Hey there, folks, if you've got a hankering for those Fall Favorites with a kick, you're in for a real treat! I've got a killer recipe for you: brined smoked chicken legs. Now, I gotta tell you, this dish is like the perfect political debate – bold and flavorful! It's all about the magical marriage of that smoky goodness and a hearty brine that's gonna make your taste buds do a happy dance. So, what are you waiting for? Let's fire up that grill and make some culinary freedom happen!
For the Brine:
4 cups water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 lemon, sliced
8 chicken legs
For the Chicken Rub:
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to your heat preference)
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 cups of your favorite wood chips (hickory, apple, or cherry wood work well)
1. Prepare the Brine:
In a large pot, combine the water, kosher salt, brown sugar, minced garlic, black peppercorns, thyme leaves, and lemon slices. Stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved.
2. Brine the Chicken Legs:
Place the chicken legs in a large zip-top bag or a container with a lid.
Pour the brine over the chicken legs, ensuring they are fully submerged.
Seal the bag or container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight for the best results. This step infuses the chicken with flavor and ensures it stays juicy during smoking.
3. Prepare the Smoker:
While the chicken is brining, soak the wood chips in water for about 30 minutes.
Preheat your smoker to 225°F (110°C) following the manufacturer's instructions.
4. Create the Chicken Rub:
In a small bowl, combine the smoked paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Mix well to create the rub.
5. Remove Chicken from Brine:
After the brining period, remove the chicken legs from the brine.
Pat them dry with paper towels.
6. Apply the Rub:
Generously coat each chicken leg with the prepared rub mixture. Make sure to coat them evenly for a balanced flavor.
7. Smoke the Chicken:
Place the soaked wood chips in a foil pouch or a dedicated smoker box in your grill or smoker.
Arrange the chicken legs on the grill grates away from direct heat.
Close the smoker or grill and let the chicken legs smoke for approximately 2-2.5 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
8. Rest and Serve:
Once the chicken legs reach the desired temperature, remove them from the smoker.
Allow them to rest for a few minutes before serving to let the juices redistribute.
Serve your Fall Favorite-inspired brined smoked chicken legs with your favorite sides, such as coleslaw, cornbread, or grilled vegetables.
Enjoy the bold, smoky, and flavorful chicken legs.