Monday, September 12, 2011

Smoked Chicken Thighs w/ Roasted Garlic Mustard Vinaigrette

My parents were so amazing helping me get the house ready for our stuff to arrive last month.  My in-laws helped move all the crap out before I got here.  And my mom and dad were here with me every day for a week cleaning, repairing, and painting.  The only thing my dad requested in return was a "kick-ass meal."  Direct quote.  (Also, use of our military discount for various Home Depot purchases including new carpet for heir house helped with payment, saving them nearly $2,000 this year in total.)

Smoking was the obvious go-to option for us to make our parents some awesome food.  It isn't fussy or complicated, it just takes some time.  Neither of them have smokers, so it isn't food they can make for themselves on any occasion.  We tested this with skin on and off, thighs and breasts.  We agreed that skin-off thighs (bone-in) were the best.  The interior fat melts out so there no globby bits which is my general issue with thighs.  The dark meat is really delicious with the flavor profile we had chosen and stays juicy.  Also, my dad loves chicken thighs, so I knew that would make him happy.

Kick-ass Smoked Menu
Spicy Smoked Salmon w/ cream cheese, capers, and onion on toasted bread
Smoked Chicken Thighs w/ Roasted Garlic Mustard Vinaigrette
Quinoa w/ Caramelized Onions, Zucchini and Feta
Simple Summer Salad
Cardamom Lemon Rice Pudding

Roasted Garlic Mustard Vinaigrette
2/3 C extra virgin olive oil
1/2 C whole grain mustard
1/3 C white wine vinegar
8 cloves (1/2 head) roasted garlic
2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped parsley

   Combine first seven ingredients.  Use a blender (upright or immersion) to emulsify.  Stir in parsley.
   Great on veggies, grilled/smoked meat, salads, etc.
   Will keep in refrigerator for two weeks.

Smoked Chicken Thighs
3.5-4 lbs bone-in chicken thighs (~12 pieces)
1 recipe vinaigrette (above)
mesquite and hickory wood chunks
Our Basic Smoking Dry Rub:
1 Tbsp sweet paprika
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp sea salt
1.5 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp hot paprika

   Combine rub ingredients. 
   Remove skin and large bits of excess fat from thighs.  Spread a little oil over thighs.  Liberally rub with spice mixture.
   Set up smoker according to product specifications with equal amounts of hickory and mesquite wood chunks.
   Smoke for 2 hours.  Turn over once during cooking.  Baste with vinaigrette every 30 minutes, starting as soon as you put the chicken on.  Finish with a drizzle of vinaigrette
   Serves 6.

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