Smoked Fried Chicken: A Quick and Tasty Recipe

September 4, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

Smoked chicken and fried chicken are two delicious ways to enjoy chicken. Now imagine combining these two recipes. The outcome is delicious, as you would expect. The smoke flavor from the grill and crispiness from the fryer produce chicken that will leave you salivating.

This recipe follows a few easy steps: First, you marinate the chicken in buttermilk, coat it with flour and seasoning mix, and then place it on a grill to smoke. The chicken is then fried to give it the perfect crispy crunch.

I learned this recipe from my grandmother years ago, and I have used it ever since. This recipe is a showstopper at cookouts and dinners, and my guests never seem to get enough. Continue reading to find out how to make smoked fried chicken yourself! By the end of this article, you’ll become an expert at making this delicious delicacy.

smoked fried chicken

How to Make Smoked Fried Chicken?


  • 6 pieces of chicken
  • 1 cup of flour
  • ½ cup of buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon of rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon of thyme
  • ½ teaspoon of basil
  • ½ teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons of smoked paprika
Raw Chicken Drumsticks with Herbs and Leaves


Step 1: Marinate the Chicken in Buttermilk

The first step is to marinate the chicken in buttermilk for an entire night. Pour the buttermilk into a sealable bag, add the pieces of chicken, and shake before placing it in the fridge. You can use any chicken cut of your choice, but I prefer the thighs because dark meat is less likely to dry out.

That said, you can also use white meat, such as chicken breasts, and cook it to perfection; you just need to be more watchful and have a meat thermometer nearby to prevent overcooking. The high acidity of the buttermilk marinade helps tenderize the meat, making it moist and juicy.

Step 2: Mix the Seasoning

Getting your spice mix ready is the first step in making smoked fried chicken. You’ll need smoked paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, mustard powder, thyme, rosemary, basil, and oregano for the dry rub mix. Pour these seasoning condiments into a small mixing bowl and mix until consistent.

Step 3: Bread the Chicken

When it’s time to cook, remove the chicken from the buttermilk and put it on a wire rack so the excess buttermilk drips off the chicken before putting it in the container.

Next, add flour to a large bowl, pour in the seasoning mix, and stir thoroughly. Once the flour and spices are properly incorporated, pour them into the bowl of chicken you set aside. Now, use your hand to mix the chicken and the flour until it is properly coated.

If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, pour the seasoning mixture into a sealable bag, add the chicken pieces, and shake thoroughly. The flour mix should stick to the chicken pieces. After coating the chicken with flour, remove it from the mixing bowl or bag and place it on a plate.

Step 4: Smoke the Chicken

Now it’s time to smoke the chicken. Preheat the smoker to 325 degrees. I prefer cooking at 325 degrees because of the mild smokiness. But, you can always cook at a lower temperature for a longer period of time to add more smoke flavor.

You have two options when cooking legs: you can hang them from a chicken leg rack or place the chicken directly on the grates. Both techniques produce excellent results. Smoking your chicken will typically take about an hour and a half at 325 degrees, depending on the smoker and the size of the chicken pieces.

If you’re cooking dark chicken meat, remove the chicken from the smoker once it reaches a temperature of around 150 degrees. On the other hand, if you’re cooking white meat, it is best to take it out of the smoker at around 145 degrees.

Step 5: Fry the Chicken

Now, we’re going to fry the smoked chicken to make it even more crispy. Preheat your deep fryer to 350 degrees. Alternatively, you can fry the chicken in a large skillet or deep pan over medium heat.

Now, fry the chicken for 90 seconds on both sides or until the chicken’s internal temperature is at 165 degrees. The chicken should be deliciously crispy by now. After deep frying, transfer the chicken to a plate covered with paper towels. The paper towels will absorb the excess oil from the pan frying. Allow the chicken to rest and cool slightly for 10 minutes before serving. You can enjoy your smoked fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, fries and dipping sauce, and many more delicious sides.

Fried Chicken with Chopped Celery and Lemon Slices

Tips for Making Smoked Fried Chicken

Here are a few extra tips to help you get the tastiest fried chicken every time:

  • If you want to truly taste the smokiness in your fried chicken, use a smoky hardwood-like hickory. Using intense hardwoods will guarantee the smoke properly permeates the chicken. This is especially important because the frying process tends to reduce the smokiness. You may not get the smokiness you’re looking for using mild woods like peach wood. So, add the hardwood to your grill before you start smoking.
  • Make sure the oil is hot enough before you fry the smoked chicken. Your fried chicken won’t be crispy if the oil isn’t hot enough. Moreover, the meat will be soggy if you don’t fry it in hot oil.
  • If you don’t want to deep-fry or pan-fry the chicken, you can use an air fryer to get similar results. First, preheat the fryer to 400 degrees and fry for 10 minutes, then check the internal temperature. Serve the fried chicken if it’s done. If it is fully cooked, fry it a bit longer until it reaches the recommended temperature.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk brine, you can mix three-quarters of a cup of whole milk with one-quarter cup of plain yogurt as a substitute. The yogurt adds acidity to the milk, breaking down the meat’s muscles for a tender cut.

How to Tell if Smoked Fried Chicken is Done?

To find out if your fried chicken is done, I advise using a reliable quick-read thermometer to gauge the temperature. Simply stick the thermometer probe in the thickest part of the fried chicken and take the reading. I recommend cooking dark meat cuts such as chicken thighs higher than the USDA-recommended 165-degree internal temperature. In my experience, you can cook dark meat up to 180 degrees and it would turn out tender and delicious.

In my experience, the higher temperature produces a better texture and smoky flavor. White meat, on the other hand, comes out perfect when fried to exactly 165 degrees. You can also check the doneness level by inspecting the color and texture of the chicken. However, this technique is less reliable than using a meat thermometer.

How to Reheat Fried Chicken?

The easiest way to reheat smoked fried chicken is in the oven. Avoid using the microwave to avoid a soggy and soft crust. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, coat the chicken with dry rub (containing one teaspoon of salt, smoked paprika, black pepper, garlic, and onion powder) and olive oil and bake it for about 15 minutes. The chicken should be hot enough to enjoy.

How to Store Leftover Smoked Fried Chicken?

You can refrigerate your leftover smoked fried chicken for three to four days in the refrigerator and up to four months in the freezer. To store the fried chicken, place it in an airtight bag or container and place it in the fridge or freezer. Remember to let the chicken leftovers cool slightly before storing them in the fridge or freezer.

Barbecued Chicken Wings on the Wooden Tray

What is White Meat?

White meat comes from the wings and breast region of the chicken. This cut is characterized by its pale color and supple texture. The reason for the color and texture of these cuts is that they are not exercised as much as other areas. Moreover, there is rarely an increase in oxygen flow, hence the lower levels of myoglobin and pale color.

What is Dark Meat?

Dark meat comes from the leg region of the chicken, including the thigh and drumstick. These cuts of meat often have the highest concentrations of myoglobin because chickens use this region frequently. This causes more blood flow in that area, giving the meat a redder color. Compared to white meat, dark chicken meat is typically juicier and more delicious.


Cooking my unique smoked fried chicken recipe is as simple as that! You can prepare this delicious recipe as a main course cuisine for your friends and family in no time! My fried chicken recipe is also adaptable, so feel free to use different spices to get a unique taste that will please your taste buds. So, what are you waiting for? Get your ingredients ready and start smoking!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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