Smoked Chicken Thighs

I have been smoking all sorts of meats for years. But for some reason, chicken thighs never made it onto my list of things to smoke. I was jonesin’ for a BBQ chicken sandwich. Now normally, I’d smoke a boneless chicken breast that I had brined (to keep it moist and tender) and shred or chop it. But since I’ve been on a chicken thigh kick lately, and had a freezer full of thighs from the last time they went on sale, that’s what I went with. And boy I could not have been happier.

After just a few hours on the smoker the chicken thighs were done. Super juicy and tender, I knew I was in for a treat. It didn’t take long to remove the skin (it’s not going to get crispy and hey, it’s not the healthiest part of the chicken) and separate the meat from the bones. Smoked thigh meat is perfect on BBQ sandwiches or nachos or pizzas.

Smoked Chicken Thighs
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
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Ingredients
  • 5 pound bone in, skin on chicken thighs
For the brine
  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Louisiana hot sauce
For the rub
  • Prepared yellow mustard
  • Your favorite BBQ rub (I used my basic BBQ rub)
Instructions
  1. Trim any excess fat from the thighs. Place them in a large (large enough to hold the chicken and brine) resealable container.
  2. Add the brine. Stir gently to make sure the chicken is all exposed to the brine. Seal and refrigerate for 3 hours.
  3. Remove the chicken from the brine (discard) and rinse with cold water. Return the chicken to the (now dry) container.
  4. Squirt the thighs with the mustard, turning to get all sides. Rub the mustard around and cover the thicken.
  5. Sprinkle the chicken with the rub, making you sure you get it on all sides.
  6. Fire up your smoker for cooking at 230 F. Use a nice fruit wood such as hickory. For a stronger smoke flavor use hickory.
  7. Add the chicken to the smoker and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 170 F, 2 to 2 1/12 hours.
  8. Remove the chicken. Discard the skin. Pull the meat from the bones and chop or shred as desired.
For the brine
  1. Combine all ingredients. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved.

Ketchup Leather

“Don’t mess with my ketchup” is what Anita told me. And yeah, usually I do listen. But not this time. I was going to make ketchup leather no matter what. And you know what? When we’d finished off our hot-off-the-grill burgers topped with ketchup leather Anita said “Ok, you can mess with my ketchup anytime.”

Ketchup leather makes ketchup on burgers an even better thing. Tastes like ketchup. Looks like a Fruit Roll-Up. But here’s the cool part (besides the wow factor). It doesn’t leak out of your burger. If you’re like me, you’re not shy when squeezing ketchup onto your burger. But the more toppings and the more ketchup, the more that squeezes out. Dripping all over the place and eventually leading to a burger disaster. Not with ketchup leather. Everything stays right where it belongs.

Make a big batch and keep them in the fridge for the next time you make burgers.

Ketchup Leather
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Ingredients
  • Ketchup
  • Your favorite seasoning (cracked black pepper is my favorite)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 170 F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray the paper with non-stick spray.
  3. Squeeze the ketchup out onto the parchment paper. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, spread it out evenly. You don't want it too thick, but you don't want it too thin either.
  4. Place in the oven for 3 hours.
  5. Let cool completely before cutting into squares or circles for use on burgers.

Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno-Stuffed Olives

I’ve found the replacement for eating popcorn while watching a movie. No more of that. Grilled bacon-wrapped jalapeno-stuffed olives are much, much better. Yeah, there’s definitely a spicy kick to them. And a little smokiness from the bacon. A bit salty. Just give me a bowl of these little bites and a little cool ranch or blue cheese dressing (gotta cool off!) and I’m happy!
You don’t have to go the spicy route if you don’t want to. Any stuffed olives will work just fine for this recipe. Try Gouda-stuffed olives, they’re fantastic too! Just make sure you get big olives, big enough to wrap the bacon around. Those lil ole pimento-stuffed olives that are barely bigger than peanuts just won’t do.

Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno-Stuffed Olives
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 15 bites
 
Ingredients
  • 15 jalapeno-stuffed green olives
  • 5 slices thin bacon, cut into thirds
  • Your favorite rub or seasoning
  • Ranch or blue cheese dressing, for serving
Instructions
  1. Fire up your grill for indirect cooking.
  2. Wrap each olive in a piece of bacon. I didn't need a toothpick to secure the bacon, but you might.
  3. Sprinkle your rub out on a plate and roll the bacon-wrapped olives in it to coat.
  4. Grill 20-30 minutes or until the bacon is cooked.
  5. Serve with cool ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping.

Grilled Yellow Squash

Simple yet delicious. You don’t always have to struggle to come up with a grill-able side dish idea, and you definitely don’t have to spend hours or even many minutes putting one together. Grilled yellow squash actually made me love squash, and let me tell you, that’s not an easy thing to do. The key for me was the onions. And that means Vidallia onions when I can get them. Always.
I also like adding my favorite seasonings to the foil packet instead of ‘just’ salt and pepper. One we truly enjoy is the Casa Seasoning from Albukirky Seasonings. It’s the perfect blend of salt, pepper, garlic and lemon, among other things.

Grilled Yellow Squash
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
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Serves: 4-6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 6 medium yellow squash, sliced
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 medium sweet onion, sliced thin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Fire up your grill for indirect cooking at 350 F. Alternatively, you can make this in an oven preheated to 350 instead.
  2. Place all ingredients on a large piece of aluminum foil. Seal tightly.
  3. Transfer to the grill or oven and cook 20-25 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Buffalo Supreme Wings

Buffalo wings, blue cheese, and celery. Very traditional and very good and usually, each component is served separately. But why not cut to the chase and combine all of those great flavors into one bite? Buffalo supreme wings do exactly that. Yeah, they’re messy to eat, but that’s part of the fun.
I really enjoyed chowing down on Buffalo supreme wings. They didn’t last long at all, that’s for sure. It was bordering on embarrassing, but I couldn’t help myself. That happens with me and wings a lot.

I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes.

Buffalo Supreme Wings
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Note: I like my Buffalo wings saucy, you might end up with leftover sauce. That's not a bad thing.
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pounds chicken wings, flats and drumettes separated, tips discarded
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the sauce
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup Buffalo wing hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 cup celery leaves, chopped
  • 2 cups crumbled blue cheese
Instructions
  1. Place wings in a large resealable baggie or container.
  2. Add the oil, salt and pepper. Seal and toss to coat.
  3. Refrigerate for 4-8 hours.
  4. Cook wings as desired. Click here for our guide on cooking wings in a grill, smoker, deep fryer, oven, or a Char-Broil Big Easy.
  5. Toss wings with sauce before serving.
For the sauce
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat. Keep warm until ready to use.

Cajun Corn-on-the-Cob on the Char-Broil Big Easy

The Char-Broil Big Easy is a fantastic all-around cooker. And as much as I use it to cook poultry, that’s not all it does perfectly. This Cajun corn-on-the-cob is just another great side dish. As with just about anything on the Big Easy, it’s no-fuss and as easy as can be. The corn comes out packed with spicy buttery goodness, cooked perfectly.
There is a nice little kick to Cajun corn-on-the-cob. If you’re worried it might be too spicy (it’s really perfect to me), cut back on the cayenne and red pepper flake. I wouldn’t eliminate them completely. That little heat balances well with the sweetness of the corn.

Love your Big Easy as much I love mine? Check out my Big Easy Add-Ons page and my free Big Easy eCookbook!

Cajun Corn-on-the-Cob on the Char-Broil Big Easy
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Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
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Serves: 4 servings
 
Note: To cook all 4 ears (8 pieces in all) of corn you'll need a Bunk Bed basket for your Big Easy.
Ingredients
  • 4 ears corn-on-the-cob, husks and silks removed, cut in half
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Instructions
  1. Fire up your Big Easy.
  2. Place the 8 pieces of corn onto pieces of foil.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients and brush over the tops of the corn. Rotate and brush the other side of the corn.
  4. Seal tightly in the foil and place into the Big Easy basket.
  5. Cook in the Big Easy for 20-25 minutes or until the corn is tender.

Droopy’s BBQ Food Truck

I’m happy grabbing lunch or dinner off of a food truck. I’m even happier when the food truck is right by my house. And I’m flat out ecstatic when the food is absolutely fantastic. Like the last few lunches I’ve gotten from Droopy’s BBQ food truck right here in Indianapolis. Right off the bat I was happy that Droopy’s puts their sauces right out on the table. Get what you need. No begging for more sauce at the window. There are three: a sweet Memphis sauce, a Carolina vinegar sauce, and my all-time fav, a kicked up habanero sauce. Next up, service. Service with a smile. Happy service. My kind of service.
The brisket sandwich is just to die for. No skimpy serving size here. No dry meat. No thick chunks of fat. Perfectly smoked and seasoned brisket. Tender, oh so tender.  I grabbed some sauces and slammed this baby down like I hadn’t eaten in a month. It was delicious!
Not enough BBQ joints serve rib tips. I actually prefer them over pork ribs. Tender and lightly smoked I eat them like popcorn: one after another. Look how many of those gorgeous rip tips you get from Droopy’s. You aren’t going away hungry, that’s for sure. You’re going away happy.
I’ve tried a few of Droopy’s sides and I like them all. By far my favorites are the BBQ baked beans (nice spiciness with BBQ mixed in) and the spicy coleslaw (definitely a kick!). I cannot wait for Droopy’s BBQ food truck to return to a place near me. I’ll be there early.

Droopy’s BBQ rates high on my ‘Mater Rater. But you probably already knew that.

Bandit Wings

The best wings pack flavor into every bite, all the way through. These bandit wings have flavor and then some. They are marinated overnight, picking up a light soy sauce flavor along with a hint of cumin and chili powder. Sort of southwestern meets Asian.

Bandit wings definitely to not require a sauce. You don’t want to hide the fantastic flavors. I did have a little blue cheese dressing on the side for dipping but I used it sparingly.
The original recipe called for garnishing the cooked wings with black sesame seeds. Apparently they’re as rare as a unicorn here so I went with plain ole ‘normal’ sesame seeds. You get that bit of sesame seed flavor either way.

I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes.

Bandit Wings
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pounds chicken wings, flats and drumettes separated, tips discarded
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder (I used only 1 teaspoon so add to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place wings in a large resealable baggie or container.
  2. Add the soy sauce, cumin powder, salt and chili powder, seal, and shake to coat.
  3. Refrigerate for 4-8 hours.
  4. Cook wings as desired. Click here for our guide on cooking wings in a grill, smoker, deep fryer, oven, or a Char-Broil Big Easy.
  5. When wings are done serve garnished with sesame seeds.