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Jul 6, 2022

Dirty Fried Chicken

This hot and spicy dirty fried chicken is crisp and juicy and slathered in a sweet and hot gochujang-based sauce straight from the fryer. 

Dirty Fried Chicken legs and thighs with beer.


This dirty fried chicken, with it's super crunchy skin and hot and sticky sauce, will have you coming back for seconds, even if the amazing sauce gets all over your hands and face (and even your clothes). 

You will get all messy... there's no avoiding it (thus the name of this chicken), but you will be rewarded with some of the most delicious crispy and juicy chicken coated in an addicting, tangy, hot, and sweet sauce. 

Dirty Fried Chicken legs with salad.

If Korean fried chicken and Buffalo chicken got married and had a baby, this just might be the offspring. 

This chicken is a creation from Chef Edward Lee, a Korean American chef from Louisville, Kentucky by way of Brooklyn, who grew up on spicy Korean fried chicken and adapted it to his newly adopted (in 2003) Southern home. He is the owner/chef of the restaurant 610 Magnolia in Louisville and culinary director of a fried chicken restaurant outside of Maryland, and another restaurant in D.C. 

He also has two highly acclaimed books, Smoke and Pickles and Buttermilk Graffiti. Check them out. 

Dirty Fried Chicken legs in a large serving bowl.

I first bookmarked this in my copy of the Aug/Sept 2015 issue of Fine Cooking magazine but never made it (I'm so sad that Fine Cooking is no more). They featured this chicken along with traditional fried chicken and one with a slather of honey butter. 

I really should not have waited! This dirty fried chicken is soooooo good!

The gochujang-based sauce is amazing. I could slather it over everything. 

Dirty Fried Chicken legs on a rack.

What is gochujang? 

Gochujang is the savory, sweet, and spicy condiment that comes in the little red tub that you can typically find in the Asian section of your grocery store. In fact, I keep one of the tubs in my fridge at all times to add to sauces, marinades, and dressings. 

It consists of red chile pepper flakes, glutinous rice (which does not include gluten), fermented soy beans, and salt. 

You don't use it straight like hot sauce. Use it to make your own sauce or enhance a dish you are making with a teaspoon or two. 

Gochujang sauce for brushing the chicken wings.

This sauce, which includes apple juice, sesame oil, white vinegar, honey, and soy sauce, is heavy on the gochujang, and it's pretty amazing. 

If you have any leftover, use it on ribs, meatloaf, burgers, and steaks. Add some to mayo for amazing salad dressings and sauces for sandwiches. Once you taste it, I bet your creative juices will give you lots of ideas! 

I'm pretty sure I'm going to use it on air fried chicken wings next. 

Dirty Fried Chicken on a plate with sauce on the side.

How to Prepare this Dirty Fried Chicken:

First, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients and set them aside. You can make this sauce a couple of days in advance and refrigerate it. Just bring it to room temperature before frying the chicken. 

To prepare the chicken, first poach it in a Filipino adobo-style vinegar braise before frying the pieces. The vinegar braise tenderizes the chicken as well as par cooks it so that you can fry the chicken at a higher temperature for a crispier result. 

Next, coat the poached chicken in buttermilk and then a flour mixture and fry it in peanut oil in a 12 inch cast iron skillet. You are not actually deep frying the chicken, so you will have to flip it as you cook it to ensure even browning. 

Once you've fried the chicken, brush it with the sauce and serve it with more sauce on the side. 

Dirty Fried Chicken in a bowl with cilantro.

This chicken, slathered in the sauce, is super spicy. Even with the sauce, the chicken remains so crispy. 

This chicken is fried at a higher temperature than most fried chicken, but it works because the chicken is already par-cooked. 

Equipment Needed:

I definitely recommend using an instant read thermometer to check the done-ness of the chicken pieces as you fry them. My favorite brand is Thermapen. 

You will also need a 12-inch cast iron skillet

I also recommend using a splatter screen when frying in a more shallow pan. While not necessary, it really helps control the popping oil. 

Finally, the Oxo tongs are amazing for flipping the chicken. 

Be sure to have plenty of large plates lined with paper towels set up for juggling everything, as well as a baking sheet and wire rack. 

Dirty Fried Chicken on a plate with cheese.

One of my favorite ways to serve this chicken is sprinkled with gorgonzola cheese and parsley. The gorgonzola is great for balancing the heat of the gochujang. However, this chicken is also delicious as is, or sprinkled with chopped cilantro. 

Ingredient Notes and Recipe Variations:

You can add paprika to the flour mixture instead of the black pepper (or go with both). 

Cook the chicken pieces at 350 degrees F rather than 365 degrees for a lighter color. Even though the color of this chicken is pretty dark, there is nothing bitter or burnt tasting about the chicken pieces. They are amazingly crispy, even when they are coated with the sauce. 

Dirty Fried Chicken in a bowl.

This month's Foodie Extravaganza theme is Fried Chicken and our host is Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays or cook and bake together with the same ingredient or theme each month.

We are celebrating National Fried Chicken Day, which is July 6! 

I love fried food, but mostly rely on restaurants to enjoy it. Deep fried delicious exceptions include:

Korean fried chicken

Fried chicken sandwiches

Cheddar Cheese Hushpuppies

New Orleans Style Beignets

Japanese Curry Buns

Papas Rellenas

Hanukkah Jelly Doughnuts

Foodie extravaganza logo

Fried Chicken Recipes:

Dirty Fried Chicken in a bowl.

Dirty Fried Chicken

Dirty Fried Chicken
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 1 HourTotal time: 1 H & 15 M
This hot and spicy dirty fried chicken is crisp and juicy and slathered in a sweet and hot gochujang-based sauce straight from the fryer.


For the Sauce
  • 6 tablespoons of gochujang
  • 3 tablespoons apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
For the Poaching Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 pounds chicken thighs and chicken legs
  • Kosher salt
For Frying the Chicken
  • 1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 quart peanut oil


To prepare the Sauce
  1. Whisk together all of the ingredients.
  2. Set aside.
To Poach the Chicken
  1. Combine all of the poaching ingredients together, with the exception of the salt, and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat in a 4-quart sauce pan.
  2. In the meantime, generously salt the chicken pieces with the kosher salt on both sides.
  3. Simmer the poaching ingredients for 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to low, add the chicken pieces, and simmer, with the pan lid slightly ajar, for 15 minutes, turning the chicken pieces half way through.
  5. Turn off the heat and let the chicken sit in the poaching liquid for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the chicken to a paper towel lined plate and pat dry.
To Fry the Chicken
  1. Stir together the flour, salt, and black pepper in a shallow bowl.
  2. Pour the buttermilk into another shallow bowl.
  3. Dip the chicken into the buttermilk, shake off any excess, and coat with the flour mixture. Place the prepared chicken pieces onto a plate.
  4. Bring the oil to 365 degrees F in a 12-inch cast iron skillet, using a frying thermometer.
  5. Fry the chicken in batches, turning it every two minutes or so, until it reaches an interior temperature of 165 degrees F, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place the cooked chicken pieces onto a paper towel lined baking sheet with an cooling rack.
  6. Immediately brush with the sauce.
  7. Serve with the leftover sauce on the side.

Nutrition Facts



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chicken, fried
main dish
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Would you like to comment?

  1. Fine cooking was one of my favorites as well. Love this Southern Style Korean Fried Chicken.

  2. WOW!! This gives finger licking good a whole new meaning!

  3. Love this recipe, must try this soon!

  4. I've never heard of dirty chicken but it sounds amazing!

    1. I think it's unique to this chef! Thanks!


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