quick bite: hot as cluck

April 1, 2021

“Are you sure?” These are the exact words of the waitress tonight after I ordered a pair of fried chicken sliders.

Let me back up. The Smoke Shop is one of the most popular bbq restaurants in Boston. They have four locations around town, and I’ve been visiting the Harvard Square location lately for take out. Tonight we decided to dine in for the first time. There are two reasons I go to the Harvard Sq outpost. First, it is closest to my house. Next, and way more importantly, it is the only location with Nashville Hot Chicken Sliders.

You get two perfectly crispy, mini chicken sandwiches in an order. But you have to decide, do you want them “spicy,” or do you want them “hot as cluck.” So back to where we began, when I ordered them “hot as cluck,” my waitress, genuinely concerned for my well-being, asked, “Are you sure?” I told her I was, but she persisted. “But they are really hot,” she protested, almost trying to talk me out of them. “We’ve had them before,” I assured her.

She wasn’t wrong. These aren’t for everyone. If you buy medium salsa, if you don’t order your Indian food hot, if you think buffalo wings are spicy, you might not want to order these. They are seriously hot, and the mayo, coleslaw, and bread and butter pickles, though delicious, don’t do much to cut the heat. Tonight, my mouth was still on fire a good ten minutes after my slider was gone. Last time I ate one in the car, it was so spicy it gave me the hiccups!

Despite the heat, there is a ton of flavor in these sliders. Spicy yes, but a little sweetness and certainly some acidity. I am absolutely in love with this sandwich. It is my favorite thing on the Smoke Shop menu and I eat them every chance I get. If you love spicy, crispy chicken, you have to try this sandwich. It’s so clucking good. (Sorry, that’s such a terrible pun, but they did it first.)

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