Windy City Smokeout Chef Jared Leonard Makes Nashville Hot Chicken

Windy City Smokeout, the premier BBQ, craft beer and country music festival, hosted by popular Chicago restaurant, Bub City, and ACM award-winning, Joe’s Bar, will return to Chicago on July 14 – 16 for the fifth consecutive year. More than 45,000 guests are expected to descend upon Grand Avenue near the Chicago River for a weekend-long event where attendees will savor some of the best BBQ and craft beers from around the nation while listening to many of country music’s biggest names and up-and-coming talent.

jaredleonardpost Windy City Smokeout Chef Jared Leonard Makes Nashville Hot Chicken

Jared Leonard: Founder, Stone Soup Collective (BBQ Supply Co, The Budlong Hot Chicken, Rock River BBQ Ranch)

Jared Leonard created BBQ Supply Co. on the timeless traditions of wood-fired cooking, and from-scratch recipes, to bring Chicagoans a direct and authentic barbecue experience. BBQ Supply Co.’s meats are cooked low and slow and never sauced ahead of serving. From side dishes to sauces, Jared and his team make all original recipes in-house-and that same level of care can also be found in the dining room. ‘We want our guests to feel like part of our barbecue family when we entertain you,’ he says. ‘The idea is not just to feed you, but to inspire you to love barbecue as much as we do.’

The suburban Chicago native grew up in a household that always had something happening in the kitchen. His family cooked every meal together, and Jared learned to preserve fruits and vegetables, tend a garden, and bake at an early age. As an adult, Jared fell in love with barbecue while living in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. ‘I met some guys smoking pork butts on the side of the road in this massive offset smoker,’ he recalls. ‘The smells, the fire, the taste-it was my first experience with real BBQ, and I was hooked.’

In 2010, Jared opened Rub BBQ with his wife, Amanda. They wanted to pair Amanda’s love for hospitality and event planning with Jared’s love for American barbecue. The business evolved into a full-service restaurant, catering operation, pitmaster training center, and event production company, as well as laid the groundwork for Rock River BBQ Ranch: a riverside Bar-B-Q retreat two hours north of Chicago in Rock County, WI. The Leonards rebranded to BBQ Supply Co. in early 2017 to encompass the offerings. ‘We wanted our name to better represent what we’ve grown into,’ he says. ‘We’re not just a barbecue restaurant. We supply an entire barbecue experience.’

Jared has taught more than 500 barbecue classes, has founded and produced the Windy City BBQ Classic – Chicago’s only Kansas City BBQ Society certified competition. After falling for hot chicken on a trip to Nashville (to attend a barbecue conference), he launched The Budlong Hot Chicken in 2016, which will soon open its fourth Chicago location.

Family continues to stoke the fire of everything Jared brings to the table with his businesses. He and Amanda live with their children Brighton, 7, and Austen, 5, in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.

Nashville Hot Chicken Recipe

Recipe provided by Jared Leonard

Slurry for fried chicken

1 cup AP flour
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. garlic pepper

Mix dry ingredients with 2 cups water, with whisk. (Should be fairly thin like tempura batter.)

Dredge

3 cups AP flour
2 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. table salt
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. black pepper

Thoroughly mix all dry ingredients in bowl and set aside.

Cut 3-3 lb whole chicken into 4 pieces (breast/wing & leg/thigh). Dip chicken first in slurry, then in
dredge.

To fry the chicken, heat peanut oil to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (or other high smoking temp oil). Fry legs/thighs for 18 minutes, breast/wing for 20 minutes – if pan frying, make sure to continually baste with hot oil and flip pieces.

Nashville Hot

1 cup cayenne pepper
cup brown sugar
3 tbsp. paprika
3 tbsp. garlic powder
4 cups Crisco
1 tsp. Kosher salt

You apply the ‘Nashville Hot’ to the chicken, and serve it atop white bread with some hamburger or dill pickle slices on top of the chicken.

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