LITTLE FEAT – Dixie Chicken




This recipe is dedicated to my darling wife who puts up with me day and night and everything in between.  This was our unofficial wedding song and one of my all-time favorites.  It’s a classic tune and a great combination of blues, jazz, and southern rock and a great dancing song believe it or not.  And I danced with my one and only at our wedding.  This one’s for you dear.

I love Little Feat.  While they never really achieved stardom mostly due to the premature death of their principal songwriter and front man, Lowell George, at the age of 34.  George and Little Feat left us with some of the best soulful Southern music in Rock history.  Dixie Chicken was one of their most recognized songs along with Fat Man in the Bathtub and Willin’ just to name a few.  Little Feat kept it together in the eighties and nineties after George’s death touring and producing some pretty good music but never had the same success they had in the seventies.  They are another one of those bands you can just listen to repeatedly and hear different bits that get you humming along with your busy day.

Southern chicken gives one a lot of options.  Most people would associate it with fried chicken, but I discourage making your own.  I believe you are better off doing take out for fried chicken at a place that has the proper deep-frying equipment.  I will get a lot of disagreement I know here but this is my Yankee opinion.  Barbecued chicken is a southern tradition and that is what we are doing here.  I want to go in a different direction and do a non-tomato based sauce for y’all and one of come to enjoy recently is a white BBQ sauce well known in Alabama and Georgia.  I first learned this as I have with a lot of my ideas from Steven Raichlen the well-known master of the grill.  I will have a lot more to say about that in the weeks and months to come.  As always, I’ve doctored the sauce to my liking and passed it on to you as I would encourage everyone to do.  That’s how they do it down in Dixie and in true Southern Rock fashion “this one goes out to the one I love”.






1 cup Mayonnaise

1 TBSP freshly squeezed Lemon Juice

1 TBSP White Wine Vinegar

2 TSP prepared Horseradish

½ TBSP Clover Honey

½ TSP Liquid Smoke*

½ TSP Dry Mustard Powder

½ TBSP Salt, divided

3/4 TSP Black Pepper, divided

1/8 TSP Cayenne Powder

3 ½ lb. Fryer Chicken, separated in to 8 pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 breasts, and 2 wings)

1 ½ TBSP Paprika

1 TSP Garlic Powder

½ TSP Onion Powder

¼ TSP Celery Salt

1 TBSP Olive Oil

Handful of Hickory Chips



  1. Soak the Hickory Chips in enough water to cover for 30 minutes to 1 hour
  2. Make the BBQ Sauce first. Combine the Mayonnaise, Lemon Juice, Vinegar, Horseradish, Honey, Liquid Smoke, Mustard, ½ TSP Salt, ¼ TSP Black Pepper, and Cayenne Powder in a bowl and stir until blended.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes while you prepare the Chicken then remove from the refrigerator.
  3. Pat dry the Chicken pieces. Make the dry rub.  In a small bowl or dish combine the Paprika, 1 TSP Salt, ½ TSP Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, and Celery Salt and mix until evenly blended.
  4. Rub the Chicken pieces all over with Olive Oil and then the dry rub
  5. Prepare the grill for heating by oiling the grates. If you have a smoker box add the Hickory Chips.  If not wrap the Hickory Chips in aluminum foil, poke a few holes with a fork to allow smoke to escape, and place in a corner of the grill.  Heat the grill on one side to hot and the other side to the lowest setting.
  6. Place the Chicken pieces on the side of the grill on low and cook, turning occasionally, for about 40 to 45 minutes.
  7. Move the Chicken to the hot side of the grill and begin basting with the BBQ Sauce. Turning every few minutes, keep basting every turn.  Watch for flare ups and finish cooking the Chicken.  About 10 to 15 minutes.  Allow 5 minutes or more before serving.


WINE PAIRING:  If I had my choice, which I do, I opt for red wine most of the time.  This recipe allows for any of the following; beer, white wine, rose, or red.  During the cold months Beaujolais is at its peak even though most people associate it with outdoor summertime fare.  I think it’s an excellent choice for an outdoor fall picnic by a bonfire while you are munching on this delicious chicken dish.


*Liquid Smoke is a flavor enhancer for a lot of BBQ sauces available in most grocery stores.  I encourage you to use it but if you can’t find it or don’t want to use it just eliminate it.

Author: Steve Melchior

I am a lover of many eclectic things; food, wine, art, music, travel, sports, movies, literature and of course The Grateful Dead. I combine all these interests into great ideas for food preparation and entertaining with friends and family.

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