A Taste of South Carolina: Just What Is Chicken Bog?

By:Gwen Fowler

Date:7/14/2014

Chicken bog is a popular meal in South Carolina.
Try this chicken bog recipe to enjoy a South Carolina meal in your own home!

Chicken bog is a delicious chicken, rice and sausage dish, and it’s very much a South Carolina thing. Folks in surrounding states are likely to give you a blank stare if you mention it.

Specifically, chicken bog is most popular in Horry County — the home of Myrtle Beach and Conway — and west to Florence. (I grew up outside Columbia and don’t remember ever hearing of it growing up.)

It’s closely related to chicken pilau (or pilaf or perlo), except that it’s … well, boggier. It’s moister than chicken perlo, which is more common in Georgetown County, just to the south of Horry County.

The name “bog” probably comes from the wetness of the dish, although some speculate that it may come from the bogginess of the area where it is popular.

South Carolinians, especially in the Lowcountry, have long had a love affair with rice. Throughout the 1700s until the Civil War, South Carolina was the largest rice producer in the nation, but it wasn’t grown commercially through the 1900s. In recent years, Carolina Plantation Rice in Darlington and Anson Mills, based in Columbia, have begun growing rice again.

While there are recipes around that include green peppers and other vegetables, purists insist that the only ingredients should be chicken, smoked sausage, rice, salt and pepper and perhaps onion. Put a few drops of your favorite hot sauce on top, and it should be perfect.

Chicken bog is fairly simple and quick to make, and it’s a great way to feed a large crowd.

The capital of the chicken bog world is Loris, where they’ve been saluting this favorite dish at the Loris Bog-Off Festival since 1979.

(The 35th annual festival will be Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014.) When I went a couple of years ago, I chatted with several of the contestants who were competing in the cooking contest. Most of them cook very traditional bogs and don’t try to fancy it up with other ingredients.

I also snagged a couple recipes, and I’ll share this one from the Loris Chamber of Commerce.

Chicken Bog

(Recipe courtesy of the Loris Chamber of Commerce)

6 cups water

1 tablespoon salt

1 onion, chopped

1 (3- pound) whole chicken

1 cup long-grain white rice

1/2 pound smoked sausage of your choice, sliced

2 tablespoons Italian-style seasonings

2 cubes chicken bouillon


Place water, salt and onion in a large pot. Add chicken and bring all to a boil; cook until chicken is tender, about 1 hour. Remove chicken from pot and let cool. Remove skin and bones and chop remaining meat into bite-size pieces.Skim off fat from cooking liquid and measure 3 1/2 cups of this chicken broth into a 6-quart saucepan. Add rice, chicken pieces, sausage, herb seasoning and bouillon to this saucepan. Cook all together for 30 minutes; let come to a boil, and then reduce heat to low, keeping pan covered the whole time. If mixture is too watery or juicy, cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, until it reaches the desired consistency. Stir often while cooking.

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