicken fried rice.
Southern Fried Chicken Recipe for Belles Hot Chicken’s Spicy Nashville Style Chicken
The Romans first documented deep-fried chicken in the 4th century and in 1747 a British cookbook featured fried chicken in a batter, however, it’s the USA’s Southern-style fried chicken that is perhaps the best known fried chicken globally.
Cooked right around the world, Southern fried chicken is widely considered to be the product of Scottish immigrants, who arrived near the end of the 18th century, and African slaves. The Scottish had a history of deep frying, well, everything, and the African slaves had their own special way of seasoning chicken.
While the first printed southern fried chicken recipe in the United States, which was published in 1825, was written by a white woman, southern fried chicken was already an important part of African American culinary traditions.
While Southern fried chicken is not necessarily spicy hot, Nashville style fried chicken starts hot and works its way up to so hot you really should not order this if you’re not a fan of fiery food.
It was in Nashville, Tennessee, that Belles Hot Chicken founder Morgan McGlone learnt to mix his spices and perfected the art of making Nashville hot chicken. While Morgan was there, his friend, Aaron Turner, another Australian chef who had recently closed his award-winning restaurant, Loam, turned up in Nashville.
Together the two Aussie chefs plotted to open Belles Hot Chicken in Melbourne. Turner would later sell his share of the business and go back to Nashville to immerse himself in even more Southern fried chicken education, returning to Melbourne to open The Hot Chicken Project in Geelong.
I first heard about Melbourne’s newfound love of American Southern fried chicken back in 2016. Morgan’s fast casual eatery, Belles Hot Chicken, was making locals break out in a sweat which they quelled by quaffing glasses of natural wines.
I found Belles Hot Chicken’s Southern fried chicken recipe online and was soon making Morgan’s spicy fried chicken around once a week. I became addicted to the crunch and the heat. While Belles offers heat levels from “mild” to “really f**kin hot”, the heat level of the recipe combined with our local chilli and paprika powder made the finished chicken pretty damn hot.
Fast-forward to 2017 and Lara and I were back in Australia with tickets to the hottest show in town, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards in Melbourne. During our week there, we caught up with friends, tried lots of new restaurants, and crashed a few pop-ups. It was at one of these that we spotted chef Morgan McGlone, who we’d already connected with on social media.
“I’ve been making your Belles Hot Chicken Southern fried chicken recipe,” I told him. He seemed a bit surprised and asked which recipe I was using, as there were apparently a couple floating around on the internet.
I showed him on my phone (yes, the Paprika Recipe Manager goes with me everywhere). “That’s the good recipe,” Morgy said and shared a couple of extra tips: “Re-glue the flour mix to the chicken pieces a couple of times over a minimum of four hours,” he recommended, and “Make sure to keep the oil at 178˚C as much as you can.”
Armed with this extra knowledge, I was able to perfect the chef’s Belles Hot Chicken Southern fried chicken recipe. The only tweak I’ve made is to add more seasoning to the flour. It’s time to share this Southern fried chicken recipe for the best fried chicken and we do so with the blessing of chef Morgan McGlone.
Tips for Making This Southern Fried Chicken Recipe
After I began researching Nashville-style fried chicken recipes I realised that Morgy’s Belles Hot Chicken southern fried chicken recipe was a little different to other fried chicken recipes and the recipe videos I’d been watching.
Most Nashville fried chicken recipes end with a hot spice mixture being brushed over the chicken pieces straight after frying. Morgy’s recipe calls for the fried chicken to be brushed with or dipped into his ‘Masala Chicken Fat’ before being sprinkled with the spicy seasoning.
While we debone our chicken thighs for this southern fried chicken recipe – and more on that in my next post in this series – bone-in chicken thighs work fine as well.
We like to make a full oven tray’s worth of fried chicken, so we fry whatever chicken pieces look good at the market, usually drumettes and wings, reducing the frying time by a couple of minutes.
Southern Fried Chicken Recipe
- 140 g chicken thigh fillet boneless with skin on
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
Masala Chicken Fat
- 100 ml of hot oil
- 50 g melted butter
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp salt and pepper
- Flour the chicken and let it sit in the fridge for four hours. This will allow it to develop flour glue. Re-flour the chicken pieces a couple of times while refrigerated.
- Re-flour the chicken fillet and cook in a small deep fryer (or deep pan filled with oil) for 9 minutes at 178˚C. Avoid adding more than 2–3 fillets in one batch.
- Once the chicken is fried, take it out and brush with masala chicken fat.
- Season well with the Spicy Seasoning mix.
A big thanks to the wonderful team from Trunkh concept store in Phnom Penh for the red and white spotted napkins featured, above. If you’re not in Cambodia, Trunkh ships, and they also have an online shop.
Do let us know how this Southern fried chicken recipe for Belles Hot Chicken’s spicy Nashville style chicken works out for you. We’d love to hear from you, either in the comments below, by email or tag us on social media.