Honey Dipped Smoked Fried Chicken

This dish is a  brilliant juxtaposition of rustic Southern flavors  inspired by my Grand and is very similar to a dish she prepared for clients and for her family on special occasions and during the holidays. What you get  in this two method cooked chicken, is a delightful version of fried chicken that is smokey and is served with the taste of the  salty-sweet honey butter condiment that can be spread all over this crispy  creation.

Before starting out in preparing this fantastical dish, there are a few things that should be noted:

1) In order to execute this dish you will need a cast-iron skillet. Another heavy bottom pan  such as Dutch oven will work, but cast-iron is by far the best for retaining heat and getting the crust right. In a Southern kitchen, the cast iron skillet is a home cook’s best friend. and everyone should own a cast-iron skillet!

2) There will be no deep frying or oil involved. This recipe uses solid vegetable shortening, like Crisco. In the past, traditional Southern cooks used lard rendered from hogs.

3) This is a labor intensive preparation. You will  have to start this  dish at least  two days before you intend to serve it. To get the best results the chicken will be required to brine in buttermilk, overnight. You will also need a smoker and wood chips.

Serves 4

For the Brine:
3 cups Buttermilk
3 Tablespoons of hot sauce, to taste
2 Tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 Tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper
2 Tablespoons paprika

For the Chicken:
1 Whole Chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
Chicken Brine to cover

To Smoke the Chicken:
Wood Chips
Aluminum Pans
Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil

For the Chicken Dredge Coating:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 teaspoons coarse Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
To Batter and Fry the Chicken:
8 Pieces of Brined Chicken
Chicken Dredge Coating
1 quart Buttermilk
Vegetable Shortening (Crisco)
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika

For the Honey Butter:
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 Tablespoons Honey
1/2 to 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

For Honey Butter: Let the Butter come to room temperature. Combine Butter, Honey, and Salt and whip in a mixer with the whisk attachment until the Butter is well mixed and aerated – about two minutes on medium speed.Taste the Butter, adjust the Salt and Honey to your own preferences. Store Butter in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.

For the Buttermilk Brine: Combine above ingredients in a large ziploc plastic bag. Place the chicken pieces in brine and place in a large bowl and set in the refigerator, overnight for best results. The next day,remove the chicken from brine and dry excess moisture with a paper towels.

Prepare the smoker:
To start, there are two main ways to smoke at home: a) using either a charcoal grill, or b) an electric or conventional oven. For this recipe the oven method was used:
The first step to smoking meat in an oven is really wet soaked wood chips. Submerge your hickory, mesquite, or whatever flavor chips in water for a few hours. Once soaked, drain your wood chips through a colander, reserving some of the chip water in a container.

Adjust the lower oven rack so that it is one notch below the middle notch and closer to the bottom of the oven. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using aluminum pan, place the soaked wood chips at the bottom of the pan, making sure some of the water creates a film at the bottom along with the chips. Be careful to only line the bottom of the pan and not stack the chips in layers as it will produce too much smoke. The right amount of wet wood chips will ensure there is an appropriate amount of smoke.

Over the wood chips place a raised metal baking rack. Make sure there is enough space between the chips and bottom of the rack for the smoke to flow freely.

Remove your chicken from the buttermilk and drain in a colander or on a rack for 10 minutes or so. Place the chicken onto the baking rack. The chicken should be placed directly over the wood chips. Make a nice tent of aluminum foil that seals the roasting pan on all sides and has room in the top for the smoke to circulate. The more tightly the foil is sealed, the more the wood flavor will penetrate the chicken.

Place the aluminum pan in the oven.Smoke for 20-25 minutes. You DO NOT want to smoke the chicken much longer than that, or the smoke flavor can become overpowering. Keep an eye on your temperature to make sure you do not actually cook the meat.During the smoking process, the water may become absorbed, drying out your chips and conversely your meat. Pour some of your reserved chip water in, re-wetting the chips and re-creating the film of water at the bottom.

Remove the chicken from the smoker. The buttermilk coating should pick up some brown coloring from the smoke. Place back into the buttermilk for 10 more minutes. Remove and drain again.While the chicken drains, heat the shortening to 350 degrees.

Dredging and Frying the Chicken:
Mix together the paprika, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. Season the chicken liberally with salt and black pepper and set aside.

To batter the chicken, divide the Chicken Dredge into two deep containers. Pour the buttermilk into a third container.

Batter each piece of chicken one at a time. Dip a piece of chicken into the first flour container and coat lightly with Chicken Dredge. Then submerge the chicken in buttermilk. Lift the chicken out of the buttermilk, and let the excess  drip slightly, and place into second Chicken Dredge container and coat chicken again. Be careful to ensure that the chicken is evenly and fully coated, but do not let the coating become too thick. Place the battered Chicken onto a rack and proceed with battering the remaining chicken. Allow the chicken to rest for 2 to 5 minutes before placing in the skillet or  a Dutch oven. This gives the flour a chance to set properly.
Heat the shortening in a cast iron skillet or a Dutch oven. Once the shortening reaches 350 degrees.

If your skillet or Dutch oven is small, fry the chicken in batches. NOTE: If you place too much chicken into the liquid shortening, the temperature will drop too much and the chicken will become greasy.

Turn the oven to 250° F.  Place a wire baking rack over a parchment paper lined  sheet pan.

Gently add the chicken into the hot shortening  – the temperature will drop. Carefully adjust the heat to keep the shortening at a constant 315-320°F. Fry the chicken until each piece reads at least 165°F at its thickest point. The drumsticks will take approximately 11-13 minutes. The breasts and thighs will fry for approximately 10 minutes. When the chicken is cooked, and golden brown, remove carefully from the shortening and place on a wire rack over a  sheet  pan.

When the first batch of chicken is browned, transfer the pieces to the  wire rack and dust the top side of the just fried chicken with a sprinkle of salt and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. Let rest for one minute, flip the chicken and dust the other side with salt and smoked paprika.Place the rack in the oven to allow the chickent to finish cooking and stay warm while you fry the remaining pieces.

Repeat with the process with the  rest of the chicken, allowing the last batch to rest for 10 minutes in the oven before serving.

Serve the chicken at room temperature with the Honey Butter on the side, to spread onto the hot fried chicken.

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Harlem-Approved Fried Chicken

red-rooster-03Ripping fried chicken and dipping it in a really great hot sauce makes me think, okay, I’m home.”

What’s in your refrigerator at any given time says a lot about you. In this series,GQ reached out to famous chefs with a deceptively simple, if revealing, question: What do you cook when you’re by yourself and no one’s watching?

Before he was everyone’s favorite judge on Chopped, Marcus Samuelsson was already knocking out the hits. While other 23-year-olds were still finding their footing in the world, the Ethiopian-born, self-professed sneakerhead was already the executive chef at Aquavit, complete with a three-star rating from the New York Times. He has since won two James Beard Foundation awards, written two books, and has 10 restaurants under his watch, including: three in Sweden (where he was raised), plus Harlem’s Streetbird and Red Rooster. His fans include names like the Obamas and the Clintons; Bill was rumored to be dining at Red Rooster the day we photographed him.

Samuelsson chalks up his success to the way he approaches hospitality. “Very often my home cooking could be the beginning of a dish we end up having in the restaurant,” he says. Samuelsson describes his home kitchen as “low tech, but high fun” and interactive—ideal for his style of entertaining. “My wife is Ethiopian and she might make a traditional dish at home and it could lead to something we end up offering on our brunch menu. It starts as a simple idea that I make a little bit different.”

And one dish he experiments with at both work and home? Fried chicken.


Marcus Samuelsson: “My comfort food has evolved over time. Growing up was it was meatballs and mashed potatoes. That was my Swedish youth. But now I live in Harlem and cooking fried chicken is a big part of our menu so I feel at home with it. Our restaurants look like a home in many ways; that’s why I don’t see a distinction between how I cook at home and the restaurant. I want the vibe to be like a living room. It’s all about comfort and making people feel at home. I want my restaurant to feel inclusive. I want to cook delicious food and I want it to feel like an extension of my living room.

“Our restaurants look like a home in many ways; that’s why I don’t see a distinction between how I cook at home and the restaurant. I want the vibe to be like a living room.”

“Ripping fried chicken and dipping it in a really great hot sauce makes me think, okay, I’m home. When you add pickles and vinegar to that crackling meat it really mixes well with the flavors of the chicken. A vinegar based hot sauce with some roasted chiles is never a bad idea. Bone in chicken, dark meat—depending on the vibe I will have mashed potatoes or mashed peas.

“Whether it’s a night with my wife or if we have friends over, I will start with some roasted barley and peanuts, some Ethiopian honey wine that my family makes, and get you ready for the fried chicken. It’s a good night at home.”



¼ head red cabbage
¼ head Napa cabbage
2 thin carrots, peeled
1 red onion, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
Segments and juice of 1 grapefruit
Segments and juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon cottage cheese
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon raisins
Chile powder
Celery salt
Kosher salt

2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 cups water
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
16 fresh sage leaves, torn
2 cups buttermilk
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup semolina flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Peanut oil, for frying
1 garlic bulb
Lemon wedges, for garnish

1. Preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Brush the cabbages, carrots, and onion with the olive oil and then grill, turning a few times for even cooking. You’re looking to soften the vegetables and to get some good grill marks. The Napa cabbage should take about 5 minutes; the rest, about 10 minutes. (You can also do this indoors on a grill pan.)

2. When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, shred the cabbages and chop the carrots and onion.

3. Mix the grapefruit segments and juice, orange segments and juice, lemon juice, cottage cheese, mayonnaise, and raisins in a large bowl. Add the cabbage, carrots, and onion and toss. Season to taste with chile powder, celery salt, and salt. Cover and refrigerate.

4. Dissolve the salt in the water in a large bowl. Add the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1½ hours.

5. Remove the chicken from the brine, carefully separate the skin from the flesh, and place the torn sage leaves underneath the skin. Pat the skin back down.

6. Discard the brine and, in the same bowl, combine the buttermilk, Tabasco, black pepper, chile powder, and ½ teaspoon of the celery salt. Add the chicken, making sure it’s covered with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, or as long as overnight.

7. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before you’re ready to fry. In a shallow bowl, whisk the flours, cornstarch, and remaining ½ teaspoon celery salt.

8. Fill an 8-quart pot half full with peanut oil and heat it to 340°F. Slice off and discard the top quarter of the garlic bulb; put the large piece in the hot oil. When the garlic is a rich golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes, remove it and drain it on a rack.

9. Wipe the excess marinade off the chicken and roll in the flour mixture; shake off the excess. Fry the chicken for 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Transfer to a rack set over a baking sheet and let it rest for 15 minutes.

10. Heat the oil to 360°F and fry the chicken again, until the crust is a deep golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

11. Serve the chicken with lemon wedges and rainbow slaw and the garlic.

“Double the recipe if you’re serving a crowd or if you want leftovers. There’s nothing better than leftover fried chicken. Eat it cold, turn it into a salad, or make Chicken and Gravy.”

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

Frango com Quiabo (Chicken with Okra Stew)

Seems like Brazil had been on my mind  as of late, and I am obsessed with Brazilian cuisine, for the moment.

Minas Gerais, which can be translated into English to mean General Mines, is a Brazilian state hemmed in by the surrounding states of Sao Paula, Rio de Janeria, Gioas, Bahia and Espirito Santa. Minas Gerais was formed mainly by colonists who searched for veins of gold that was  discovered  in 1693. The state owes its name to what was once thought to be an inexhaustible resource for gold, iron ore, magnesium nickle, diamonds, emeralds, quartz, and semiprecious stones 250px-Brazil_State_MinasGerais.svgtoo numerous to list. These abundant riches came from the naturally occurring itacolumite rock that can be found in great numbers in the region and  were most likely the result of a meteor striking  this areas millions of year ago.

The mineral rich center  is Ouro Preto, once the seat of Minas Gerais government. The  current state’s capital and largest city is Belo Horizonte, and is a major urban and finance center in Latin America, and is the  sixth largest municipality in Brazil, after the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Brasilia and Fortaleza.

Minas Gerais is also known nationally  throughout Brazil for its rustic and hearty cuisine. The multicultural basis for many of the dishes are the  home cooks who  reside in the small regional farmhouses that dot the countryside, and many of the dishes are prepared using locally produced vegetables and meats, especially chicken and pork. Traditional stonecooking is done using coal- or wood-fired ovens and heavy  clay or stone  vessels  called  “panela de barro”, carved from soapstone, making for a particularly tasty flavor. Even some restaurant chains have adopted these techniques and made this type of food popular in other parts of the country.

The one dish that stand out is the  traditional  meal of  Frango com Quiabo (Chicken and Okra Stew) and it is beloved alike by everyone from Minas Gerais state.

Poet and novelist João Guimarães Rosa  (1908-1967) is considered by many to be one of the greatest Brazilian novelists of the 20th century. His best-known work is the novel Grande Sertão: Veredas (translated as The Devil to Pay in the Backlands). Some people consider this to be the Brazilian equivalent of James Joyce’s Ulysses.  Rosa ,who was from the state of Minas Gerais and enjoyed eating as much as he did writing –once  said:

“…true patriotism is found in thjoaoe sensuality of eating, in meals and desserts…[for me] it is that truly Mineiro main course; chicken stew with okra and winter melon gourd and polenta, a delicate dish, viscously sliding  down like life itself, but dripping with chilli pepper”.

With that passionate  endorsement, I think that you are going to love it too! Enjoy!

Frango com Quiabo
(Chicken with Okra Stew)


Yields 6 Servings
2    3 1/2 pound chickens cut into 8 pieces each, backs and wing tips removed
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 heaped tablespoon homemade seasoning with turmeric (or your favorite seasoning)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick)unsalted butter
4 medium onions, diced
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2 fresh hot chilli peppers
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 pound okra, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1/8 teaspoon preserved malagueta pepper oil or hot pepper sauce
Polenta, for serving (Recipe Follows)

Wash and dry the chicken. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the garlic, salt and pepper and refrigerate for 1 hour.

In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat and saute the onions for 5 minutes, until they are lightly caramelized and are golden yellow brown in color. Remove onions and set them aside.

In the same skillet heat the vegetable oil and olive oil over medium heat. When the oils are shimmering, add the chicken pieces and saute them until skin is crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels and reserve.

Drain off the excess oil and reserve in a small pan. Add the chilli peppers and turmeric and sauté for 2 minutes.

In a large saucepan, add chicken stock and it bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue to cook at a low simmer.

Generously coat a cast iron skillet with vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the okra and stir constantly with a wooden spoon for about 12 minutes to remove all the excess water from the okra. You will note that the gummy residue will stick to the side of the pan. Remove the okra from heat and set aside.

Add the chicken and the onions to the simmering chicken stock and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until pieces are cooked through. Add the okra and season with salt and pepper. Add the malagueta oil or hot pepper sauce and cook for another minute or two.

Serve the stew with polenta or steamed rice and an endive salad.


Polenta com Milho Cozido ( Polenta with Fresh Corn)
Yields 6 Servings

6 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups polenta
1 cup cooked fresh corn kernels
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil over high heat. Add salt and reduce the heat to a simmer.

Slowly add the polenta, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook and continue stirring for 20 minutes.

Add the corn kernels and cook for another 5 minutes or until the polenta is smooth and slightly stiff, like southern grits. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and the cheese.

Serve immediately.
To save time, if you are in a real hurry and starving, you can purchase pre-made fried chicken from your local grocery store and skip the frying of fresh chicken.

Okra, also called gumbo, Lady’s Fingers or bhindi can be left whole if they are small on side.

A chunky cornbread square would also be a nice accompaniment to this dish.

Traditionally, Frango com Quiabo made by the people of Minas does not use cilantro to flavor this dish. However,cilantro is used by home cooks who live along the coast.