Monday, July 18, 2011

Cupcake Chicken

I am not a big fan of dark meat chicken, but this recipe sounds too interesting not to try. I guess I would also need to get a smoker.

  • 12 medium skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 cups Jack's Old South Huney Muney Cluck Rub, or 1 recipe Basic Chicken Rub (see additional recipe below)
  • 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the sauce:
  • 1 cup Jack's Old South Vinegar Sauce or Basic Vinegar Sauce (see additional recipe below)
  • 2 cups Jack's Old South Hickory Sauce or Basic Hickory Sauce (see additional recipe below)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups seedless blackberry preserves
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
What you'll need:
  • Poultry shears
  • 1 silicone cupcake mold, with holes punched through each cup (or an aluminum cupcake pan, also with holes punched through each cup)
  • 1 13 X 9-inch aluminum baking pan
  • 1 aluminum baking sheet
Heat a smoker to 300°F.

Using poultry shears, remove the knuckle on each end of each chicken thigh bone. Then trim the excess fat off the skin and meat of each thigh until the pieces are 3 to 4 inches wide, leaving about 1/4 inch of excess skin at the edges of the meat. Apply the chicken rub evenly to both sides of the thighs.

In the cupcake mold, place each thigh, skin side down, in an individual cup. Sit the mold in the baking pan, and pour the chicken broth into the pan, being careful not to pour it directly on top of the chicken. Place the pan in the smoker and cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the baking pan from the smoker. Gently flip the thighs onto the baking sheet. Season the tops of the thighs with salt and pepper. Return the thighs to the mold cups, skin side up, and put the baking pan back in the smoker. Cook for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: Put all the sauce ingredients into a blender and blend until thoroughly combined. In a medium pan over medium heat, warm the sauce until it is hot but not boiling. Set aside.

Remove the pan from the smoker, and unmold the chicken thighs onto the baking sheet, skin side up. Brush the thighs lightly with the warm sauce. Place the baking sheet in the smoker and cook for 30 minutes to allow the sauce to caramelize into the chicken skin.

Remove the baking sheet from the smoker, and serve the cupcake chicken immediately.

Basic Chicken Rub
  • 2/3 cup chili powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons onion powder
  • 4 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients thoroughly. You can store this rub in an airtight container indefinitely.

Basic Vinegar Sauce
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
In a stockpot over medium heat, combine the vinegar, ketchup, and hot sauce. Stir together. Pour in all the remaining ingredients and stir to dissolve. Do not boil. When spices are thoroughly dissolved, take the pot off the heat, and funnel the sauce into a bottle. The sauce will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 year.

Basic Hickory Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons smoked sweet paprika
  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until thoroughly combined. Pour into a medium pot, and stir continuously over medium heat until heated through. Do not allow it to boil. Remove and use while hot. If reserving for later use, allow the mixture to cool; then pour it into a large bottle or container and store, refrigerated, for up to 1 year.

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