Grill Fried Chicken

This recipe is another in my ongoing quest for fried chicken on the grill. By marinating, then breading the chicken, I’m hoping to get that spicy, crunchy, smoky, tender combination that I’ve been looking for.

Buttermilk Marinade
3 pounds fresh chicken wings
3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
3 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons Ranch dressing mix (I used Penzeys)
1-2 tablespoons hot sauce (I used Tabasco)
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt (depending on how salty the dressing mix is)

Combine the buttermilk, dressing mix, and 1 tablespoon of the hot sauce. Add more hot and and/or salt to taste.

Put the wings and thighs in a zip-top bag and cover with the marinade. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, overnight is better, but don’t go over 24 hours as the buttermilk can make the chicken mushy.

Set your grill up for an indirect cook at medium-high (350°F) heat. On the Big Green Egg I used  an inverted plate setter to diffuse the heat.

Breading

While the grill is heating up, pour the chicken into a colander and let it drain throughly before breading.

1 cup flour (I used gluten-free rice flour)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon Ranch dressing mix
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Combine the breading mix in a shallow pan (I like a pie tin). Dredge chicken pieces through the breading, making sure to coat all sides.

Arrange chicken on the grill. Cook for 45 minutes and flip. Cook for another 45 minutes, or until the chicken is brown and crispy and the thighs have hit at least 180°F internal.

I served the wings with a blue cheese dip and saved the thighs for lunches.

The Verdict: ★★★☆☆
The chicken was tasty and on the mark for being smoky and tender, but it was really lacking on the spicy and crunchy.

The overall flavor was good with a nice combination of the richness of the buttermilk and the blend of the herbs, but it didn’t have any kick – not enough salt, not enough heat, not enough tang. I’d double the amount of salt and cayenne/Tabasco in both the marinade and the breading and I’d add a healthy shot of vinegar to the marinade. The breading also fell short, ending up more gritty than crispy. I blame this on using just rice flour, rather than a gluten-free baking mix.

On the other hand – I got to lunch on fried chicken at work every day that week :).

6 thoughts on “Grill Fried Chicken”

  1. How come your grid extender looks so much cleaner than mine, do you replace yours every three months? ha ha

    I’ve had good “oven fried” chicken but nothing has ever come close to real fried chicken. I’m not sure it’s even possible:)

    1. One word – dishwasher. I run the grates through by themselves ever few weeks.

      I don’t know that I’ll ever get really good fried chicken of the grill, but I’m just as happy with crispy, spicy skin.

  2. Hay, yeah! Just need to jack the heat and after dredging the pieces in flour, spray lightly with a spray type oil. Higher heat, oil on the outside of the flour will tend to crisp up. I do the same for an oven version and it gets nice and crunchy.

    xo, Biggles

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