A taste of South Carolina

Just what is chicken bog?

The holidays are a time for enjoying great food, and South Carolina has a dish you might want to add to your recipe box, whether for your holiday or any day table.

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. 

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. Most of the contestants cook very traditional bogs and don’t try to fancy it up with other ingredients.

Find the full recipe here and discover why chicken bog is perfect for your next gathering with friends and family.