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"Moonchild" Smoked Fried Chicken {Recipe}

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Smoked Fried Chicken is actually a thing, and it’s a good thing. This is fried chicken elevated for Sunday dinner!

Boneless chicken thighs are brined in a buttermilk, jalapeños, and fresh herb mixture which adds a slight bit of heat to the interior as well as makes sure you get that moist tender center.

The smoke adds another layer of flavor inside and out that really makes this chicken fun.

After brining and smoking the chicken is fried to a crunchy AF crisp and then seasoned some more for a nice finishing touch.

fried chicken thighs on white plate

Mood Music

Sometimes with a recipe, you decide to shoot for the moon and make something unique and special. Well this smoked fried chicken is my moon child. It’s got layers of flavor and the texture is on point! This chicken is as lovely as the chick Rick James sang about.

Smoked Fried Chicken Ingredients

  • Boneless Chicken Thighs
  • Buttermilk
  • Jalapeños
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika
  • Ground Sage
  • Flour
  • Corn Starch
  • Egg

How To Smoke and Fry Chicken

Brine The Chicken

Make the buttermilk brine by adding the buttermilk, chopped jalapenos, and fresh herbs. Add chicken thighs to a large ziplock bag and add the brine. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight.

Remove from the refrigerate, rinse away the brine, and set the chicken on a wire rack lined baking sheet pan.

Smoke The Chicken

Pre-heat smoker for indirect cooking at no more than 225 degrees F. 

Add all the spices together in a mixing bowl and mix well. Season the chicken with a quarter of the spice mix.

Smoke the seasoned chicken 30-45 minutes at low heat. Remove and set aside.

Fry The Chicken

Heat the fryer to 350 degrees F.

While the oil heats up mix together the egg and remaining buttermilk. Similarly prepare the dredge by mixing the flour, corn starch, and another ¼ of the spice mix.

Dip the smoked chicken into the egg wash mixture and then dredge making sure the chicken is fully covered.

Fry the chicken thighs for five minutes roughly and set on the prepared cooling rack. With the remaining spice mix, add a ½ cup of the hot and just used frying oil. Mix well and then serve the chicken topped with some of the spicy oil.

fried chicken thighs on white plate

Smoked Fried Chicken Cooking Considerations and Tips

Definitely use chicken thighs over other pieces like breasts, as dark meat is much more forgiving and not as easy to dry out.

Keep the smoking temps low. You’re not trying to cook the chicken fully, you just want to infuse enough of the smoke flavor. The longer you cook the more smoke flavor. Too high a temps will cook the chicken too fast and also put you at risk of overcooking.

For extra level of crispiness add a tablespoon of vodka to your brine.

For your dredge add a few spoonfuls of the brine and mix in well.

Pair the fried chicken with Belgian style fries, collards slaw, turnip greens, and fried okra. For a more detailed list of sides to pair with fried chicken try this collection of sides.

Top with a spicy slaw/relish like this Haitian Pikliz Hot Sauce

Other Fried Chicken Recipes

Jerk Fried Chicken

Indian Spiced Fried Chicken Thighs

Buttermilk-Chipotle Fried Wings

Naked Fried Chicken

Chicken Karaage

Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs

Smoked Chicken Thighs

making this recipe

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fried chicken thighs on white plate

Smoked Fried Chicken

Spicy and super crispy smoked fried chicken that was buttermilk brined, then slow smoked before frying to perfect crispiness.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: southern
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 447kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

  • 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

For the brine

  • 2 cups Buttermilk
  • 2 small Jalapeños roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper

For the Seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ tablespoon Paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Sage

For the Dredge

  • 1 cup Flour
  • ½ cup Corn Starch

For the egg wash

  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Instructions

Brine The Chicken

  • Make the buttermilk brine by adding the buttermilk, chopped jalapenos, and fresh herbs. Add chicken thighs to a large ziplock bag and add the brine. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight.
  • Remove from the refrigerate, rinse away the brine, and set the chicken on a wire rack lined baking sheet pan.

Smoke The Chicken

  • Pre-heat smoker for indirect cooking at no more than 225 degrees F.
  • Add all the spices together in a mixing bowl and mix well. Season the chicken with a quarter of the spice mix.
  • Smoke the seasoned chicken 30-45 minutes at low heat. Remove and set aside.

Fry The Chicken

  • Heat the fryer to 350 degrees F.
  • While the oil heats up mix together the egg and remaining buttermilk. Similarly prepare the dredge by mixing the flour, corn starch, and another ¼ of the spice mix.
  • Dip the smoked chicken into the egg wash mixture and then dredge making sure the chicken is fully covered.
  • Fry the chicken thighs for five minutes roughly and set on the prepared cooling rack. With the remaining spice mix, add a ½ cup of the hot and just used frying oil. Mix well and then serve the chicken topped with some of the spicy oil.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Definitely use chicken thighs over other pieces like breasts, as dark meat is much more forgiving and not as easy to dry out.
Keep the smoking temps low. You’re not trying to cook the chicken fully, you just want to infuse enough of the smoke flavor. The longer you cook the more smoke flavor. Too high a temps will cook the chicken too fast and also put you at risk of overcooking.
For extra level of crispiness add a tablespoon of vodka to your brine.
For your dredge add a few spoonfuls of the brine and mix in well.
Pair the fried chicken with Belgian style fries, collards slaw, and fried okra.

Nutrition

Calories: 447kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 168mg | Sodium: 1472mg | Potassium: 640mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1036IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 240mg | Iron: 3mg
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