When Smoke Gets in Your Chicken Thighs

I’ve used my gas grill a lot but as I get older I find myself gravitating toward charcoal. I’m not quite sure if it’s the taming of the fire that fires me up (no pun intended) but I’m excited to be out recreating some of my favorite nostalgic flavors over charcoal.

1/4 cup (60 mL) fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp (15 mL) liquid honey
1/2 tsp (2 mL) garlic powder
1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground cumin
1/4 tsp (1 mL) sweet paprika
12 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in
2 handfuls hickory wood chips, soaked in water for at least 2 hours

The Rainford Method

1. Combine the lime juice, oil, mustard, honey, garlic powder, cumin and paprika. Place the chicken thighs in a resealable plastic bag with the marinade and refrigerate For 2 hours.

2. Fire up your charcoal grill and prep the grill for cooking over indirect heat. You need a temperature of around 350ºF (180ºF) to grill the chicken. For gas grills, preheat the grill to 350ºF (180ºC) then turn off one side of the grill to achieve indirect heat.

3. Once the charcoal grill is heated, place two handfuls of soaked hickory wood chips on top of the lit charcoal. For gas barbecues, place the hickory chips in a foil pouch and place the pouch directly on the heated side of the grill.

4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place over the cooler part of the grill. Allow the smoke to penetrate the thighs. Cook for 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Move the thighs over direct heat and cook for 6 to 7 minutes per side or until well-marked and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170ºF (77ºC).

Makes 8 servings

Rob Rainford Born to Grill cookbook coverExcerpted from Rob Rainford’s Born to Grill. Copyright © 2012 by Rob Rainford. Photographs Copyright © 2012 by Mike McColl. Excerpted by permission of Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada, Limited. All rights reserved.