Eating Asheville: Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack — Nashville-Style Hot Chicken in N.C.

While driving around West Asheville, my husband and I came across this restaurant called Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack. The sign had a retro look and an image of (what looks like) a rooster. The sign looked fun, and since we William loves fried chicken (and I love food) we decided to pull into the parking lot and give this place a try!

Restaurant: Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack, West Asheville

Location: 1455 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28806

Price Range: $$ ($11 – $30)

Website: http://www.rockyshotchickenshack.com/

Click HERE to view the Menu

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All I can say is “wow!” This place was amazing in so many different ways. The decor was very inviting and reminded me of an old school biker joint. Their main items are chicken of course, but there are non chicken and vegetarian options as well.

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We ordered our food and sat outside on the semi-covered patio! William ordered the Chicken Thigh Plate with corn pudding and fried okra and added an additional waffle as a side. He ordered his chicken tossed in a mild sauce. I ordered the Chicken Tenders Plate with onion rings and macaroni and cheese. I had my chicken tossed in their honey mustard sauce (I think it was honey mustard)!

Strips

Of course the chicken was the highlight of both of our meals, but I will say the sides were great as well. The chicken pieces are HUGE, and incredibly juicy. William’s mild sauce was plenty spicy, so don’t get anything hotter than mild if you don’t plan to have your mouth set on fire. The corn pudding and fried okra were very good. My onion rings were delicious and so was my macaroni and cheese. The Macaroni and cheese was a little TOO cheesy for me, but most people probably wouldn’t have a problem with that.

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We loved the food and surprisingly, we had a lot of food that we couldn’t finish. It was filling and on our way home we had to fight the urge to stop by a second time.

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If you’re in Asheville (specifically west Asheville) check out their location on Patton Avenue. It will not disappoint.

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Want to try making Tennessee-style hot chicken yourself? Check out this recipe by bon appetit: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/nashville-style-hot-chicken

Southern Style Fried Chicken… Without a Recipe.

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My mom recently celebrated a birthday and us kids wanted to do something special for her. We decided we would cook her a meal… anything she desired… and she requested “soul food.”

If you’ve ever eaten my food, my brothers food, or my sister’s food you would understand what I mean when I say, “we don’t cook soul food.” I can cook a mean batch of Mac and Cheese and my sister can cook a delicious asian inspired dish… but we just don’t do soul food.

My sister and I paired up and really had to think through what our menu was going to be. We knew that if we were going to do this, we were going to go soul food all the way. We decided on a menu that consisted of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, pork chops, sweet potato souffle, and sweet tea. My brother was in charge of the sweet tea, my sister was in charge of the mac’ and cheese and pork chops, and it was my job to provide the greens, sweet potatoes and of course, the fried chicken.

I’ll be honest with you. I’m not a HUGE southern style fried chicken fan. I love chicken strips, and Chick-fil-A, but bone in deep fried chicken isn’t my all time favorite thing to eat. I also don’t cook fried food very often either — we stick to grilled, sautéed, and baked for most of our meats.

My husband loves fried chicken, and when I say love, I mean LOVE. His mom makes some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had so I’ve shied away from cooking it at our home because I like to leave the chicken frying up to the experts. I knew, that I needed to get over my fear of fried chicken and jump right in.

I’ve made only fried chicken once before in our home and it was for our first meal of the year as a married couple. I took what I learned from that go round and applied it to the fried chicken for my mom’s birthday.

Not to toot my own horn… but my fried chicken turned out pretty darn good If I do say so myself. It’s possible to make good fried chicken, and it’s possible to make it without a recipe.

I cannot stress enough about the caloric repercussions of eating this chicken. It is not healthy at all.  It’s soaked in buttermilk and deep fried in shortening… but it tastes great and it’s a nice treat for the family to have once in a blue moon.

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There are essential ingredients to any southern style fried chicken. They are: Bone in chicken pieces (I prefer thighs and legs), buttermilk, salt, pepper, hot sauce, and flour. I think frying in shortening gives the chicken the crispiest crust, but peanut oil or vegetable oil works as well. DO NOT fry in olive oil.

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In addition to the staple ingredients I like to have the following spices on hand: Cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and Old Bay cajun seasoning.

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Step One: Season your raw chicken. I use salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and Old Bay seasoning. At the least, use salt and pepper.

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Step Two: Create your buttermilk brine. Add hot sauce to the buttermilk (less for less spicy, more for more spicy). In addition to the hot sauce, add a generous amount of the same seasonings you used on the raw chicken being sure to use enough salt… but not too much salt.

Buttermilk

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Step Three: Pour your buttermilk over the raw chicken and let sit for AT LEAST one hour or up to six hours.

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Step Four: Create your breading. At the very least create a breading mix of flour, salt, and pepper. I like to add in cornstarch (just for a little extra crispiness) and the same seasonings I used on my raw chicken.

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Step Five: Bread your chicken. The buttermilk will work as a binding agent to bond the breading to the chicken. Let the excess buttermilk drip off the chicken and then dredge the chicken in the flour. Place each piece of breaded chicken on a cooling rack set over a cookie sheet. Let the chicken sit for a least 10 minutes before frying so that the breading has a good bond with the chicken. If you run out of breading or it begins to get doughy… just make more breading.

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Step Six: Heat your oil. I used shortening but you can use any high heat oil. Heat your oil to about 375 degrees (medium high heat should be the best setting).  I suggest using a deep dutch oven, fryer, or cast iron skillet. Your frying pan should be deep enough to hold about 2.5 – 3 inches of oil. Keep in mind that you will add chicken to the pan so you don’t want your oil to spill over.

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Step Seven: Fry. Fry your chicken in batches. My fryer holds about 5 pieces of chicken… but to be safe, don’t over fill your pan. Fry your bone-in dark meat for 20 minutes (10 minutes on each side). Fry your bone-in white meat for 15 minutes (7.5 minutes per side). Fry your boneless white meat tenders for 13 minutes (6 – 7 minutes per side).

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Step Eight: Salt, Salt, Salt. Be sure to salt your chicken as soon as it comes out of the fryer.

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Serve warm with mac and cheese and a green vegetable.

ENJOY!

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End of Winter Countdown: Soul Warming Tomatillo Chicken Chili

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It’s February 25th and it’s still very cold outside. I’ve lived in the south my entire life and there’s a reason why I still live here… I don’t really like the cold. I appreciate a little snow here and there, but I mostly appreciate those winters we have where I rarely have to leave home with more than a heavy jacket.

Last year in metro Atlanta we experienced snowpocalypse. All of us southerners were trapped on the streets and in our cars because of an inch of snow and an inch of ice. It was a terrifying time for the city and the only way you’ll understand how our city was crippled from ice is if you live here. Today, most of our city is shut down due to the fear of another approaching storm. It’s currently 33° outside today with a projected high of 38°. I think this year we are trying to be a little more cautious to keep from a repeat of last year. I’ll admit… I’m just ready for spring and the warm weather that it brings.

Since I’m in my nice warm home and i’m looking outside at a gloomy cold day, I figure it would be a great time to share my most recent cold weather meal. This recipe is for a Tomatillo Chicken Chili that will warm your heart, body and soul. I’m not a fan of beans and I avoid them at every cost. I was skeptical to develop a soup with white beans but after going grocery shopping with a friend and getting a little insight in the the world of chicken chili…. I was ready to take on the challenge.

ingredients

I wish I could tell you that you can throw all these ingredients into a slow cooker and it will turn out tasty and delicious but I’m not sure if this is actually the case. I don’t actually own a slow cooker and I strongly believe that you can make delicious “slow cooked” food on the stove. My version comes together in about 30 minutes and it tastes better than any soup that’s been cooking for the last 10 hours in a crock pot (I might be a little biased).

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This recipe uses ingredients that are present in most chicken chili recipes: chicken, beans, broth, and some type of pepper or green base. I decided to use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts because I believe there’s more flavor in the thigh (plus it’s harder to over cook chicken thighs). I use fresh jalapeño peppers and canned tomatillos to give the soup a little kick and exotic flavor.

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The trick to this recipe is sautéing the chicken with onions, peppers, and garlic. Most recipes have you boil and shred the chicken before adding it to the soup. The flavor profile that’s developed in the chicken by cooking it with fresh seasonings ads depth of flavor to the rest of the soup.

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I think every good chili should be served with some sort of cream or sauce and a side of tortilla chips. After I made the soup I realized I didn’t have sour cream so I topped it with plain greek yogurt (and it was heavenly).

I hope you get a chance to try this recipe out before the weather changes. I loved the recipe and I can’t wait to make it again.

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  • Difficulty: easy
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Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 jalapeño peppers seeded and minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 boneless chicken thighs
  • 3 cups chicken broth (preferably home made)
  • 2 – 15 oz cans Great Northern Beans with or without pork
  • 1 – 11 oz can whole tomatillos, chopped and with juice

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil In a dutch oven or large saucepan, over medium heat.
  2. Sauté onion, jalapeños, and garlic until soft,  3-5 minutes.
  3. Add in oregano, cumin, chili powder, and salt and stir to combine.
  4. Add chicken thighs to pan and brown on each side. Once browned, cover and cook until they are cooked throughout, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove chicken from pan and cut into small cubes (or shred) and add back to pan.
  6. Add chicken broth, beans, and tomatillos to pan.
  7. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil.
  8. Boil until liquid is reduced by 1/3, 10 – 12 minutes.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm, with sour cream and tortilla chips.