Lowcountry chicken bog is one of those Southern rice-and-meat combinations that share origins in both West Africa and Spain. You may know chicken bog’s more familiar cousins, jambalaya and perloo, and in their respective mother countries the dishes jollof rice and paella.
What makes chicken bog a bit different is hinted by the name: It’s a wet dish, stewy rice as opposed to fluffy rice.
This is a very, very South Carolina dish. There is even a chicken bog festival in Loris, South Carolina every October. It’s also much simpler to make than a jambalaya, or even a perloo.
My version of chicken bog uses a few more ingredients than the bare minimum of chicken, rice and sausage, but not that many more. The key here is the broth. You make a nice broth that you cook the chicken in — or in my case, pheasant — strain it, then use that to cook the rice in.
I also take the step of caramelizing onions before building the final bog. This adds a layer of flavor without being overly fancy. After all, chicken bog should be easy, Southern comfort food.
When you see my broth recipe, keep in mind that this is what I like, and it tastes amazing. I will note the ingredients you can skip if you don’t have them handy. Also, if you use leftover, shredded meat and pre-made broth, the prep time for this recipe basically disappears.
And while yes, this is chicken bog, you can use pheasant, as I did, or grouse, rabbit, quail, or turkey, and it will still be excellent. Stick to white meats. As for the sausage, You want a smoked sausage of some sort. My favorite? Conecuh. It’s not a South Carolina thing, it’s from nearby Alabama, and it’s wonderful stuff. Andouille, kielbasa or any other mild, smoked sausage will work.
One more note: Chicken bog doesn’t keep very well. The rice gets even soggier, and while you can reheat it and it’ll be OK, it loses something as time goes by.
Lowcountry Chicken Bog
- 1 whole chicken, or 2 pheasants, about 3-4 pounds total
- 1 yellow or white onion, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 sprig rosemary (optional)
- 1 sprig fresh thyme (optional)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups long or medium-grain rice
- 1 quart chicken broth (homemade above, or store-bought)
- 1 pound smoked sausage, cut into coins
- 3 tablespoons chopped green onion
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- To make the broth, you can either cut the birds into serving pieces or keep them whole. Either way, submerge the birds in water and bring it to a simmer. Skim any scum that floats to the top. Add salt to taste, then the remaining broth ingredients. Simmer very gently for 2 hours.
- Remove the chicken or whatever meat you are using, and strip the meat from the bones. Set aside. Strain the broth into a large bowl or pot, through a strainer that has a paper towel set inside it; this strains out debris. Reserve the broth.
- Heat the butter in a heavy, lidded pot that can cook 2 cups of rice in it. Add the onion, cover the pot, and cook, stirring once in a while, until the onions are just turning brown -- about 10 minutes.
- Add the rice, shredded meat and the garlic and stir to combine. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the smoked sausage and the broth you just made, or if you are using pre-made broth, add 1 quart now. Stir well, cover the pot and drop the heat to low. Cook gently until the rice is done.
- When the rice is ready, add some broth to make the dish a bit soupy, then stir in the green onions and parsley.
My mom was from South Carolina and learned from a Low Country cook when she was a small girl. She only used chicken in her bog without the sausage (some do some don’t). It was unbelievable.
This recipe is authentic! May it be prepared ahead of time and reheated? I want to make it to take to out-of-town family. Any hints on reheating? Thanks so much!
Hank Shaw says
Cynthia: You can. Just reheat it in a covered pot over low heat, slowly. It won’t be as good, though, because over time the rice will get mushy, which isn’t a horrible problem with bog. but you’ll notice it.
When I serve my chicken bog, I top it with homemade corn bread. I learned this addition from my grandma who passed this down to me and I can share with everyone. Cut it into small bite size pieces and add it to the bog before serving. Try it and see how it wonderful it compliments the dish.
Clay Spivey says
I grew up eating Chicken Bog in Mullins, SC. Just down the road from Loris, SC where they have an annual “Bog-off” Celebration. Once a month we had a “Cookout” in our neighborhood. Our neighbors would gather for this, everyone bringing a side…..coleslaw, baked beans, cornbread and Banana Pudding. It was said Chicken Bog was best cooked in the large Cast Iron Kettles. I remember they cooked “hens”, bones and all (a certain amount of flavor comes from the bone-in. So you kind of made your broth by cooking the chickens then just adding the rice. Seems there was a good bit of Salt and Pepper. At our gatherings they would do a smaller pot with the smoked sausage as “the ladies” preferred without.
In our area Chicken Bog was also often “lunch” prepared under the large coving surrounding the barn for the workers every day for a much appreciated lunch followed by a quick nap in a shady spot.
I can’t wait to try the “Okra Salad”!!!
Went off the wall. Pre-made broth with leftover smo-fried turkey pieces. Added bouquet after straining and a couple chukar. Cooked until birds were done.
Separated all out and then used chorizo verde with a heavy Cajun influence for the sausage. Straight up white rice (I live in the Lowcountry so we use Carolina Gold, which is white rice)
I was worried I was getting too far away from my norm which is exactly how Hank tell us how to make it.
I’m going to get crazy from here on out. Took cold; humid weather comfort food to the next level.
Get crazy Y’all!
Michael Tuohy says
So glad you discovered and wrote about this iconic LowCountry aka, South Carolina dish! I discovered, perhaps rediscovered it when we moved to Charleston in 2018. I added it to the brunch menu at the Dewberry Hotel soon after. The other day, a good friend brought us some that she made and we had it tonight for dinner! So good, so delicious, so comforting. I hope your readers appreciate your recipe and will make it over and over again!
Great recipe. First experienced Chicken Bog when visiting South Carolina. Got hooked on the taste, texture and smell. Living in Minnesota (Yup… a Yankee) we’ve put our own spin on it by using wild rice, either mixed with white or brown or by it’s own self. Gives it a “nuttier” taste. When I experienced chicken bog down in S. C. the restaurant topped it with apple sauce… Good stuff.
Rice is what makes the fish so high in calories. Rice is 100% carbohydrate.
Thanks for the recipe! Came out good. I live right down the road from Loris so figured I should learn how to make chicken bog. It’s easy and good for a big family.
I’m surprised and delighted to see your recommendation of Conecuh sausage. I grew up in South AL, and this brand was always a breakfast favorite of mine. Looking forward to trying out this recipe. I like a good rice/chicken/sausage dish on a cold, wet day.
Jackie Harris says
What makes this dish so high in calories, the smoked sausage? Can I replace smoked sausage with venison sausage?
Hank Shaw says
Jackie: yes, you can replace it with venison sausage. The calorie thing is not exact, so I would not really trust it too much.
I saw this an immediately thought of chicken mull.
Weird chain of thought.
I haven’t had bog in years and now I gotta make it.
But I still would be fascinated by your take on chicken mull.
Could this be made with brown rice?how would you modify then?
Hank Shaw says
Jeff: I imagine, yes. I’d just increase the amount of broth and time so the brown rice gets fully cooked.
David W Sox, MD (Retired) says
When I saw the title, I was taken back to my youth in the South Carolina low country, on whitetail hunts with an amazing assortment of grizzled, Gullah accented men, spinning yarns about anything one could imagine. Hounds barking, coffee so strong I could not participate, and a chicken bog for lunch.
The memories never fade even though I have lived near you in CA for over 40 years.
Kathy Torres says
We love chicken bog! The recipe I use is similar but cooked in the instant pot. I’ll have to try using some pheasant and quail since I have some in the freezer.
Ben Hardaway says
Chicken bog is regional and who’s is better can be fight’en words!
My favorite memory of chicken bog is cooked on the bank of the Little Pee Dee river in a cast iron cauldron over wood fire.
Warm yourself by the fire until your hunting pants started to smoke then turn around!
Chicken bog was served with hot sauce, white loaf bread, and Pepsi. If someone felt generous, a pound cake would show up.
This was the evening meal before heading into the swamp to let the dogs run and hunt raccoon.
I’ve was very fortunate to grow up in the country!
Over the years I’ve collected a few Chicken Bog recipes, but most enjoyable are the stories that come with them.
Y’all take care.
Thomas Malphrus says
Glad you posted this it brought back many memories. I also remember sitting along the Edisto River Banks and eating shad. Camping in the woods and swamps eating chicken bog or chicken and rice. Fond memories of coon hunting. Lived in SC for 38 years until moved to MD.