Last Updated on March 12, 2022 by Carne Diem
Origin: North American, American
Method: Smoker, FryerJump to Recipe
I am a sucker for some good fried chicken. Unfortunately, really great, knock your socks off, tender, juicy fried chicken perfection can be difficult to obtain at home. A lot of popular fried chicken joints make use of pressure fryers to obtain their perfectly juicy fried chicken. That is why we decided to start making our Smoked Fried Chicken. The chicken is breaded and smoked to juicy perfection. It is then finished with a quick trip into the oil to fry up that perfect, crispy fried chicken skin. We made this batch up on our Yoder pellet smoker, but you can use any smoker for this recipe.
Making the Smoked Fried Chicken
Prepare your seasoning mix
The first step in making your Smoked Fried Chicken is to get your seasoning mix prepared. This chicken it so packed with flavor! Colonel Sanders has got nothing on this chicken! For the seasoning mix you will need rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, onion powder, black pepper, mustard powder, sweet paprika garlic salt, and herbes de Provence. This is the true 11 herbs and spices right here! We use dried herbs here, but fresh is even better. Combine the herbs and spices in a small bowl and stir to combine.
Soak the chicken in buttermilk
Next you will want to marinate your chicken in buttermilk overnight. You can use your preference of chicken cuts, but our preference is legs and thighs as dark meat is always more forgiving and less prone to drying out. That said if you are using a instant read thermometer to prevent your chicken from getting overcooked, there is no reason white meat should not turn out perfectly too. A buttermilk brine helps keep the chicken moist and juicy while smoking and the high acidity in the buttermilk aids in tenderizing the chicken.
Breading the Smoked Fried Chicken
When ready to cook, drain the buttermilk off of the chicken and place the chicken in a large bag or large bowl with a lid. Allow the excess buttermilk to drip off the chicken first, but don't wipe it off.
Add the seasoning mix to the flour and mix well to combine. Next add the seasoned flour to the bag or bowl with the chicken and shake well to combine and coat the chicken pieces.
Remove the chicken to a plate and let rest for about 5-10 minutes while you prepare your smoker.
Smoking the Smoked Fried Chicken
Heat your smoker to 325 degrees. Because we plan on doing a brief fry after smoking we can get away with smoking the chicken at a little lower temperature. For more smoke flavor you can cook at an even lower temp for a longer time. We like the subtle smokiness of cooking at 325. Typically, pieced out chicken is better cooked at a temperature of at least 350 degrees or higher to prevent rubbery skin, but again the frying will fix this issue..
If you are cooking legs you can cook them directly on the grates or hang them with a chicken leg rack. It turns out great either way.
The smoking stage of the chicken cook will typically take about 45 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on your smoker and chicken piece sizes. Ultimately if you are cooking dark meat you want to pull your chicken from the smoker at about 170-180 degrees. If cooking white meat chicken it is best to remove from the smoker at about 155 degrees.
For those that do not want to actually finish off your chicken by frying, you can somewhat mimic fried chicken by giving each piece of chicken a quick spray with a little oil and then finishing the chicken off at about 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until your skin has crisped up.
Finish the Smoked Fried Chicken by pan frying it
To finish your fried chicken we are going to give it a quick fry. Heat a deep fryer to 350 degrees. You can also pan fry the chicken by heating some oil in a deep pan or skillet over medium heat. Typically only about 90 seconds per side is needed to crisp them up.
Once fried, move the chicken to a paper towel lined plate. Allow the Smoked Fried Chicken to set for a couple minutes before serving.
Serve warm with mashed potatoes and gravy, Jalapeno Black Eyed Peas with Smoked Pork Jowl, and a glass of Southern Comfort Blackberry Bramble Style Arnold Palmer.
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Smoked Fried Chicken
- Skillet or deep fryer
- 8 Assorted Pieces of Chicken
- ½ Pint Buttermilk
- 1 Cup Flour
- 2 Tab Paprika
- 1 Tab Black Pepper
- 1 Tab Garlic Salt
- 1 Tab Herb de Provence
- 2 tea Salt
- 2 tea Onion Powder
- 1 tea Mustard Powder
- ½ tea Rosemary
- ½ tea Thyme
- ½ tea Basil
- ½ tea Oregano
- Soak the chicken pieces on buttermilk overnight.
- Combine the flour with the spices and herbs and mix to combine.
- When ready to cook, drain the buttermilk off of the chicken and place the chicken in a large bag or large bowl with a lid.
- Add the seasoning to the bag or bowl with the chicken and shake well to combine and coat the chicken pieces.
- Heat your smoker to 325 degrees. Once heated smoke the chicken until the pieces reach an internal temperature of between 155 and 175 degrees. This typically takes about 45 minutes but may vary based on the size of your chicken.
- Heat a deep fryer to 350 degrees or heat some oil in a deep pan or skillet over medium heat. Fry the chicken pieces for about 90 seconds per side to crisp them up.
- Serve warm.