After our Miss Dots post last weekend, we received a hot tip from loyal blog fan Rene about a place called Eugene’s Hot Chicken.  From some googling, I found out a few essential pieces of info:

-Hot chicken originated in Nashville and is basically a regional take on buffalo chicken.  Serious Eats and Wikipedia do a better job than I ever could explaining the dish’s origins and distinction from buffalo chicken.  Basically, it’s deep fried chicken smothered in a hot paste atop white bread topped with pickle chips.  What more do you really need to know?

-Eugene’s was part of Rev Birmingham’s Big Pitch contest last year according to this Al.com contestant profile.

-According to their Facebook page, they’re often parked at Saturn or Trim Tab on weekends.

Last night, we already had plans with our foodie friend Michelle of Miss Dots fried chicken post fame to have dinner at another new spot in town.  She asked us what we were up to afterwards, and we admitted that we were hoping to have some hot chicken for dessert.  Being a good sport, and just having stumbled upon Eugene’s Facebook page hours earlier, she was game.

We arrived at Trim Tab around 6:30pm and wandered around.  No sign of Eugene or his hot chicken.  But then we stumbled upon a side door, which opened to a large area with two fire pits.  Beyond the fire pits we saw:



A little line was beginning to form despite the frigid cold temperatures.  We looked at the menu.  I love it when the choices are made so simple:


We had just had some wings at dinner and so decided to start of with an order of chicken tenders. When we got up to the front, a man with a huge smile greeted us. He only had one question for us:  “How hot?” Mr Foodie was inside, so it was just Michelle and I.  Not knowing how adventurous Mr Foodie was feeling, Michelle and I decided to play it relatively safe and asked for the medium level-“hot.”  We were given a ticket and told to come back in 10 minutes.  We went inside to warm up.

I ran back out to grab our snack and was greeted by the same smiling man:  “Hope you enjoy!”  I was given this unpretentious bag:

When I returned inside we had the unveiling:


Three fingers-one for each of us-perfect.

We each took a finger and and dug in.  The sauce is a must:  a very thick ranch dressing that is the perfect accompaniment, as so:

When you bite in, there’s an initial crunch, followed by the moistest, most tender chicken you can imagine.  Then the heat.  The chicken lights up your tastebuds with two powerful flavors: spiciness and saltiness. Cut by the creaminess of the ranch, just outstanding.

The fries bear mention too.  They don’t look like much, I suppose.  Very lightly seasoned, not over or under fried, slightly crunchy, they go great with the ranch and in between chicken bites.

Well, we had come to complete a mission:  eat Eugene’s Hot Chicken, determine its blogworthiness, and if blogworthy, get enough photos for a post.  Check, check, check, and check.

But none of us was truly satisfied leaving it there.  I mean, what about the wings?  We weren’t initially in the mood for wings but if the tenders were this good, surely our blog fans deserved to know about the wings.  And what about the “stupid hot” level of hotness?  Could we handle it, even if it meant we needed some extra ranch sauce?

An argument ensued.  We all went back and forth, debating the pros and cons of each stance.  I won’t tell you who said what and why, but in the end, we finally decided to order wings, just “hot,” with the other available side:  slaw.

As I ran back across the fire pit lot towards the truck.  I must have looked like a woman on a mission.  “Did you like it?” my new friend asked me expectantly.  We liked it so much we were back for dessert course two, I told him.

Waiting for wings, I struck up a conversation with some other customers.  They told me that as the sign says, the mild really does have a “touch of burn,” but no one had tried the “stupid hot.”  So I had to ask my new friend.  Given how legitimately hot our first course had been, could I tolerate the highest heat?  He assured me that he has customers who come back again and again for it.  I’ll just have to wait till our next visit to find out.

Another brown bag later I was back inside Trim Tab with this beautiful basket:

 Wow, these wings.  First of all, they were enormous, some of the biggest wings I’ve ever seen.  Crunchy, slathered in hot sauce, less salty than the tenders, just as hot,  juice flying everywhere.  I got sauce on my hands, my face, my glasses, the table.  That means it was a success.  In our foodie opinion, the best wings in town.   Mr Foodie says they’re as good as the wings at Saw’s BBQ – and I agree.  That’s a huge compliment to both Eugene’s and Saw’s.  The slaw was nice and creamy-just what we needed.

Another heated (pun intended) argument ensued about whether the tenders or wings were better.  I think I can summarize it as follows:  Sometimes you think you want Eugene’s hot tenders.  Sometimes you think you want Eugene’s hot wings.  You should probably just get a basket of both.

To find Eugene, like his Facebook page, or his instagram or Twitter (@chickeneugene).  He regularly posts his whereabouts and he’s not hard to find.  Think of it as a little foodie adventure tracking him down:  food and entertainment all rolled into one.