These smoked chicken thighs are juicy, tender and loaded with flavor. The blood orange glaze adds a sweet and spicy kick that everyone will love.
Trimming and Preparing Chicken Thighs
Since this is just a backyard recipe we don’t need to do anything crazy when it comes to prepping the chicken thighs. When I compete in KCBS competitions it is a painstaking meticulous process involving a number of steps. Just look for any bone fragments or cartilage that may have been missed by the butcher. I also like to take off any big pieces of fat that are hanging over the thighs. Flatten out the thighs and square them up so they cook as evenly as possible.
After the thighs have been trimmed let them sit in the fridge uncovered for at least a few hours to dry out the skin. This will help the skin crisp up when it cooks. About 30 minutes before I am going to cook I will take the thighs out of the fridge and season them generously on both sides with a bbq dry rub of your choosing. I have been using the Yardbird dry rub from plowboys bbq for my chicken both in competition and at home.
How to Smoke Chicken thighs on a pellet grill.
Pellet grills are my favorite way to smoke meat at home. You don’t have to tend to a fire or constantly add fuel. I personally have a RT-700 pellet grill from Rectec. It’s not only a great looking grill but it has great temperature control and can be monitored or adjusted from anywhere using the app connected to WiFi.
Chicken thighs absorb smoke quickly and are a much smaller cut than briskets or pork shoulders allowing you to cook at. Higher temperature. This will give you much crispier skin than if you were to smoke at a lower temperature. Another trick to getting crispy skin is to spray the chicken thighs with Avocado oil pan spray every 30 minutes during the cooking process. It's a little more expensive but avocado oil is much cleaner and has a smoke point above 500 degrees F.
Blood Orange Glaze
Blood oranges have been available in my imperfect foods box lately so I’ve been taking advantage of using the beautiful citrus fruit. Traditionally blood oranges are used in mostly Mediterranean cuisine but I find it also lends itself well to Asian recipes. The flavor of blood oranges has notes of raspberry combined with a sweet & slightly sour finish. The combination of Orange Blossom honey and Blue Agave Sriracha from Yellowbird balances out the tangy bite of the blood orange. It also gives the glaze a glossy Lacquered finish when brushed on the chicken thighs.
What temperature to cook chicken thighs?
Poultry should always be cooked to at least 160 degrees F. to prevent salmonella and other food borne illness. That being said I prefer to cook my dark meat longer to around 185-190 degrees F. Dark meat has a higher fat content and will remain juicy even when cooked to a higher internal temperature. Cooking to 185 degrees F. will also give you that fall off the bone tenderness that I prefer from dark meat. I use the same rules when smoking chicken wings. When preparing chicken breast I only cook to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. otherwise it drys out very quickly. The probes that come with most pellet grills are ok but I always compare with an instant read thermometer. They're also the best way to check for tenderness when probing larger cuts like brisket.
More Chicken Recipes
- Easy Chicken Pot Pie Casserole
- Chesapeake Garlic Parmesan Wings
- Bacon Wrapped Chicken Lollipops
- Buffalo Chicken Fatty
Smoked Chicken Thighs w/ Blood Orange Glaze
Pellet Grill (I used the Rectec RT-700)
- 1 tsp Avocado Oil Spray
- 3 tbsp Butter
Trim chicken thighs, cut any extra pieces of fat or bone fragments. if possible let thighs sit uncovered in the fridge for a few hours to dry out the skin. Once its time to season coat chicken thighs on both sides with bbq rub then let come up to room temperature.
Pre Heat pellet grill to 375 degrees F. once grill has come to temp smoke the chicken thighs skin up for 1 hour. Spray Chicken thighs with avocado oil spray every 30 minutes.
After an about one hour move the chicken thighs to a pan with 3 tbsp of butter and cook until chicken has reached an internal temp of 160 degrees F. and skin is crispy.
Brush chicken thighs with glaze every 15 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 185 degrees F.
Summertime Fresh Peach & Corn Salsa
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When peaches are in season you need to take full advantage and make this amazing Fresh Peach Salsa. The fresh Peaches are complimented by diced Roma tomatoes, red. onion, diced jalapeño and cilantro making this salsa a summertime staple.
When are Peaches in Season?
Peach season can vary depending on the climate and the cultivator but generally peaches are in season from as early as may through the end of August. For me here in Maryland peaches truly hit there peak around the 4th of July and can last into early fall if the weather stays warm enough. In Georgia the season is much longer due to is southern climate making it one of the nations largest producers of peaches.
The Peach was first introduced to Georgia by Franciscan Monks in the 16th century but after the civil war peaches became a huge crop in the south as farmers moved away from cotton. At its peach Georgia produced over 8 million bushels in 1928 due to the invention of the refrigerated railcar.
Can I use Frozen or Canned Peaches to make Peach Salsa
Sure, you can do anything you want but for optimal freshness nothing beats using peaches while they're at their freshness. If they're not in season look for frozen organic peaches as your best alternative option. I try to avoid using canned peaches for this recipe because they're normally packed in a overly sweet syrup and the texture can be mushy.
Why I use Sherry Vinegar
Sherry vinegar is the best bang for your buck in my opinion. Balsamic vinegar gets all of the headlines but you're probably not even getting true balsamic vinegar. Authentic balsamic vinegar is made from pressed grapes and must follow rigid aging standards. This makes it insanely exspecive (up to $200 for a 4oz bottle). most balsamic vinegar you find on the shelves is nothing more than a base vinegar with color and sweeteners added.
Sherry vinegar is produced in Spain and much like balsamic vinegar is made to very specific specifications. However sherry vinegar can be purchased for very reasonable prices and much closer resembles the traditional methods of preparation. Sherry vinegar is aged for a minimum of 2 years and some can be aged 50 years or longer. I use sherry vinegar for all of my salad dressings, marinates and sauces. I think it has a far superior flavor over comparably priced balsamic vinegar.
What to serve Fresh Peach Salsa with
Fresh Peach salsa can really be served with anything but I really enjoy it with grilled chicken or chilled shrimp. You can also heat up the fresh salsa and serve it warm over grilled pork chops. For parties I love to just serve peach salsa along side my favorite corn tortilla chips paired with fresh guacamole. It's a very versatile salsa that really is a great step up from more traditional varieties.
More Summertime Recipes
- Lemon Thyme Sun Tea
- Broccoli Salad w/ White BBQ Sauce
- Corn & Avocado Summer Salad
- Bang Bang Shrimp Dip
- Low Fat Pasta Salad that Actually Tastes Good!!
Fresh Peach Salsa
Remove the pit from the peaches and dice into small 1/4 inch pieces. Also dice your onions and tomatoes as well as chopping the cilantro and shaving the corn from the cob. Add all these ingredients to a large bowl
Add seasonings along with olive oil and sherry vinegar then fold until all ingredients are well coated. Chill for 30 minutes before serving. Will last up to one week in the fridge stored in an air tight container.
Crispy Zucchini Fries w/ Vodka Sauce
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Whether its the peak of zucchini season or the dead of winter these Zucchini Fries with vodka sauce are a hit with friends and family alike.The crispy crunch of golden fried zucchini fries dipped in creamy homemade vodka sauce, what could be better.
How to Make Zucchini fries with Vodka Sauce
If we told you that fried foods can be healthy and still taste fresh and delicious, you wouldn’t believe us… right? If you don’t, then we’d bet our last Las Vegas chip that you’ve never tried zucchini fries before. What are zucchini fries? Our recipe takes tender slices of zucchini, hand dredged in tangy garlic and parmesan crumbs and deep-fried them to crispy perfection.
These yummy fries are both creamy and crunchy at the same time, plus they count towards your daily serving of veggies! Tasty, carb-free and full of fiber… what’s not to like?
And that’s not all! Be sure to dip these babies into this creamy vodka sauce. Herby and fragrant with a sublime chilli kick, this sauce is simple to make and perfectly complements the crunchy mouthfeel of these divine zucchini fries.
Once you’ve polished off the fries, if you want to drink the vodka sauce straight from the dish, we won’t tell anyone.
If you have friends coming over, these fries are perfect as a snack or an appetizer. Serve them with a few refreshing chilled beverages, or your favorite Brew, and you’re all set for the night.
Fries and ketchup just got fancy, people.
What are Zucchini?
Zucchini (also known as a courgette) is a summer squash. It’s got an extremely mild, fresh flavour and because it goes with everything it can be cooked a variety of different ways, whether grilled, roasted, sautéed or fried – you can even bake it into a cake or use it as a substitute for pasta. It’s the swiss-army knife of vegetables!
Low in calories and full of fiber as well as vitamins A, B and C, zucchini are super healthy, so you can eat these tasty fries without the guilt.
When are Zucchini in Season?
Although zucchini are available all year round, they come into season in the summer, between May and August, depending on where you live.
Zucchini thrive in warm soil and air, and one plant can produce up to a staggering ten pounds of fruit in one season! That means you can make a lot of zucchini fries!
How to pick and store Zucchini
When buying zucchini from the store or market, always go for smaller ones as they are much more tender and flavoursome. Large ones tend to taste watery and bland, which is not what you want when making fries.Avoid wrinkled zucchini or ones covered in scratches and cuts; this is a sign that they are past their prime and won’t taste as good.
The best way to store zucchini is to store them in your fridge in a plastic or paper bag. They’ll keep for up to two weeks, although the skin may shrivel up a bit.Store your zucchini whole until you’re ready to use them. Cutting them in advance will cause them to go stringy.
You can also freeze zucchini and they will keep for about three months. Slice them horizontally, boil them for two minutes and blanch them in ice water to help them keep their texture and colour. When you’re ready to make your fries just take them out of the freezer, let them defrost, pat away the excess liquid and you’re ready to go!
What is Vodka Sauce?
You may look at this recipe and go, “Hang on a moment, vodka sauce?! Wow, that sounds unusual!”.
However, is it really not that weird? We use alcohol in cooking all the time to add extra flavor, from a splash of vermouth in a mushroom risotto or a glug of red wine in a spaghetti Bolognese.
Tomatoes and vodka are a classic flavor combination. They work really well together as the peppery vodka perfectly complements the sweetness of the tomato. Vodka also works to bring the heavy cream, parmesan and marinara in this sauce together, creating a heavenly flavor combination as well as a smooth and silky texture to dip your fries into.
And before you ask, the alcohol in the vodka is burned away when you simmer the sauce, so you can’t get drunk off shots of vodka sauce. Believe us; we’ve tried.
How to deep fry using a Dutch Oven
Not all of us have the luxury of a deep fat fryer at home, but this shouldn’t stop you from being able to create delicious deep-fried treats. We recommend using a Dutch oven to create these zucchini fries.
You may be used to searing meats and shallow frying in a Dutch oven, but you may be wondering how you can use one for deep frying. A Dutch oven is excellent for deep frying, as the deep walls will prevent potentially dangerous hot oil splashes, and the cast iron will help retain the heat for longer, meaning that you can fry in batches.
Heat your oil to temperature slowly and have a damp towel on hand in case of fire. Although these zucchini fries are incredibly delicious, we wouldn’t want you to burn your house down for them.
How much Oil Should you use to fry?
We’d recommend using about three inches of oil and frying your fries in batches. As tempting as it may be to throw all of your fries in at the same time to save time, this means that they won’t be as crispy, and nobody wants a soggy piece of zucchini as a snack.
You’ll want your oil to be at the right temperature before you start frying, otherwise your zucchini fries will absorb the oil and end up greasy and soggy. A great way to tell that your oil is ready to go is by throwing a small cube of bread into your Dutch oven. If it crisps up, you’re ready to start cooking!
You can use a variety of different utensils to take your fries out of the hot oil, from a strainer to a tong or slotted spoon. Of course, if you don’t have a Dutch oven or you want these zucchini fries to be healthier you can oven bake them instead, but come on, where is the fun in that?!
What you Need For Safe Frying at Home.
More Tasty Veggie Inspiration
- Summertime Fresh Peach & Corn Salsa
- Low Fat Pasta Salad that Actually Tastes Good!!
- Keto Kale Rockefeller
- Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
- Ratatouille Caprese
- Broccoli Salad w/ White BBQ Sauce
- 1 cup Marinara Sauce
- 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
- 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan
- 2 oz Vodka
- 2 tbsp Diced Onion
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1 tbsp Chopped Garlic
- 1 tsp Crushed Red Chili Flakes
in a saucepan over medium low heat sauté garlic and onions in butter along with chili flakes until softened. Deglazr pan with vodka and reduce until the alcohol has burned off.
Add heavy cream to the sauce pan and reduce by half, then pour in the marinara sauce and grated parmesan. Once sauce begins to simmer remove sauce from heat. Blend sauce until smooth and serve.
Crispy Zucchini Fries
- 24 oz Zucchini
- 1 tbsp Real Salt
- 2 Qt Vegetable Oil
Cut Zucchini into roughly 3 inch by 1/2 inch fries. Toss fries with salt and let them sit for about 30 minutes. Rince under cold water then pat dry with paper towels.
Prepare the egg wash by combining Eggs, milk, hot sauce and italian seasoning. Next prepare the flour dredge by combining flour, corn starch and seasonings.
In a large wide pot fill about half way with oil and heat to 350 degrees F.
Place a handfull of zucchini fries in the flour dredges and coat throughly then coat in the egg wash and finally back in the flour dredge. Ten carfully place the fries in the oil making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Fries will take about 4-5 minutes per batch.
As easch batch is done pace fries on the cooling rack and season immediately with salt. Reapeat this prosess until all fries are cooked.
Easy At Home Boiled Lobster w/ Drawn Butter
Boiled lobster at home is easier than you think. Grab a lobster Bibb because in a few easy steps you'll be dinning on this Crimson Crustacean from the confines of home whether you want to or not.
Boiled Lobster during a pandemic??? WTH!!
It might seem strange to be doing a boiled lobster recipe during a global pandemic. However the price of Coldwater lobster has actually dropped significantly since most restaurants are closed and demand is at an all time low. China is actually the biggest importer of live lobster and since the Coronavirus hit China the demand and ability to ship overseas has almost stopped completely causing the drastic price drop. I recently called up my local seafood market and had them order me two 2 lb. live lobsters. I was blown away by how cheap they were. Now I’m not saying this is a budget friendly meal by any means but if you’ve got a few bucks and wanted to try boiling lobster at home how’s the time to do it.
A brief history of Boiled Lobster
The first mention of Boiling lobster goes all the way back thousands of years to first century Greece. Vikings actually ate lobster during their deep sea voyages. Early settlers in the northern Colonies lived off of lobsters because they were so plentiful, sometimes known as the poor man's protein.
Later lobsters were even served in prison. It was served so often that there were complaints that it was cruel and unusual punishment. It wasn’t until the advent of the railways that lobster went from prison fare to exotic upscale cuisine. Cross country travelers developed a taste for lobster often perceived as a dish of the well to do. In World War II lobster was one of the only foods not rationed by the government. This made lobster affordable and readily available option for Americans. This however would cause a surge in this crustaceans popularity causing the price to surge.
Why do you cook lobsters alive?
First and foremost lobster is best when it’s fresh and live lobster is as fresh as you can get. Secondly lobster meat decays very quickly causing the meat to become mushy and have an unpleasant taste. The most important reason to cook lobsters while they’re still alive is safety. Lobsters are highly susceptible to a bacteria known as vibrio. After a lobster is only dead for a few hours, vibrio can begin to show up on the meat. Even cooking the lobster won’t kill all the bacteria. Vibrio is no fun and can even cause death in rare occasions. Mostly when consumed by people with weakened immune system‘s
Do lobsters scream when you cook them?
No, lobsters don’t have vocal cords and it’s uncertain if their pain receptors even realize they’re being cooked. If you're having a moral dilemma over preparing lobsters you can place them in the freezer for about 45 minutes. This “puts them to sleep and is considered the most humane way to cook lobster. Alton Brown said it best when he brought up the point that lobster's closest relative is the cockroach and I don’t have any issue killing those. My advice is you do what feels right to you. I drop them in the hot water as soon as it comes to a boil. If you feel that putting them in the freezer puts your conscience at ease then go with that.
How to Extract the meat from Lobster.
There are a lot of different ways to break down a lobster. I’ve linked a Gordon Ramsay video below that is short and to the point. I like to chill my lobster immediately after boiling. It makes them easy to handle and ensures that they don’t get overcooked. Then I reheat them in copious amounts of drawn butter and serve with crusty bread. A few tools that will come in handy are a good sturdy pair of kitchen shears, seafood forks and even a lobster picking set.
How long to cook a lobster?
- 1 pound lobster 8-10 minutes
- 1.5 pound lobster 11-12 minutes
- 2 pound lobster 15 minutes
- 2.5 pound lobster 20 minutes
- 3 pound lobster 25 minutes
How to make Drawn Butter
The easiest way to make clarified butter is to cut a stick of salted butter into 1 inch chunks and melt in a heavy bottom saucepan over the lowest heat setting. Don’t stir the butter because we want the butter solids to separate from the fat. Once the butter has melted you will see a foamy white layer on top. Using a spoon skim off as much of the foam as possible. Then pour the golden butter into a Pyrex Measuring Cup leaving the white milk solids that sink to the bottom in the pan. You can stop there and be done or you can take it one step further by pouring the clarified butter through a few layers of cheesecloth to get any leftover milk solids.
More Seafood Recipe Ideas
- New Orleans Style Barbecue Shrimp
- Seafood Salad Sandwich w/ Martin's Potato Roll
- Creamy White Crab Chili
- Chesapeake Crab Butter Sauce
- Keto Seafood Imperial
- Chesapeake Crab Dip
- Cedar Plank Smoked Crab Cakes
- Ultimate Guide To Steamed Blue Crabs
12 Qt Stock Pot
- 2 Live Lobsters Between 1.5-2lbs. Each
- 1 stick Butter
- 1/4 cup Real Salt
- 2 Lemons
Fill 12 Qt Stock Pot about 3/4 full of water along with Real salt and 1.5 Sqeezed Lemons. Bring to a boil
Place lobsters into the pot quickly and be careful as them ma splash. Boil for about 16 minutes until fully cooked. Test by grabing one of the intenas of the lobster. if they pop off with little tension they are done.
Remove lobsters from the stock pot and place in an ice bath to chill immediately