This Smoky Chipotle Fried Chicken is seriously the best recipe I’ve ever tried. Brining chicken makes it super tender juicy and perfectly seasoned throughout.
I have had this idea for a while now and was inspired to push it up in my “recipes to complete” list. That happened after having enjoyed some succulent, juicy brined poultry last week in our Lemon and Rosemary Brined Roast Turkey.
Brining poultry is something you just must try if you never have; it adds great seasoning and extra juiciness throughout the meat, making it tender and perfect.
While it works well for roasting, I think it works even better for fried chicken. I have never brined chicken parts for more than a full day but when I unexpectedly had to leave it for a second day I was flabbergasted by the result.
I had been wanting to try a very simple smoky spiced fried chicken for a while now, using two of my favorite smoked spices, smoked paprika and chipotle powder, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity.
I don’t say this lightly at all…this was the best fried chicken that I have ever eaten.
It was amazingly moist and juicy. The meat was completely seasoned throughout from the brine and using a tip I saw on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”, I added some butter to my canola oil to fry the crust to an amazingly perfect crispy texture with just the right amount of smoky spice.
Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. I absolutely know I will make this again and again. This is one recipe you absolutely have to try!
We served this outstanding fried chicken with grilled corn, mashed potatoes, buttermilk biscuits and gravy. Does it get any better than that?
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If you’d like to try oven baking this chicken instead of frying, follow the instructions in our Best Oven Fried Chicken recipe here.
- one large chicken about 3 1/2 to 4 pounds
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1/2 cup butter for frying
- 2 quarts liters of water
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 3 tbsp black peppercorns
- 8 cloves thinly sliced garlic
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup Tabasco sauce add more if you like
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 heaping tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 heaping tbsp chipotle powder
Prepare the brine by adding the water, kosher salt, brown sugar and honey to a large plastic or glass bowl. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved then add the peppercorns, garlic, onion and Tabasco Sauce.
Drop the chicken pieces into the brining liquid , cover and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours. If you need to add a little more water to completely cover the chicken, that's not a problem.
After 24 - 48 hours, remove the chicken from the brine mixture. Pat dry with paper towels.
To make the flour and spice dredge simply toss the flour, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and chipotle powder together until completely blended.
Add the brined chicken pieces to the flour dredge. Toss well and press the chicken pieces into the flour dredge with your palms to get good contact with the meat.
Let stand for ten minutes, then toss again and press down with your palms again. This ensures a good crust on the chicken.
Now it's time to warm up your oil and butter. In a 12 inch cast iron skillet heat 1 inch canola or corn oil with 1/2 cup real dairy butter until it reaches 35O degrees F. Just below medium heat works well on my stove but use a thermometer to be sure. A cast iron skillet is the best for fried chicken. Be extra careful to regulate the heat properly of using anything other than cast iron. Even cooking is essential.
Drop the dredged chicken pieces into the hot oil/butter mix and cook for approximately 35- 40 minutes depending on the size of your chicken pieces, turning at least once halfway through the cooking time. I start with the dark meat pieces and add the breasts about 10-15 minutes into the cooking time because these will cook faster. I always use my meat thermometer to ensure that the largest pieces have reached an internal temperature of 175 degrees F, which is perfect for fried chicken. The chicken should be a beautiful golden brown when it comes out of the oil. Let it rest on a wire rack to drain for 10 minutes before serving.
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