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Craft Beer Times | Beer-Infused Delight: Crispy Fried Chicken Thighs, Grits & Zesty Corn-Red Onion Relish

Beer-Infused Delight: Crispy Fried Chicken Thighs, Grits & Zesty Corn-Red Onion Relish

Beer-Infused Delight: Crispy Fried Chicken Thighs, Grits & Zesty Corn-Red Onion Relish

The Perfect Comfort Food: Fried Chicken Thighs

When it comes to comfort food, few things can rival the savory and crispy goodness of fried chicken thighs. The combination of tender chicken meat and a flavorful, crunchy coating is pure culinary bliss. And what better way to elevate this classic dish than by adding beer to the mix? You heard that right – cooking with beer takes this comfort food to a whole new level.

Why Add Beer?

Beer is not just a refreshing drink to accompany your meal; it can also be a fantastic ingredient that brings a unique depth of flavor to your dishes. When used in cooking, beer imparts rich, malty undertones that enhance the taste of your food. The carbonation in beer helps create a light and crispy texture in the crust, making it the perfect addition to fried chicken thighs. So, let’s dive into the recipe!


  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup beer (pale ale or lager works well)
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)


  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper.
  2. Slowly pour in the beer while whisking the mixture until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Place the chicken thighs in a separate bowl and pour the batter over them, ensuring they are evenly coated.
  4. In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. You will need enough oil to cover the chicken thighs halfway.
  5. Carefully place the chicken thighs into the hot oil, skin side down. Cook for about 6-8 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and crispy.
  6. Flip the chicken thighs and continue cooking for another 6-8 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear.
  7. Remove the chicken from the skillet and let it rest on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil.

A Perfect Pairing: Grits and Charred Corn–Red Onion Relish

While the fried chicken thighs are undoubtedly the star of this dish, no meal would be complete without some delicious sides. For a hearty and comforting accompaniment, let’s whip up some creamy grits. And to add a burst of freshness and flavor, we’ll make a tangy and sweet charred corn–red onion relish.

Grits Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Grits Instructions:

  1. In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
  2. Slowly whisk in the grits, stirring constantly to avoid any lumps.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the milk, butter, salt, and pepper, continuing to simmer for an additional 10 minutes until the grits are creamy and tender.
  5. Remove from heat and keep warm until ready to serve.

Charred Corn–Red Onion Relish Ingredients:

  • 2 ears of corn, husked
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Charred Corn–Red Onion Relish Instructions:

  1. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium heat.
  2. Brush the corn and red onion slices with olive oil.
  3. Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until charred in spots, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Grill the red onion slices until softened and slightly charred, about 5-6 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  6. Cut the corn kernels from the cobs and transfer to a bowl.
  7. Chop the grilled red onion and add it to the bowl with the corn.
  8. Stir in the lime juice, fresh cilantro, salt, and pepper. Mix well.

Serve and Enjoy!

Now that you have your perfectly crispy fried chicken thighs, creamy grits, and vibrant charred corn–red onion relish, it’s time to plate up and indulge. Place a generous scoop of grits on each plate, top with a crispy chicken thigh, and spoon the flavorful corn–red onion relish over it all. The combination of flavors and textures is simply divine.

Grab a cold beer, gather your loved ones, and savor this culinary masterpiece that combines the beloved comfort food with the amazing depth that beer brings. Cheers and enjoy!


Dustin is a writer about craft beer and a professional brewer in the city of Chicago. He has written for several magazines and has over a decade of experience in the beer industry. He is currently working on a book about the history of beer in Chicago.

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