The weather last week was absolutely incredible for mid-February in Northeast Indiana. Mid-upper 60s all week and I took advantage of it in a big way! I cleaned my Weber Performer Deluxe, got a couple bags of charcoal, some propane canisters, and grilled out pretty much every night of the week....it was GLORIOUS!! Saturday I ended up smoking a rack of spare ribs for the first time in shorts and a t-shirt while sippin' on a Yeungling...IN FEBRUARY!! The spare ribs turned out alright, but I wasn't quite happy with them enough to share them quite yet....so I am going to continue working on the recipe and hopefully will have that to you soon. Of course, now we are back to normal February weather...blah! So, my smoking experiments may have to wait, unless I am feeling bold.
But, one thing that I was VERY happy with were these Cajun BBQ Chicken thighs. The one reason I absolutely love chicken thighs is because they are soooo much cheaper than chicken breasts. For typically half the price I can get 4 chicken thighs, but they don't seem to be all that popular. I believe the reason why is because they are a little intimidating to the average home cook. But, I promise you, there isn't anything to be scared of! Two things you want to make sure of is 1) Getting the skin nice and crispy and 2) Obtaining a temperature of 175F. The reason why we want a higher temperature compared to chicken breast (165F) is because chicken thighs contain a lot more connective tissue so they can withstand a lot higher heat than the breast. But, if you don't cook them to a higher temperature you typically get a chewy mess because that connective tissue hasn't broken down. You know what the best way to achieve this temperature? Get your butt over to Thermoworks and pick yourself up an Thermapen MK4. You want to talk about a useful piece of cooking equipment, they are totally worth the money and would make a perfect gift for a cook in your family. Easy to use, accurate, durable; you can't beat them! Now onto the recipe!
Cajun BBQ Chicken Thighs
Prep time: 10m | Cook time: 30min | Total time: 40min | Yield: 4 servings
- 6 Tbsp paprika
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp ground white pepper
- 2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp onion powder
- 1 Tbsp dried thyme
- 1 Tbsp cayenne
- 4 chicken thighs
- Barbeque Sauce, as needed
- Mix the first 8 ingredients together and store in an container. This is a standard cajun seasoning that can be used on a number of different things.
- Season the tops and bottoms of the chicken thighs generously with the cajun seasoning. I prefer to let them sit overnight in this seasoning, but you can use them immediately if you don't have the time.
- Heat grill, either charcoal or gas, so that there is a direct heat side and an indirect side. Whenever the grill is hot, place the chicken thighs, skin side down, on the direct heat side. Grill for 4 minutes and then rotate 90 degress and grill for another 4 minutes until skin is crispy. Watch for flare ups during this period and make sure the skin doesn't burn.
- Once skin is crispy transfer the chicken to the indirect side, skin side up, cover and continue cooking. Once you reach an internal temperature of about 160F, go ahead and apply some barbeque sauce on the tops. Cover and continue to cook until you reach an internal temperature of 170F.
- Remove from grill and let rest for 5 min, the cooking processing should continue during this rest period and get you to exactly 175F. Grab some napkins and dig in!
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This is one of the Pepple Household's go-to meals. These Chicken Fajita Quesadillas are delicious, easy, quick, and best of all, cheap! Not only do Lee and I love them, but our son Adam has grown very fond of them as well...but lets be serious, he really is all about the cheese and quesadilla part. There really isn't to much to say about this one, it's just one of those goodies that doesn't take a lot of effort that everybody needs in their arsenal. So, put this recipe in yours and give it a try. Don't forget to let me know what you think in the comments!
Chicken Fajita Quesadilla
Prep time: 10m | Cook time: 30min | Total time: 40min | Yield: 4 servings
- 1 Lbs. Chicken, sliced
- 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced
- 1 package Old El Paso fajita mix
- 2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 4 flour tortilla, 12"
- canola oil, as needed
- Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, add in a tablespoon of canola oil and brown the sliced chicken. Add in the sliced red pepper and jalapeno. Cook until softened. Add in the fajita seasoning and 1/2 cup of water. Stir and cook until thickened. Remove from heat.
- Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add in a tablespoon of canola oil. Lay tortilla down in pan, on one half of the tortilla add 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar, 1/4 portion of chicken, 1/4 portion of peppers, and fold the other half of the tortilla. Cook tortilla until golden brown, about 2 minutes, flip over and brown the other side. Repeat process with remaining tortillas. Cut, serve, and enjoy!
Super Bowl is right around the corner and chicken wing prices are through the roof. But, you just cannot have a Super Bowl party without chicken wings....you just can't! One tip, never buy frozen chicken wings. Because most likely they are on the older end in regards to fresh chicken wings, that were then thrown in a freezer before they expired. The flavor profile is completely different between fresh and frozen. I tend to buy the whole fresh chicken wing, as they are usually cheaper than pre-cut ones. The more times something is processed (in this instance, cut into individual joints) the higher the price. Or you could always just cook whole chicken wings...they just tend to be tougher to eat in my opinion. Here is a great video demonstrating how to cut a whole chicken wing -->
Of course there are a billion wing sauce recipes out there and there are a billion excellent ones, this just happens to be the way I do it and my favorite wing sauce. There is something about Sriracha... it's a slow heat, meaning it doesn't bite you right off the bat. Then I also add in some brown sugar so you get a sweet taste that blends right into this spicy, smokey sriracha flavor. Then we come to how you actually cook the chicken wings, everybody has their own preference. But, me, I prefer to have mine grilled...I like a little bit of char on my chicken wing. If you are looking to try a new wing sauce, be sure to give this a try, you will not be disappointed!
Sriracha Wing Sauce
Prep time: 5m | Cook time: 10min | Total time: 15min | Yield: 1 1/4 cups
- 2/3 cup Sriracha
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
- 1.5 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1/4 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
- Combine the hot sauce, butter, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and brown sugar in a pot and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer while stirring with a whisk. As soon as the liquid begins to bubble on the sides of the pot, remove from heat. Process the sauce with an immersion blender or blender to fully emulsify the sauce. Season with salt if need be.
- Use the sauce immediately or store in a container in the refrigerator.
Always remember to cook your chicken to a proper temperature of 165F. To make sure you are cooking and holding all of your food correctly, be sure to get yourself a Thermapen MK4. These are the best thermometers on the market and I use mine pretty much every time I cook. This is one kitchen gadget that will not waste space!