The Tin Fox has a spicy secret menu when it transforms into The Angry Rooster

You better believe your taste buds will be tested

At The Angry Rooster – The Tin Fox’s alter ego restaurant (which goes under a different name with a different menu) – you better believe your taste buds are about to be tested. If you’re not convinced, glance at the ingredient list of the XXX Hot Chicken. Ghost peppers, habanero powder and cayenne should help you get there.

On the plate, it looks like an unassuming piece of Southern fried chicken, lightly dusted with reddish spices. Popping a bite into your mouth ignites a conflagration of flavor and heat that rivals a blast furnace. It feels like you’ve just taken a bite of a fireball – a delicious and tender fireball. Handy pitchers of water (note the plurality) are most definitely required.

In early December, owner and chef Justice Neal began selling six different styles of Southern fried chicken on a takeout basis at the Monroe Street eatery and through EatStreet. Neal, who says he’s always had a thing for Southern-style cooking, offers four sweet-and-savory versions and two of the scorch-your-palate variety – the XXX Hot Chicken and the slightly less spicy (but seriously delicious) Nashville Hot Chicken, served with a slice of bread.The Tin Fox has a spicy secret menu when it transforms into The Angry Rooster

The chicken in these dishes is marinated for 24 hours in a mixture of buttermilk, Tabasco and eggs. The Nashville Hot Chicken is dredged in flour, black and white pepper and paprika. The XXX gets the additional dusting of aforementioned fiery spices. Neal has learned to wait a day before actually frying.

“Letting it sit helps the breading stick,” he says. And it’s true. The breading on both styles is thick and crispy, all the better to support the punch of the spices. So far, customers are cottoning to Neal’s chicken as much for its optional gluten-free version as its sweet heat.

You can order takeout from The Angry Rooster Tuesday through Sunday, or stop by the Monroe Street restaurant on Monday nights – that’s when The Tin Fox menu disappears and The Angry Rooster menu takes over from 5 to 9 p.m.