Dry-rubbed, BBQ Chicken Thighs

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Dry-rubbed BBQ chicken–totally hit the spot!

So, we decided to carry on the weekend with the grilling. I mean, the grill was already out and it saves me from destroying the kitchen. And it’s a great excuse to get in touch with my inner Cavewoman. Being we did up some awesome ribeyes last night, I was looking for something non-beef. BBQ chicken thighs hit the mark.  There’s something about the fat and char mixed with tangy sauce that is seriously good. We dry rubbed the chicken first (big thanks to my bro for giving me a batch of his secret dry rub), then slathered on some Stubbs Original Sauce. I know I should make my own sauce, but 80’s hair metal and a comfy porch chair were callin’ my name!

Dry-rubbed BBQ Chicken Thighs

  • Enough Chicken thighs for some serious grubbin’
  • Dry-rub of your choice (we used my brother’s, but Stubbs makes some good ones)
  • BBQ sauce of your choice (again, Stubbs makes great sauces)

Rub your chicken down generously with dry rub. Let sit at least an hour. If your can overnight it in the fridge, all the better.

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Kinda startin’ to think the grill is a little too hot. We went with a chunk charcoal–it burns way hotter than your regular briquette!

Prepare your coals. Heat Your grill with the lid on for at least 5 minutes with the bottom vents open. Remove the lid and place your thighs, skin side up. Cook until well browned on the bottom. Slater with sauce and flip. Slather the bottom (now facing up) with sauce and cook until internal temp reaches 165 degrees. Rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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Flames from h-e-double-hockey-sticks! At least the chicken got a little burn on…I love me some charred BBQ chicken skin!

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Had to remove the chicken and finish off in a pan to avoid getting too much char (is there such a thing??).

Now, this sounds easy. However, we got the grill a bit too hot.  The Hubbs had to dance around the grill, circling it like he was doing a rain dance, to avoid the bonfire and to place the BBQ sauce. I’m pretty sure he singed off all of his knuckle hair. Hey, at least we got a good chuckle out of it! We ended up removing the chicken after a good singe (I do like mine pretty darn burnt) and placing it in a pan to continue cooking so as to avoid some seriously charcoaly chicken. While letting the grill cool a bit, we cooked up some grilled corn and some bacon-wrapped asparagus (um, yeah..that asparagus didn’t stand a chance in making it to the dinner plate!). Then we put the chicken back on to finish.  It was perfectly burnt (yes there is such a thing!) and the meat was super juicy. Perfect!

 

Helluva Good Smoked Chicken

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Ok, so most people who know me have figured out I’m not a huge fan of chicken (except Dad’s BBQ chicken thighs!). Maybe it’s naturally a little bland or maybe I’ve just had a lot of poorly cooked chicken–but it doesn’t generally reach the top of the list in my kitchen as fav things to eat.  Enter the smoker. That little beauty forever changed the way I look at chicken! That thing turns what I know as bland-blech-where’s-the-sauce chicken into get-outta-my-way-or-you’ll-draw-back-a-nub chicken. It’s super easy (some prep is required) and you can throw some pork or beef on the smoker at the same time and have a feastival-o-meat! Any leftover (yea, right!) can be used in smoked chicken salad, chicken chili, smoked chicken Alfredo, or just on top of a salad. Using the leftover bones in making stock gives a subtle smoky flavor that works well for soups, stews, or as a braising liquid. Shove aside your loathing of chicken and let’s get to it!

  • 1 or 2 quality chickens
  • Sweet Tea Molasses Brine
  • Smoker with Pecan, Cherry, or Apple wood chips
  • Adult beverages, good friends, and some time

Rinse your chicken and plunk it down in your brine. For all the ‘no-sugar’ folks, don’t despair…the brine will be rinsed off and minimal sugar will be infused into the meat (use Blackstrap molasses if you’d like the least amount of sugar).

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Let sit 3 or so hours, or overnight in the fridge. Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse well. Fire up your smoker, let it heat, and place your chips. I let the initial billow of smoke burn off so I don’t risk any bitterness. Throw your chickens in, grab your bevvy and friends, relax.  Two chickens usually take about 3 hours, or until the temp is 160 at the thigh (then rest on the counter, tented in foil, for 10 minutes or so for an internal temp of 165).  The skin is crisp, nice and brown, and the meat is super juicy and flavorful.  I promise, there won’t be a word spoken at the dinner table!

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Weeknight Chicken Thigh Piccata

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A chicken piccata so easy you can enjoy it on the busiest weeknight!

No great story about this one. Weeknight. Tired. Hungry. That about does it. I won’t lie, I probably eat way to much pork and beef.  So, it was an odd thing that I was craving chicken (umm…that NEVER happens).  Being that it’s hotter than Hades, I sifted through my brain’s taste buds for something yummy but not requiring a lot of cooking time and could be served over something easy, like salad. Piccata it was. Now the trick was to make a piccata without flour. I’ve seen folks just grill it up or pan fry it naked, but I rather like the faint little coating on the super-thin chicken. I drew on my experiments with flourless fried green tomatoes and snatched up the quinoa flour out of the cabinet.  It was perfect. Quick, juicy, tasty, and done in 15 minutes. That’s a weeknight meal I can get behind.  And it’s pan sauce serves as a salad dressing. Win, win!

This recipe is only for two thighs since I was flying solo…just multiply for how many thighs you have.  Feel free to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts–I just prefer thighs since they don’t dry out like chicken breasts can.  If you feel you need more dressing, either make more sauce or just drizzle some olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice over your greens. It’s that simple!

  • 2 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Oil for frying (I like a tab of butter and a TBSP of olive oil for 2 thighs)
  • 1/4 cup of quinoa flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chicken stock (low sodium works best)
  • 1 TBSP dry sherry
  • 1 TBSP finely diced onion (red onion here)
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP minced capers, 1 tsp caper juice
  • Salad of choice (I like arugula and spring greens, a wee bit of onion, and tomato. Microgreens would be great!)
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Place your chicken of choice between parchment or freezer paper.

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Pound to beejezus with the flat side of a mallet until about 1/4 inch thick. Even thickness is key.

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Flattened chicken thighs aren’t as ‘pretty’ as boneless skinless chicken breasts, but I think their flavor is superior. Sure, trim the fat if you’d like…but it fries up nice and adds some flavor.

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Salt N’ Peppa (yes, you may sing it) your chicken friend.

Place your boneless, skinless meat in between parchment or freezer paper. Pound the bejeezus out of it with the smooth side of a meat mallet until it’s about 1/4 inch thick.  Salt and pepper to taste.

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Dredge through quinoa flour and shake off excess. Quinoa is a seed rather than a grain like wheat, and contains no gluten. It’s parent plant is related to beetroot, spinach, and tumbleweeds (how’s that for a family tree?!). It’s not a gut irritant and is often called a ‘superfood’ due to an abundance of protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Dredge through quinoa flour for a super light dusting.

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Fry up your chicken until golden brown and cooked through. Don’t overcook though…no one likes a rubber chicken. Unless you’re a terrible comedian.

Place in pan and cook until one side is golden brown. Flip and cook until other side begins to brown. Be sure chicken is cooked completely through (thighs may remain a bit pinkish but should not be translucent in any way).  Remove chicken to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

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Do up your sauce…onion, sherry, stock, capers, and lemon. Reduce to thicken.

Add onion and sweat until translucent.  Add dry sherry to deglaze pan. Add stock and capers and simmer until reduced by about 1/2.  Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Swirl to combine.

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Mmmmm mmmm..that sure is some tasty chicken!

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Enjoy over salad with the sauce as dressing or place over zucchini noodles, pasta, or with side of your choice.

Slice chicken or place chicken thighs over salad and drizzle sauce over the top (I think slicing works better on salad). Dig in.  This dinner’s so quick you might even have time to clean the kitchen AND relax before heading off to bed!

Feel free to eat over pasta with a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley or serve over zucchini noodles if that’s your bag.  It’s good any way you can get it!