fbpx

Smoke Fried Chicken Recipe

smoke fried chicken ready to serve

This post is sponsored by Cutting Edge Firewood. Sponsored posts, along with affiliate links, are what enable bloggers like me to maintain and operate sites that are free to the public. That said, I only work with products and brands that I personally use and would feel proud to give as a gift.

Growing up in a family whose culinary influence was deeply rooted in the South, fried chicken was a staple at the dinner table. My mom and grandmother could throw down with the Colonel any day of the week, and fried chicken night was always a favorite. As a side note, there was always mashed potatoes and what my grandmother called “milk gravy” to go along with it, and that gravy was primo!

I digress… as I got older and discovered smoking meat I focused on that traditional BBQ flavor profile for a long time before it hit me. Why not combine smoked chicken and fried chicken? That’s when this recipe for smoke fried chicken was born. To be fair, people have been “frying” chicken on the grill for a long time, but adding an element of smoke to the process really takes this fried chicken up a notch.

 Jump to Recipe | Print Recipe

Despite the long ingredient list, this smoke fried chicken recipe is relatively simple. Chances are, you have most of the spices already in your pantry. Unlike many of my recipes where I encourage readers to make it their own, I recommend you follow this recipe exactly. I played around with different spice mixtures for a long time before getting this one perfect, for me at least.

Smoke fried chicken on a platter

How To Make Fried Chicken on the Grill

Traditionally, fried chicken is fried in hot oil, which not only makes a huge mess, but also leaves behind a decent amount of used dirty oil to discard. Add to that, deep frying might not be the healthiest option if that’s a concern.

We’re going to recreate that golden brown crispy chicken on the grill by using a higher cooking temperature and a flour-based coating that crisps up really well in the dry heat. Turning the chicken while it’s cooking is important to get an even crispiness so don’t be tempted to just close the grill’s lid and be done with it.

How To Reheat Fried Chicken

In the event you have leftovers of this smoke fried chicken, it’s best to reheat it in the oven. Don’t use the microwave or you’ll end up with a soft and mushy crust. Preheat your oven to 350° F, spray the chicken with just a light coat of cooking spray, and put it in the oven for about 15 minutes. Simple right?

How Do You Know When Grilled Chicken Is Done?

As always, I recommend the use of a reliable quick-read thermometer. I prefer dark meat chicken personally but you can also use chicken breast if you prefer. You’ll notice I recommend cooking the dark meat chicken to a higher temperature than USDA recommends, I find that it just makes for a better chicken taste and texture.

smoke fried chicken legs and thighs with flavorful coating

Tips For Making Smoke Fried Chicken

The Smoke: Along with the seasoning mix, the smoke is the most important element here. You’ve likely heard of the saying “garbage in garbage out” and that stands true for the quality of the smoke. I can’t stress enough the importance of starting with quality wood chunks like these hickory chunks from Cutting Edge Firewood. The clean smoke and flavor they produce is second to none. Starting with a subpar wood chunk just makes for an acrid taste.

The Flip: Be sure you are flipping the chicken at the intervals outlined in the recipe. Not flipping the chicken will put you at risk of having a sort of soggy side to the pieces so turn them regularly.

The Temp: Try cooking dark meat chicken to 185° F. I know the USDA says dark meat is safe at 165° F, but they also say pork is safe at 145° F (if you cooked pork ribs to that temperature and tried to eat them it would be like eating a baseball glove).

Smoke Fried Chicken Recipe

Serves 6-8 | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

Chicken:
5 lbs chicken thighs and drumsticks, bone-in and skin on
1 ½ cups buttermilk
1 tbsp kosher salt
Cooking spray
Parsley for garnish
3 tbsp honey, optional

Wash:
3 extra large eggs
½ cup buttermilk

Seasoning:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour
⅓ cup corn starch
4 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp white pepper
1 tbsp mustard powder
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp celery salt
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp oregano
¼ tsp sumac

colorful plate of spices used for smoke fried chicken

How To Make Smoke Fried Chicken

Step 1: Place your chicken in a sealable plastic bag and add buttermilk and salt. Allow to marinate for at least 2 hours; overnight is preferable.

chicken in marinade

Step 2: Light your grill and set it up for two-zone cooking, establishing your grill’s temperature at 400°F.

Step 3: While your grill is preheating, whisk the wash ingredients together in a mixing bowl. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together all of the seasoning ingredients. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk brine and allow any excess buttermilk to drip off.

Step 4: One piece at a time, place the chicken in the seasoning mix to coat it, then transfer to the wash to coat evenly, then back to the seasoning for a second coat. Next, place the chicken on a wire rack, leaving at least one inch of space between pieces (below, left). Allow the chicken to sit for about 20 minutes, until the moisture from the wash has soaked into the seasoning (below, right).

TIP: Allowing the wash to soak into the seasoning helps it stick to the chicken during the cooking process.

Step 5: Add one chunk of hickory wood to the hot coals and place the chicken on the grill over indirect heat. Close the lid and allow to cook for 15 minutes. Open the lid, spray the chicken with a light coating of cooking spray and turn chicken over. Close the lid and allow the chicken to cook for another 15 minutes.

coated chicken on a grill rack

Step 6: Open the grill and spray with another light coat of cooking spray. Turn the chicken. Close the lid and allow the chicken to cook for 10 minutes. 

Step 7: Repeat step 6, and after a total of 50 minutes, your chicken should be at an internal temperature of about 180°F–185°F.   

Step 8: Plate chicken and dress with parsley and an optional drizzle of honey.

platter of smoke fried chicken sprinkled with parsley

smoke fried chicken ready to serve

Smoke Fried Chicken Recipe

4.87 from 15 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Southern

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 5 lbs chicken thighs and drumsticks bone-in and skin on
  • cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • cooking spray
  • parsely for garnish
  • 3 tbsp honey optional

Wash

  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup buttermilk

Seasoning

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • cup corn startch
  • 4 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp celery salt
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp sumac

Instructions

  • Place your chicken in a sealable plastic bag and add buttermilk and salt. Allow to marinate for at least 2 hours; overnight is preferable.
  • Light your grill and set it up for two-zone cooking, establishing your grill’s temperature at 400°F.
  • While your grill is preheating, whisk the wash ingredients together in a mixing bowl. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together all of the seasoning ingredients. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk brine and allow any excess buttermilk to drip off.
  • One piece at a time, place the chicken in the seasoning mix to coat it, then transfer to the wash to coat evenly, then back to the seasoning for a second coat. Next, place the chicken on a wire rack, leaving at least one inch of space between pieces. Allow the chicken to sit for about 20 minutes, until the moisture from the wash has soaked into the seasoning.
  • Add one chunk of hickory wood to the hot coals and place the chicken on the grill over indirect heat. Close the lid and allow to cook for 15 minutes. Open the lid, spray the chicken with a light coating of cooking spray and turn chicken over. Close the lid and allow the chicken to cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Open the grill and spray with another light coat of cooking spray. Turn the chicken. Close the lid and allow the chicken to cook for 10 minutes. 
  • Repeat step 6, and after a total of 50 minutes, your chicken should be at an internal temperature of about 180°F–185°F.  
  • Plate chicken and dress with parsley and an optional drizzle of honey.

Tried This Recipe?

Share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #unitedbyflame and let us know how it was!

Scroll to Top