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We Tried All Seven of Dave’s Hot Chicken Spice Levels List 

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Dave's Hot Chicken

Dave’s Hot Chicken: Another significant contender has entered the drive-thru chicken warfare (pardon the pun, laughter distracts me from the pain).

The first Texas drive-thru store of Dave’s Hot Chicken, a Los Angeles fast-food business specializing in Nashville hot chicken, debuted in Addison off Preston Road, garnering a curious audience even before it officially opened to the public.

The menu of the chicken business appears to be relatively straightforward, but the variety comes from the way the chicken is prepared. Long before it ever touches a fryer, each piece of boneless chicken is brined for hours. Instead of being slapped on a piece of tasteless chicken, the spice is cooked into the skin and breast.

Best Dave’s Hot Chicken Spice Levels List

Dave's Hot Chicken

While Popeye’s and Chick-fil-A battled for our attention, Dave’s lets you select your preferred level of spiciness by providing you more than just two options of spicy or not, something we seem to have forgotten was available to us.

Each piece of chicken is seasoned in one of seven levels of spiciness, ranging from “no spice” to “reaper,” a reference to the notorious, world-record-breaking Carolina Reaper pepper.

We got an early taste of Addison’s newest chicken joint’s seven different heat levels, which was a good thing because the opening day lineups neared Disneyland queue lengths.

1. There is no spice

A chicken restaurant evaluation isn’t complete without a control test. No amount of herbs and spices will save a chicken that doesn’t taste good on its own. Fortunately, Dave’s is not one of them. The meat is delicious, and the skin is crunchy. Even the most uninteresting palette might tell how much work and effort went into creating it.

2. Mild Lite

Dave’s lowest accessible heat level does not begin with “mild.” Because mild is technically the middle of the road, and food can achieve a heat level between gentle and meh, it’s an OCD pet peeve of mine when restaurants do this.

On top of the salty brine that’s been soaked into the chicken, the mild lite level adds a unique, added depth of deliciousness. At this moment, the spiciness hasn’t even begun. The spice is present, but it isn’t screaming at you like a petulant child.

3. Tolerable

Even for those who believe Tabasco is the highest level of heat humans have devised, the spiciness has begun but is still comfortable and manageable. According to restaurant owner David Futrell, every spice level of chicken is cooked with increasing quantities of Carolina Reaper pepper to enhance the flavor. It’s challenging to make an impressive mild anything, but the intense focus on spice makes it stand out even at the lowest levels.

4. Moderate

It turns out that tasting three tenders that have yet to wreak havoc on my taste senses was merely a diversion. The medium chicken is a significant step up from the mild chicken.

The heat isn’t unbearably uncomfortable, but it does start on the back of your throat. If you’re wise, you’ll wash the spices off your tongue with one of their thick ice cream milkshakes, which are a necessity if you’re on the higher end of the scale. Once the chicken is gone, the spices start to collect on my fingertips, making for some delightful finger-licking.

5. Extremely hot | Dave’s Hot Chicken

The reason for my visit is beginning to become evident. Like a horde of Mongols approaching the Great Wall of China, the spicy wave that started in the back of my throat from the medium chicken is now working its way to the front of my mouth.

There’s a level of complexity here that most spicy food establishments don’t understand or can’t prepare. “Hot” does not have to be so hot that the lower part of your skull becomes numb. Hot chicken, like Dave’s “hot level,” can have a kick without being so overbearing and uncomfortable that you can’t taste anything else or perceive patterns and colors.

6. Extra Spicy

The spiciness has taken up residence in every available space in my mouth. Because of the spice level, the chicken’s juiciness has been a little reduced, but it’s still a pleasant burn. Even if I need another milkshake to clean the canvas before we get to the main event, the brine balances the spice, so it’s still tasty.

7. The Grim Reaper | Dave’s Hot Chicken

The hottest degree of chicken Dave’s has to offer is this. It’s a weird little bastard that buddies will challenge each other to eat. It’s deceptive. It’s like a spice ninja who sneaks up on you and attacks just when you think you’ve got it under control.

Because they’re designed to be a novelty rather than a healthy, fulfilling delicacy, the reaper chicken doesn’t have that overbearing, vinegary stench of carnage that most death wings do. In fact, I thought I’d defeated it after I ate a complete slice, but the subtlety of the spice blend comes back at you in waves that progressively build over time.

It starts at the back of your mouth and makes its way up to the front, draining your sinuses and turning your eyes into waterfalls as it goes. The spice Mongols then burst through the barrier and begin to inflict the familiar, pleasurable pain on your lips.

Even if you believe you have the kind of iron tongue that can withstand it, you’ll always pay the price in the end. This time, the pun was deliberate.

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