The hot chicken obsession has grown into its own food group in Space City. Although the trend originated in Nashville — consequently named “Nashville Hot Chicken” — Houston has managed to uphold the fever. Think about it; even Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion had her special sauce.

Right here in the city, Houston locals have given us some of their versions of hot chicken, such as Mico’s widely popular sandwich or even Sticky’s traditional Hot Chicken Sandwich. The heavily seasoned sandwiches are doused in spicy pepper blends, and some even have a heat level (if you dare go so high). 

If you want the seasonings to burn your mouth or love a little spice, the city is loaded with hot chicken spots — standalone brick-and-mortars, food trucks, and food hall storefronts that align with your tastebuds.

Below, find our city guide to Houston’s best hot chicken. 


Heights

Sticky’s Chicken

Nestled in the shops at Sawyer Yards is Sticky’s Chicken, Houston’s street-verified chicken spot. You know that the food is good when local celebs such as Bun B and former Rockets player PJ Tucker offer a co-sign. (No, really, it’s THAT good.) Created by brother-and-sister duo Patsy and Benson Vivares, the chicken shack serves Asian-fusion fried chicken — think Karaage Sliders and fries, and the S.L.A.B. wings, short for “spicy loud and bangin’,” made with their special honey sriracha sauce.  

Gus World Famous Fried Chicken

While many have tried their hand at hot chicken, few have truly succeeded. Instead of putting their own twist on hot chicken, Memphians Na and Maggie Bonner brought their original hot chicken recipe to the Bayou City. Coming straight from the motherland of hot chicken, you should expect nothing but the freshest and finest chicken, plus a side of Southern hospitality. 

The Waffle Bus

If the name didn’t give it away, waffle fries are at the center of the menu. (You can even order hot chicken sliders sandwiched between two oversized waffle fries!) But the spice blend is what really takes them over the top. If you ask an employee how hot the Hot Chicken Sandwich is, they’ll likely rate it a 7/10, because the thunder sauce is a force to be reckoned with.  

Howdy Hot Chicken

Family-owned and operated Howdy Hot Chicken was birthed right here in Houston and knows how to bring the heat. The “hot” in the name shouldn’t be taken lightly either. (Trust me, I tried the medium-level Howdy Sammie and didn’t know what I was in for.) All chicken is halal, and the meals come with Howdy Sauce, which helps to cool the chicken off just enough to eat.

We’ve tasted some of the city’s best to give you a list of Houston’s spiciest chicks. 

Mico’s Hot Chicken

As one of Houston’s original hot chicken joints, Mico’s transitioned from food truck to storefront two years ago and has since been thriving. The menu is small but classic — ’cause when your food is good, you never need too much. Choose from the best-selling sammich, the tender basket or the loaded fries, all cooked to your spice level of choice. 

Galleria

Clutch City Cluckers

Located near the intersection of Chimney Rock and Westheimer roads is Clutch City Cluckers, the food truck that’s breathing heat — and pop culture — into its food. One whiff of the cayenne pepper-infused hot chicken will send you sniffling. The super fun menu includes a hot chicken sandwich or, as they like to call it, “Cluck It Like It’s Hot,” and the tasty side orders, like mac and cheese and fries, dubbed “sides to the DMs.” 

Montrose


Main Bird Hot Chicken

Main Bird, which was once known as Main Chick, won’t disappoint when it comes to spice. At first glance, you’ll see the chicken is a dark red from all of the seasonings, and the flavors will have your mouth watering for more reasons than one. 


Downtown

Bird Haus

Underground Hall’s chicken joint Bird Haus has the secret sauce, or Haus sauce, that is. The hot chicken is cooked in a crispy batter and to top it all off, it’s marinated in a cayenne butter glaze good enough to make your eyes water. If you like spicy, order the hot; if you don't want to taste your food, then order the fire. 


Third Ward

Bad Chx

Order fried chicken your way at Third Ward’s newest food truck, Bad Chx. The restaurant measures spice with its pepper thermometer, which ranges from no spice to lava. The cool thing about Bad Chx? The hot chicken offerings aren’t just limited to tenders and sandwiches — you can order burritos, tacos and sub sandwiches with the spicy hot chicken. 


Cypress/Katy


Rosalyn’s Hot Chicken

The old adage goes if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. The Nashville natives bring an authentic taste of hot chicken to Houston, and it’s burn your mouth and lips spicy. The perfectly battered chicken is cooked until golden and has an unforgettable crunch. Take your pick at spice level from plain to extra hot, but be careful. At Rosalyn’s Hot Chicken, it’s clear that the heat isn’t for the faint of heart. 

Urban Bird Hot Chicken

Urban Bird Hot Chicken is the spot that puts all the other hot chicken franchises to shame. With heat levels ranging from country (no heat at all) and fire in the hole (it’ll burn you twice), you can pick your poison. My best tip: Go for the Nashville Hot. The spices are more tolerable, but can still give you the burn that you’re looking for.  



Rice Military/Rice Village


The Cookshack

We know that there’s Nashville hot, but the Cookshack makes things Texas hot, and we know that the Lone Star State is nothing to play with. Naturally, everything is bigger in Texas, and it reigns true for the chicken too — the tenders are colossal! And if you order anything Texas hot, you have to sign a waiver in order to eat it. If you’re prideful enough to sign it, you may be given free ice cream to cool your mouth off. But that won’t be enough to stop you from finishing it. The Cookshack’s hot chicken is good, down to the very last bite. 

Dave’s Hot Chicken

Dave’s Hot Chicken has drastically expanded its imprint in Houston with five locations. But the California-based chicken spot is packing some serious heat — and not just in the chicken. The restaurant enlisted big-name celebrities like Michael Strahan and Drake to back the brand, and their take on Nashville hot chicken goes as far as adding a side of honey to every chicken basket, just to balance out the sweet and spicy flavors.

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