Straight off Bourbon Street in New Orleans, my tender bourbon chicken is covered in a slightly sweet sauce with a little kick. It’s a true taste of the South you won’t be able to resist.
Food Court Fears
I had my first taste of bourbon chicken in a mall in Florida. There is no shame in this. I walked around for 20 minutes looking at all the different food court options, not feeling like any of them. I finally gave in to the lady that had tried to hand me a sample of this chicken three times.
Twice already, I had glanced at the giant aluminum pan full of some watery brown liquid and sloshy chicken and thought “nope“. But I was beat down, defeated, and hungry, so I gave in. And it was fucking delicious.
I ordered a giant plate of it (completely ignoring my inner Jiminy Cricket telling me there was no way to know how long that chicken had been sloshing there), and I inhaled said entire plate in record time. It became something I looked forward to every trip to Florida.
Bourbon Chicken Bliss
In the last couple of years we got a chain up here in Canada that sells bourbon chicken. It’s not that common yet though, and the closest mall to me that has it is always a DISASTER to go to – way too damn busy to be enjoyable at all. Yeah, I’m looking at you Vaughan Mills.
Incredibly, it took me this long – like, a solid 5 years – to think “Wait a minute, I can cook. I can just cook this for myself”. Some days the light on upstairs is dim.
If you like Southern Food
If you’re like me, and can’t resist a plate of delicious southern food, you have got to give my chicken friend steak a try. I worked at this recipe for years, trying all different types of breadings and frying techniques, until I finally got every detail perfect.
Two ways to make my Bourbon Chicken: Stove or Slow Cooker!
From start to finish this bourbon chicken is only 50 minutes. 30 minutes of that is completely hands off while it simmers away, building flavour and thickening. If you want it even easier, I’ve included directions to make this in the slow cooker too. Just see the notes section of the recipe! Serve it with some rice, and you’ve got an incredible, easy meal that will top anything you see sloshing around in a food court.
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" bite size pieces
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 2/3 cup soy sauce (low sodium is best)
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup Jack Daniel's or Southern Comfort
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, minced
- 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicy)
- 1 1/2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- Heat the oil in a large heavy bottom pot (I use a dutch oven). Add the chicken pieces and brown until lightly golden on all sides. This will take about ten minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. It will not be fully cooked yet.
- In the now empty pot, add the water, sugar, chicken broth, soy sauce, ketchup, Jack Daniel's, apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, and ginger. Bring to a boil, and use a wooden spoon to scrape all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Add the chicken pieces back into the pan with the sauce, along with any accumulated juice on the plate. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through, and the sauce has started to thicken.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the apple juice and corn starch. Stir into the pot with a wooden spoon, then turn up the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly, to thicken up the sauce.
- Serve while hot, and remember, this goes great with rice and corn (and a glass of bourbon).
Slow Cooker Directions:
Whisk together everything except for the chicken, apple juice, and corn starch. Pour into the bowl of your slow cooker. Add the chicken pieces, toss with a wooden spoon to coat, then cook over low for 6-7 hours, or high for 3 hours. Stir in the apple juice and cornstarch mixture at the very end to thicken up the sauce more if needed.