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Smoky Fried Chicken

Treat your posse to Traeger Southern fried chicken. Smoke that clucking chicken to wrangle it with flavor, then pull out the deep-fryer and go to town. Have your friends bring the waffles and watermelon, and feast on chicken and waffles all day long.

  • Difficulty2/5
  • Prep time15 mins
  • Cook time3 hrs
  • Serves6
  • Recommended HardwoodMesquite


Whole fryer Chickens2 (3-3 1/2 lbs.)
Vegetable Oilas needed
Coarse Salt (kosher or sea)as needed
Black Pepper, freshly groundas needed
Fresh Buttermilk1 qt.
Frank's RedHot or Crystal Hot Sauce2 Tbsp.
Brown Sugar1 Tbsp.
All-purpose Flour2 1/2 cups.
Garlic Powder2 Tbsp.
Onion Powder2 Tbsp.
Traeger Pork & Poultry Shake1 Tbsp.
Peanut or Grapeseed Oilfor frying


When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 200F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Rinse the chickens, inside and out, under cold running water. Pat dry. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub the outside of the birds with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper.

Arrange the chickens directly on the grill grate and smoke for 2-1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of a thigh reads 150F on an instant-read meat thermometer.

Transfer the smoked chickens to a clean baking sheet and let cool. Cut the chickens into 20 pieces - 4 drumsticks, 4 thighs, 4 wings, and 8 breast quarters (remove the 4 breast halves, then cut each in half). Divide the chicken between two sturdy resealable plastic bags.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the hot sauce and brown sugar until the sugar crystals dissolve. Pour half into each bag of chicken. Seal, then refrigerate for 1 hour.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, and 2 tablespoons each of kosher salt (use only 1 tablespoon if substituting table salt) and Black Pepper, freshly ground. Set aside.

On the stovetop, heat 2 inches of peanut or grapeseed oil (a true fried chicken connoisseur would use melted lard!) over medium-high heat to 375F in a Dutch oven, deep cast iron skillet, or heavy saucepan.

Drain the chicken pieces. Dredge a few at a time in the flour mixture. Fry the chicken in batches (do not crowd the pan), turning as needed with tongs, until it is golden brown - about 6 minutes for the breast pieces and 8 minutes for the thighs, wings, and drumsticks. Drain on paper towels before serving.

  • Difficulty2/5
  • Prep time15 mins
  • Cook time3 hrs
  • Serves6
  • Recommended HardwoodMesquite

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