The smoke is rolling today.
And the applewood will be kind to our chicken. Mind you, it always is. Today, I’m adapting this recipe, developed by Alton Brown, to our favorite way to cook, that being pit-side in the peaceful outdoors. Alton calls this Smoked Paprika Chicken Thighs with Potato and Onion, and if you follow that link, you’ll get the particulars and what not, but for the backyard pit master, all you need to know is that there are chicken thighs on a raised rack, dripping their seasoned goodness over a manly sized tray of sliced potatoes and onions. Yes indeedy, quite a mouthful!
We start with boneless chicken thighs. You can debone them, or go to the local farmers market and look for the chickens that seem to have a difficult time staying upright. Either way, keep the skin on and intact.
Instead of a traditional rub on these thighs, I concocted a paste out of olive oil, smoked paprika, kosher salt and cracked black pepper. That paste is given every opportunity to completely coat these thighs. I like to throw ’em all in a Ziploc bag and rough ’em up a bit.
Then a flavorful mixture of pimento stuffed green olives, lemon zest, and fresh garlic, all minced and thoroughly mixed, is generously spooned under the skin of the chicken. Put those stuffed thighs on hold for a bit, using some sort of wire cooling rack or other raised rack to let them rest.
While that chicken is sitting there, already looking and smelling awesome, get some potatoes and onions sliced. It’s best to get the slices uniform in thickness, so if you have a slicer gadget, now is the time to dig it out. Layer the slices, alternating between potato and onion, in a cake pan or cookie sheet. Make it look good. Presentation counts in this one.
Now onto the grill with all this. Put the tray of potatoes and onions on the indirect side. Carefully set the rack of thighs on top and directly over the potatoes, so all those flavors on the chicken can drip down while cooking, and season that tray of taters and onions. Close the lid, grab a cold griller type beverage, and be ready for some amazing smells, aka, the griller’s reward.
The anticipation had become unbearable at this point, so much so, that I just had to take a peek after about thirty minutes.
Not yet finished, but already taking on that great color that I was looking for. The seasoned juices rendering from the chicken thighs dripping down into the tray of potatoes is already looking like a winner.
But hey, enough ogling those thighs. We have to close that lid to let this meal finish. And when it does, well. all I can say is,
Life Is Better Wood Fired!