Smoked and Crispy Fried Whole Chicken

Kent Rollins' Smoked and Fried Chicken or Cornish Game Hens

The most delicious way to cook a whole chicken is to get a great smoke flavor all over the chicken and then fry it up to be as crispy as possible. You can use a whole chicken or a Cornish game hen. The end product will be so tasty that your family won’t want to eat chicken any other way!

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Prepare the Bird for Smoking

Start by rinsing the chicken with water. Dry well with a paper towel, and then lightly coat in cooking oil (you can use olive, avocado, whatever you like). The oil is essential to adhere the seasoning to the chicken.

Season the chicken well with a combination of Rib Rub and Original Seasoning, plus add a little smoked paprika.

Preheat the grill or smoker to 250-265. For fowl, I like to use a fruit wood with some oak. Today, I’m using Smokey Woods brand Cherry to the Roughneck Smoker. At 250 we’re going to smoke for about 45 minutes or an hour. When the internal temp is 165, we’re going to get her ready to fry.

Prepare the Bird for Frying

When the chickens reach an internal temperature of around 145, it’s a good time to start preparing the ingredients needed for frying. We’re going to dredge the chicken through egg and then a flour mixture, and we’re going to do so in a way that will produce a double-crispy chicken.

Crack the egg into a container with a buttermilk and black pepper. Mix well. This is your wet mixture for the dredging.

For the dry mixture, add flour, baking powder, and corn starch (for stickin’ to the chicken’) with some ground mustard and smoked paprika.

Before we dredge the birds, they need to cool off a bit. Remove them from the smoker and set them aside. When they’re cool enough to handle with your bare hands, they’re ready to fry.

Seasonings Used in This Recipe

Get your oil ready – you want to fry these smoked chickens at 350.

Coat the chicken well with the buttermilk mixture, ensuring you get the entire thing wet. Dredge into the flour mixture. Add back into the buttermilk mixture and again into the flour. Double baptizing the chicken in both the wet and the dry mixture will give you a very crispy chicken.

Here’s the recipe for the crispiest chicken sandwich you’ll ever eat: Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Fry the Chicken

Tip: If you’re cooking more than one chicken, fry one at a time. You don’t want to crowd the boat:

Immerse the battered chicken into the oil until the batter is golden brown. Remove from the oil, drain on a paper towel, and dig right in! There are some ideas for side dishes right below, but make sure they’re all done around the same time as the chicken because no one is going to be wanting to wait to eat this once they get a peek at how good this looks.


Update: In the video we indicate how to add enough oil to the frying vessel to ensure it doesn’t overflow. Place the hen in the cooking vessel and fill with water until the hen is covered. Remove the hen, then mark the water level. This mark will be the guide to where to fill with oil when frying.

Side Dishes for Smoked & Crispy Fried Chicken

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Smoked and Fried Chicken - Cowboy Kent Rollins

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4


  • 2 Cornish game hens
  • Avocado or olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons Kent’s Rib rub or your favorite bbq rub
  • 4 tablespoons Kent’s Original seasoning or your favorite all-purpose seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ tablespoon smoked paprika


  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
  • Oil for frying


  • Pat the hens dry with paper towels. Coat well with the avocado oil.
  • In a small bowl, combine the Rib Rub, Original Seasoning and smoked paprika. Generously sprinkle the seasoning all over the hens.
  • Place the hens on the smoker or grill, preheated to 275 degrees F. Smoke for about 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 150 degrees F. I prefer to use a mix of oak and cherry woods for smoking chicken.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, ground mustard, baking powder, cornstarch and smoked paprika.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg and black pepper until smooth.
  • Remove the hens from the smoker and let cool just enough to handle. Dip the chicken in the wet mixture to coat well. Then dredge through the flour mixture to coat well. Repeat the process for a double coating. Place the hens on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add enough oil to a Dutch oven or fryer to deep fry the hen and heat to 350 degrees F. Fry 1 hen at a time for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown and the internal temperature is 165 degree F. Remove from oil and place on a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.


This recipe can also be used for a whole chicken. 
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