The Fat Ham Hot Chicken May Be the Best Fried Chicken In Philadelphia

fat-ham-hot-chicken-kevin-sbraga

Meet the newest contender in the Philadelphia fried chicken battles: Kevin Sbraga’s hot chicken at the Fat Ham, his new restaurant on Walnut Street in West Philadelphia.

If you’re not familiar with hot chicken (and I wasn’t prior to Sbraga telling me all about it when I popped by for dinner last weekend), it’s a local specialty in Nashville, Tennessee.


There's nothing fancy here. Just buttermilk-soaked chicken fried as crisp as can be in lard, tossed in lard and cayenne-based hot sauce, and set atop a slice of white sandwich bread, which they bake Sbraga (the chef's other restaurant), and which, we presume, also gets a drizzle of lard somewhere along the line.

A descendant of the supposed originator of Nashville hot chicken told NPR that the dish was created when her womanizing great uncle's "lady friend" tried to punish him for staying out all night by dousing the fried chicken he was about to eat for breakfast with some serious spice. Turns out he loved it, and hot chicken was born. And that's about as good a food origin story as any.

Hot chicken at the Fat Ham will set you back $13 for two pieces. I'll take a bucket.

Fat Ham [Foobooz]

  • Mark Correa

    The restaurant website says the hot chicken is $11 …

    • vfiorillo

      $13 according to the kitchen today. They did mention that they just updated some prices.

      • Alimentarian

        Is “updated” a euphemism for “raised”?

        • Yup

          Always

  • darth vader

    They had me until they mentioned all the lard. Eww!

    • yup

      lard is the truth. barberton ohio ftw

  • Barstool Sample

    Victor knows as little about the quality of food as Beyonce knows about sampling sounds in songs.

  • Philly’s Best BYOBs

    This is the best chicken I’ve had in Philly. Incredibly moist and juicy (without brining), and very spicy. Lard or not, it wasn’t even slightly greasy.

    But I still think the best dish is the oyster sliders.

    • vfiorillo

      You’re right. The oyster sliders are even better.

  • Chris

    $13 for the most basic ingredients for fried chicken (yeah…lard sets ya back a ways…)….with a slice of white bread….BUT IT’S MADE AT HIS RESTAURANT, I know, I get it – $13 for friend chicken on white bread. Got it.