Cincinnati’s Version of Nashville Hot Chicken

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July 6 is National Fried Chicken Day.     Supposedly fried chicken came to the Southern U.S. with Scottish Immigrants, and then it became a national staple.   So this begs the question, is there a Cincinnati regional version of fried chicken?

 

I don’t eat a whole lot of fried chicken these days, but in the rare cases I do, I tend toward the spicier types. I love the spice of Nashville Hot Chicken, founded by Prince’s in the 1930s in Nashville.     You can get this locally at Nashville Hot or Joella’s in Ft. Wright, Kentucky, or in Columbus, or Dayton, Ohio, at Hot Chicken Takeover.   The Eagle also has a mildly spicy and sweet fried chicken that also scratches the spicy.

 

Indeed there is a Cincinnati regional version of fried chicken, and it’s a spicy one. But you won’t find it at any restaurants.   You certainly won’t find it at the Hitching Post, our region’s oldest continually operating fried chicken chain.   It’s something that’s still made in home kitchens.   It’s Grippo’s Hot Chicken.

 

That’s right – it’s chicken breaded with crushed Grippo’s spicy barbecue potato chips, and like Nashville Hot Chicken, it gives a spicy ting to the tongue and the back of the throat.

 

 

There are a few dishes integrating Grippos potato chips that have made it to local restaurants. Tom + Chee has a Grippos potato chip grilled cheese, and the Senate has the Trailer Park Hot Dog, which has crushed Grippos on top.

 

 

Grippo’s Barbecue Potato Chips are a favorite regional specialty chip.   The chips are bathed in a spicy barbecue powder that’s secret is in the hickory smoke flavor and the hickory smoked tortula yeast spices. The tortula yeast spices give the impression of the flavor of smoked bacon. The spice is so popular, Grippo’s has recently and smartly offered just the spices in local retail groceries so people can use it as a rub on meats.

 

All of the recipes call for crushing the chips themselves and using them as a breading.   Now that the spices are available separately, they could be incorporated into a flour for a less chunky, and more even breading.   But, I wonder if that might take away some of the spice, which is the brilliance of the dish to begin with.

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