hot stuff

Hot Stuff doesn’t have the renown that a lot of other hot chicken shacks have, but it puts out well prepared chicken at a good value. That alone, is worth the trip for any hot chicken traveler, and Hot Stuff distinguishes itself from other restaurants with their unique fries and the tingling sensation that lingers on your lips after you finish.

The Chicken

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Let’s get right to Hot Stuff chicken’s most distinctive trait: its spice mix. Underneath all the red, fiery heat of hot chicken is a generally well-fried piece of chicken. Of course, in a city whose specialty is a heat-infused fried chicken, it should almost be taken for granted that the chicken itself will be good (Note: It isn’t always. Sad face.) Hot Stuff treats their fried chicken with a chili oil that starts off balanced — a good mixture of heat and sweet-smoky chili flavor. We order the “Hot,” and the initial heat as compared to Hattie B’s is perhaps a little milder.

Then, a tingling sensation takes over.

Hot Stuff’s chicken has a sinister after burn. We haven’t yet deduced what particular chili blend Hot Stuff uses, but there is something in there that leaves a light, prickling sensation on your lips and tongue, but in a good way.

Hot chicken connoisseurs have to be a little bit thrill-seeking, if not out-right gluttons for punishment (cue the nodding cardiologists). The lingering capsaicin zing in Hot Stuff’s chicken gives you what you want without burning your mouth as you actually eat it.

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After the spicy exterior, Hot Stuff continues to perform. The breading is flaky; the chicken skin is crispy; and the chicken itself is moist and tender. We have noticed that it can be a bit greasy, especially as compared to Hattie B’s. But we usually get it as takeout and the greasiness may be less of an issue if you are eating it as soon as it is served.

As far as ordering goes, Hot Stuff offers chicken and sides a la carte for individuals, and has “family packs” that combine the two. Prices are reasonable and even a bit on the low side for the market. They also offer wings and fish, though we fail to understand why anyone would order fish at a hot chicken place.

The Sides

As is the norm, side selection at Hot Stuff is a bit limited. It consists of french fries, baked beans, potato salad, and cole slaw.

The baked beans and cole slaw at Hot Stuff are both relatively sweet, but tasty if your preference leans that way. Otherwise, they are relatively unremarkable.

Hot Stuff’s fries, on the other hand, are something special. They serve a thin, crinkle-cut fry which is rare enough in itself, but what truly makes them special is the seasoning. The fries taste as though they have had some version of their chicken seasoning lightly applied. They aren’t spicy at all, but they do have a great hot-chicken-reminiscent flavor that is absolutely worth trying.

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The Restaurant

Hot Stuff is mostly a takeout place with only a few tables in the strip-mall style restaurant. Food is packaged well and they purport to support online ordering, though it was nonfunctional the last time we tried to use it. If you can’t order online, call ahead. Like every other hot chicken place, there is a minimum 20 minute wait on every order.

Located off of busy Bell Road, Hot Stuff is in a convenient location for the person looking for a grab-and-go option. It would also be a good place to pop in for the hot chicken curious tourist visiting Murfreesboro, Smyrna, or LaVergne. Hot Stuff gives you the great, hot chicken taste without sending you deep into Nashville or having to endure the longer lines and waits at the more “established” places. It is, perhaps, a less complete version of the total experience — enjoying the camaraderie of strangers in a crowded, but comfortable environment — but you’ll leave satisfied.