Jun 27, 2022 - Food and Drink

Making the most of the Valley's hot chicken options

Illustration of a chicken wearing sunglasses with fire reflected in the lenses.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

I love my food spicy, and few things scratch that itch like hot chicken. I drove across town from central Phoenix to Peoria to try out Twist Hot Chicken — a Nashville-style hot chicken place.

Details: I made two trips to Twist, located at 8386 W. Thunderbird Road. On my first visit, I ordered what looked to me like the restaurant's flagship sandwich, the Nashville Blues, a slab of fried hot chicken topped with Twist's Nashville sauce, kale slaw and blue cheese, though I decided to forgo the blue cheese.

  • Twist offers four spiciness levels: mild, medium, hot and "can't touch this."
  • The clerk likened the medium spiciness level to a standard Buffalo wing and said the hot spiciness level is about three times hotter than that. The "can't touch this" was compared to the Carolina Reaper pepper.
  • The chicken was very crispy and delicious. I went with hot, which made me reconsider whether I can still handle such spicy food.
A hot chicken sandwich with a side of mac and cheese
The Nashville Blues with a side of mac and cheese from Twist Hot Chicken. Photo: Jeremy Duda/Axios

1 unique thing: The Shabazi — a hot fried chicken topped with red cabbage slaw, tahini sauce and zhoug, a spicy green sauce native to Yemen.

My thought bubble: I'm driving back out there at least once more to try another unique sandwich, the Hot Moroccan, which is flavored with a sauce made from harissa, a north African chili paste.

The big picture: Everything I tried there, including the creamy mac and cheese side dish, was outstanding.

There are other great options in the Valley for hot chicken, so don't miss out on some of my other picks:

  • Mrs. Chicken, 4011 N. 32nd St., is probably my favorite of the bunch. Try the Yardbyrd sandwich and red beans and rice as a side.
  • Monroe's Hot Chicken in downtown Phoenix, 45 W. Jefferson St., or at ​​430 N. Scottsdale Road.
  • And never underestimate the spicy chicken sandwiches at Popeye's and Chick-fil-A.
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