Air-dried Chicken Thigh风干鸡腿fēng gàn jī tuǐ

cover1Curing and preserving meat is actually less daunting than you would think of. In this Chinese air-dry chicken recipe, all you need is inexpensive cuts of meat, salt, seasonings and fresh air. The result? A completely changed texture and flavor of the meat and delicious food that surprises and pleases you.

As it dries naturally it the open air, there is only certain time of the year which is ideally for sausage-making. In China, people start the preparations of air-drying meat or other charcuterie-making after the winter solstice when the highest temperature won’t reach 10C°.

A very important food safety note – this air-dried chicken needs to be cooked before consumption. To cook it, you can easily steam them over high heat for 25 – 30 minutes. Once they are cool off, then cut them into thin slices.

To store the sausages, place them in the fridge for up to 10 days and freezer for 3 months.

Yield about 2kg

  • 5kg bone-in chicken thigh鸡腿
  • 5 bay leaves香叶
  • 5g Star anise八角
  • 20g Sichuan peppercorns花椒
  • 75g Sea salt (3% of the total amount of chicken)粗海盐
  • 25ml Chinese liquor高度白酒IMG_6043


  1. Wash the chicken thigh under running water. Pat dry with kitchen towel.
  2. Place a frying pan over low or low-medium heat. Fry all the dry seasoning ingredients of bay leaves, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns and salt. Stir from time to time to cook evenly. Fry about 10 minutes until aromatic and salt turns pale yellow. Turn off the heat. Move the pan aside and let it completely cool off.
  3. Use a big bowl. Place one layer of chicken in the bowl. Then sprinkle some seasoning ingredients on the top. Drizzle it with a bit of Chinese liquor. Place another layer of chicken on the top of the first one. Sprinkle seasonings and drizzle with Chinese liquor. Repeat the process until chicken, seasoning ingredients and liquor are used up. Cover the bowl. Leave it in the fridge overnight or about 12 hours.
  4. Hang the chicken in the open air. And let it dry up for about 4-5 days.


2 thoughts on “Air-dried Chicken Thigh风干鸡腿fēng gàn jī tuǐ

  1. Hi,
    May I know can I not put alcohol in the recipe? The reason is that I’m unable to take or use alcohol in food. Any alternatives?

    Also, I’m living in the apartment. Can I dry the chicken using dehydrator instead?


    1. Alcohol is meant to be used as ‘preservative’ during the air dry process for this recipe. It added flavor too. Sure, you can absolutely remove alcohol if you choose using dehydrator.


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