Hot Chicks

Craving the heat? After almost four months of rain, sleet and snow, a heat wave is the perfect way to cure us of the winter blues.

Craving the heat? After almost four months of rain, sleet and snow, a heat wave is the perfect way to cure us of the winter blues.

Enter Nashville hot chicken sandwiches. These flaming pockets of buttermilk-battered chicken are fried to perfection and dripping with heat so addictive, you’ll be burning for a second bite.

Each of these hot spots from the NEXT Three Cities is putting its stamp on the Tennessee classic, adding its own original flair. From streetside shacks to food trucks to brick-and-mortar restaurants, each of these spots is dedicated to the pursuit of the ultimate in fiery hot birds.

Whether you’re a hot-chicken aficionado with an appetite for heat or a newbie looking to test your luck on the Scoville scale, forget heading south and get your hands on one of these hot chickys.

Pro Tips & Tricks to Make Better Hot Chicken @ Home

“Stick to thighs for the juiciest chicken sandwich, and brine your bird in buttermilk overnight—up to 12 hours—for optimal tenderness.”
– Aaron Bruce, executive chef at Zilford’s Fried Chicken in Calgary

“The secret to Nashville hot chicken is actually a very unique technique rarely used anywhere else. We throw our special blend of spices, including loads of cayenne and garlic powder, and hit it with hot oil from the fryer and make a ‘hot oil bath.’”
– Jordan Harasinski, creator and CEO of Tokyo Hot Fried Chicken in Toronto

“First, you have to know how to fry safely at home. You need a deeper pot; I’d say a six- to eight-inch pot at least. Never fill that pot more than one-third full. When you’re frying chicken, don’t ever throw breaded chicken in oil— you place it in oil. If you can maintain the heat between 325 and 350, you’re looking good for non-greasy chicken.”
– Nicole and Francine Gomes, founders of Cluck N Cleaver

“If you are making hot chicken at home, you are probably aiming for the sky in terms of your spice level. Make sure to balance out your heat with enough sweetness in your recipe to keep the rest of your flavours coming through.”
– Jake Holton, founder of Five Points Hot Chicken, Toronto

Where to Score Hot Fried Chicken in Your Town

Five Points Hot Chicken

Toronto

Five Points Hot Chicken

The Paddock Tavern has a spicy secret tucked away in its kitchen.

Five Points Hot Chicken’s classic sandwich is blowing the roof off this Bathurst Street blues bar. The Texas toast, buttermilk ranch and butter pickles are the perfect complements to its fiery chicken. Trust us when we say you’ll be left asking for a tall glass of milk.

178 Bathurst St., Toronto, fivepointshotchicken.com

 

Birdies

Once a humble food truck rolling through the city, Birdies now has a home base in Toronto’s east end. Find chicken fried to perfection, coated in hot seasoning and doused with a house-made Truck Sauce.

263 Coxwell Ave., Toronto, birdiesto.ca

 

Tokyo Hot Fried Chicken

Tokyo Hot mixes crunch-tastic Japanese karaage with Nashville heat to create its Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich. Go classic or try the Tokyo Hot Chicken, which swaps buttermilk scallion ranch for wasabi mayo and ginger slaw.

928 College St., Toronto, tokyohotfriedchicken.com

Juke fried chicken sandwich

Vancouver

Downlow Chicken Shack

Downlow is an institution in Vancouver. The Shack’s been whipping up the best hot chicken on the West Coast—some say Canada—and it’s all due to its farm fresh chickens.

Fresh and never frozen from Two Rivers farms, these birds are given extra TLC that you can taste, even under the powerful dusting of spices.

905 Commercial Dr., Vancouver, dlchickenshack.ca

 

The Frying Pan

From a food truck to a regular spot in Gastown, The Frying Pan is serving up some of the most inspired hot chicken in Vancouver.

The restaurant combines Korean flavours into its southern-fried chicken, and you can choose from five levels of spice to find your perfect match.

505 Burrard St., Vancouver, thefryingpan604.com

 

Juke

This is Chinatown’s best spot for fresh and crispy fried chicken. Working out of The Chickadee Room’s kitchen, this mighty operation is dedicated to serving made-from-scratch recipes, even down to the chicken seasoning.

It also bottles its own hot sauces, making it that much easier to enjoy Juke’s hot chicken at home.

182 Keefer St., Vancouver, jukefriedchicken.com

Cluck N Cleaver sandwich

Calgary

Zilford’s Fried Chicken

Another fried-chicken truck turned canteen staple, Zilford’s is serious about its searing-hot Nashville chicken.

This open-faced sandwich has the Tennessee stamp of approval, with a seriously spicy coating and a slice of fluffy white bread, and butter pickles to boot.

3851 Manchester Rd. SE, Calgary, zilfordsfriedchicken.com

 

Alumni Sandwiches

This local sandwich shop is a pretty unassuming place to be harbouring a fiery two-hander.

Its hot chicken sandwich is stuffed with crispy chicken, crunchy slaw and its finger-licking Comeback Sauce.

725 17 Ave. SW, Calgary, alumnisandwiches.com

 

Cluck N Cleaver

With a love for raising their own chickens, Top Chef Canada alumni Nicole Gomes and her sister Francine are as farm-to-table as it gets.

Korean fried chicken combined with heat from down south inspires their Mother Clucker sandwich. It’s topped with a blue cheese mayo, which cools you down just in time for your next bite.

1511 14 St. SW, Calgary, cluckncleaver.com

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