Chicken Pilau (Perlo)

Pronounced 'PER-lo', a classic Southern recipe with chicken, smoked sausage and rice very similar to jambalaya but without the tomatoes and peppers (often called and similar to Chicken Bog).

We toggle between calling this Chicken Pilau (pronounced 'PER-lo') and Chicken Bog. It really depends on who I’m serving it to as to what I call it.

If my family’s eating it, we call it pilau because that’s what they’ve always called it. If I’m serving it to friends, I usually call it chicken bog because that seems to be more common around these parts.

If you want to learn more about Chicken Bog and how it's made, check out my post and recipe here. The biggest difference is when the chicken is done cooking in the broth (which we use more of and a much bigger chicken), it yields more than the 2:1 ratio. But there are also a few more ingredients.

I love to make a double or triple batch when we’re entertaining because it’s a perfect way to feed a crowd without too much fuss and everybody loves it. I get it cooked then leave it on the stove on the lowest heat setting, set out a stack of bowls and a bottle of hot sauce then go enjoy my company.

Chicken Pilau (Perlo) - A classic Southern recipe with chicken, smoked sausage and rice (often called and similar to Chicken Bog).

Daddy’s people come from an area of South Carolina that stretches between Charleston and St. Matthews which means that we have rice in our blood and could cook it blindfolded and drunk but if cooking larger quantities of rice makes you nervous keep these two things in mind:

Firstly, traditional long-grain white rice cooks at a ratio of liquid to rice of 2:1. It’s OK if you have a little more liquid (because it can set and absorb the extra liquid) but you can’t have less.

Secondly, the biggest mistake folks make with rice is messing with it. Every time you take the lid off you upset the 2:1 ratio because you’re letting go some of the liquid via steam. Just stir it once or twice in the beginning until you get the temperature just right, once or twice about halfway through then cover it and walk away. Just walk away.

I once saw Bobby Flay ruin a pot of jambalaya because he couldn't quit messing with it. Just. Walk. Away.

Chicken Pilau (Perlo) - A classic Southern recipe with chicken, smoked sausage and rice (often called and similar to Chicken Bog).
chicken, pilau, perlo, pilaf, bog, chicken bog, rice, sausage, kielbasa, southern, authentic, easy, traditional, how to cook, best, jambalaya, carolina, lowcountry, low country, gullah, geechee
dinner, supper, main dish
american, southern
Yield: 10-12 Servings
Author: Mandy Rivers | South Your Mouth
Chicken Pilau

Chicken Pilau

Pronounced 'PER-lo', a classic Southern recipe with chicken, smoked sausage and rice very similar to jambalaya but without the tomatoes and peppers (often called and similar to Chicken Bog).
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 1 H & 20 MTotal time: 1 H & 35 M


  • 1 small chicken (2-3 lbs)
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 stalks celery, cut in half
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups uncooked long grained rice
  • 1 lb smoked sausage


  1. Remove giblets, etc. from the chicken cavity (if included). Clean and rinse chicken well and place in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Add broth, celery, onion, salt and next five ingredients (through bay leaf). Bring to a slow simmer over medium heat. Once broth begins to boil, reduce heat to low, cover tightly and simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Remove chicken from broth then set aside to cool. Remove skin, bones, etc. from chicken. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and set aside.
  4. Strain broth to remove onion, celery and bay leaf then return broth to pot. You should have about 4 - 4 ½ cups of broth after cooking the chicken. If you’re unsure, measure to confirm you have at least 4 but not more than 4 ½ cups)
  5. Cut smoked sausage into bite-sized pieces. Add sausage the broth then bring to a boil.
  6. Once boiling, add uncooked rice and chicken pieces. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly then cook for 20 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring with a fork a few times the first 15 minutes of cook time. Do not disturb rice the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  7. Turn off heat then let dish rest, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.


You can use chicken pieces instead of a whole chicken but you must use bone-on, skin-on chicken or the dish will be dry and not as flavorful.

Did you make this recipe?
Tag @southyourmouth on instagram and hashtag it ##southyourmouth
Keep up with my latest shenanigans by following South Your Mouth!


  1. So how would this translate to chicken pieces? I have bone-in thighs and bone-in breasts... how many pounds? How much would you estimate that this recipe makes?
    I love your blog. Your recipes and food photos are awesome, and you just crack me up!

    1. Thank you, Susie!! I'd use about 3-4 pounds if they're bone-in (about the same weight of a whole chicken) or just use 6-8 total pieces (depending on the size). This recipes makes enough to feed my brood and keep me in left-overs for days. I'd say this yields enough for 8 large servings.

  2. Looks y ummy!! I pulled out my chicken bog recipe this week, may just give this a try instead :)

  3. This looks like something my peeps would definitely eat. I make a similar dish with pork sausage crumbles that they gobble up. Thanks!

  4. I am totally in agreement on cooking rice--my mother always stirred it to pieces and wound up with a gummy mess!

  5. Southern Girl aka Rice Addict7/15/13, 11:19 AM

    Yes! Preach it, sistah! Just walk away!

  6. It's so simple to cook rice, yet cooks mess it up all the time! I saw Bobby Flay do that too. I think it was the jambalaya episode of Throwdown. I was yelling at him on the TV! :) WALK AWAY!

  7. Hi Susie! Now I know why your recipes are always my favorites! I was "baptized" into Southern cooking as a young wife from Minnesota when my ex moved me "home" to Elloree, Sc, so I learned just about 10 miles from St. Matthews where you were "being fed and taught"! Keep up the great job! I LOVE your recipes!

  8. I once had a friend tell me to make your rice in an oven! Yes that's right I said OVEN!! I personally thought he was crazy, but I went home and tried it anyway. Glory be it actually worked!! Fix your rice for however many people your serving, only difference is you don't heat the water just pour it in the pan and cover all the ingredients with foil and pop in the oven for 30min at 350 and when you take it out fluff it with a fork, Perfect rice every time!!!

  9. I follow a similar recipe. I add crumbled breakfast sausage along with the chicken and smoked sausage. Yummy! Also, use parboiled rice to ensure it is not too boggy.

  10. What if I'm using boneless, skinless chicken thighs? How much should I use to be the equivalent of 1 large chicken?

    1. 8-10, Since you won't have the skin or bones for flavor and fat, use chicken broth instead of water and add 6-8 tablespoons of butter.

    2. And then you'll need to reduce the salt since you're using broth. And you won't need to cook the chicken for an hour. Cook it for 30-40 minutes tops.

    3. Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I'm taking this to our Clemson tailgate this weekend. Go tigers!

  11. Can I use jasmine rice?
    If so do I do anything different?

    And is the sausage.cooked before you throw it in?
    If so how do you cook it?

    My aunts (from kingstree sc) made this all the time but they are not around anymore to ask them....
    Don't think they used celery, pepper flakes, paprika, bay leaf....I know they added onion though.

    1. Sure, you can use jasmine rice (it's a a long-grain rice). However long it says to cook on the package, cook it that long. Use the same amount of liquid.

      No need to cook the sausage.

      My parents don't fool around with the other seasonings either - that's just my spin on it :)

  12. I grew up using a New England version of this dish (my grandmom just called it chicken and rice) which used medium-grain rice, stewed chicken and linguiƧa - a spicy Portuguese sausage popular in the New Bedford/Fall River area - but the trick was the same...cover the rice and leave it the heck alone. Medium-grain rice is the starchy stuff one gets at a Chinese restaurant; with the chicken and sausage, it truly was a stick-to-your-ribs meal.

    Can't wait to try the perlo version!

  13. I'm from Georgetown, SC and I absolutely love Pilau in any shape or form, this recipe however is what people from G-Vegas all the way to New York City call Pilaf... Pilau by nature takes on the personality of the individual that makes it and will most certainly.. Start.. with some sort of smoked pork (bacon, butts meat, hog jowl, etc.) and be brown by the way it is prepared. The meat used also changes the flavor as well. Around here we use anything from chicken, boston butt, ham, squirrel, dove, duck or whatever you can get your hands on. Calling a man's Pilau a "Chicken Bogg" or "Pilaf" is almost as bad as slappin his mother. Use the same recipe above, only get rid of the green stuff and leaves. Start with a half pound of chopped bacon in a cast iron pot or dutch oven cooking until half done, then add half of a large chopped Vidalia and cook until almost clear, then add the cooked chicken and broth to pot check your seasoning(salt) bring to boil then add rice. This is just a push in the right direction. If you would like a pilau recipe that will sell 60 quarts in 2 hours let me know and I will post it for you.

    1. I would love your recipe for 60 quarts. I have to feed 50-60 next Monday at a shelter. Many thanks,
      Paul Ferguson

    2. Sent the recipe for my 60 qt pot to your email Paul

    3. I would love your recipe for 60 quarts, too!
      Thanks so much!

    4. I an originally from Andrews,SC and Pilau was a staple in our family. Would love your 60 quart recipe.

    5. I would love this recipe too!! I’m live in Pawleys Island and love everything about Pilau too!!
      Thank you!!

    6. I would love your recipe as well! jbullard1117@gmail.com. Thanks!

    7. If you see this reply, I'd also love your quick selling Pilau recipe. :)

    8. I know this is an older post but hope that you can send me your Pilau recipe as well.
      Thank you!

  14. I make, basically, the same recipe but when pressed for time use low sodium chicken stock. I'll poach skinless, boneless chicken breast halves in the stock then shred them, add to the pot, along with the poaching liquid. What I find interesting, and have never done, is also add a smoked sausage, which I will do next time I make this.

    I still like to know who made this the first time, spelled it Pilau, and pronounce it Perloo!? :-)

    1. After seeing "Perlou" on Mind of a Chef(now showing n Netflix) I set out to find where this dish ended and Jambalaya began. Along the way, I came across Pilaf on Wikipedia. If you look it up, you'll see that the word is spread, in many variations, across many cultures. Given the region that this dish is big in, I'll bet you a Coke that it was a Cajun that this was origionated by a cajun with no acess to garlic or bell peppers..

  15. Do you wash your rice first?

  16. This Chicken Pilau, collards and black eye peas with chow chow will be appearing on our New Year's Day table. Oh, and cornbread from cast iron skillet!

  17. I didnt have a whole chicken, and i only wanted to make half the recipe. My family is bad about eating leftovers....i also happened to have homemade chicken stock, because thats just me. I save bones until i have enough then make stock n freeze it because i love soups. It also makes a lovely treat for a dog when room temp or even frozen on a hot day. My dog is so well behaved on the days i make stock! Unfortunately he couldnt eat the broth from this recipe because it was too spicy. I loved the broth! I will use this the next time i make ramen or potstickers. Anyway, i simmered chicken breasts in my stock, and used a half pound of sausage. Yummy :)

  18. I’m from Andrews, SC and I
    always fry the sausage and onion in bacon fat until almost burnt. My pileau is alway dark. I also put little smokies and Hillshire sausage in mine too.


Hi there! While I’m not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven’t been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments.

I can tell you now 1) I have no idea if you can substitute Minute Rice or brown rice in my recipes because I’ve never used them and 2) If I know how to convert a recipe to a Crock Pot version, I will make a note about it (otherwise, I don’t know).

And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y’all! - Mandy