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Barbecue Secrets

Recipe of the Week: Big Daddy's Thai Chicken Thighs

May 25, 2013


Makes 4 servings

Ian “Big Daddy” Baird is a sometime member of The Butt Shredders barbecue team who has traveled in Asia. He tells me that one of the best pieces of meat he’s ever eaten was a whole chicken thigh and drumstick he purchased from a street vendor out the window of a train as he waited to cross the Thai/Malaysian border. He tried numerous times to re-create it himself, but it wasn’t until he married this recipe with real barbeque technique that he came close. Serve this chicken with some steamed rice, grilled veggies and cold beer.

For the chicken:

10 to 12 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on

6 Tbsp | 90 mL fresh lime juice

1/4 cup | 50 mL fresh orange juice

1/4 cup | 50 mL Thai fish sauce

1/4 cup | 50 mL peanut or canola oil

1/4 cup | 50 mL raw sugar or

lightly packed brown sugar

1 Tbsp | 15 mL Asian chili sauce

2 Tbsp | 25 mL finely minced ginger

5 to 10 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup | 50 mL minced fresh basil

1/4 cup | 50 mL green onions

1/4 cup | 50 mL cilantro

For the basting mixture:

1/2 cup | 125 mL peanut oil

1 Tbsp | 15 mL lime juice

Trim the chicken thighs of excess fat. Mix all the remaining ingredients together and put them in a resealable plastic bag. Place the chicken in the bag, remove the air, and seal it. Marinate the chicken at least
2 hours, and up to a maximum of 8 hours, in the fridge.

            If you’re using a gas or charcoal grill, prepare it for low to medium indirect cooking. (That’s where you turn off one or two burners completely and put whatever you’re cooking on that part of the grill, so your kind of baking rather than grilling. If you’re using a smoker, bring the temperature up to 200–220˚F | 95–100˚C. Make the basting mixture by combining the oil and lime juice in a bowl.

            Discard the marinade and cook the chicken on a covered grill for about an hour, turning it every 15 minute or so, or in the smoker for 21/2 hours, turning and basting it every hour. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check the temperature of the meat – it’s done when it reaches 160F at the thickest part next to the bone. If you wish, give the skin side a quick 30 seconds on a hot grill to really crisp the skin before you take it off the heat. Let it rest, tented with foil, for 5 minutes before serving.