One of the first things Paul made, when he got a smoker for his birthday, was a smoked whole chicken. I’ve been craving it again ever since.
This recipe uses leg quarters, which smoke beautifully and have great potential for presentation.
The chicken marinates in a bright, flavorful marinade full of citrus flavors with the heat of jalapeño peppers and the depth of spices including cumin and oregano. I’d recommend marinating it overnight or at least all day. That just gives you more flavor.
One of the things I really love about this recipe is that you don’t need a traditional smoker to make it work. The Applewood chips add smoke and a slightly sweet flavor to this chicken, a perfect complement to the sweetness in the chicken.
Pilgrim leg quarters are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, and it might just be the perfect time to smoke some more chicken.
Smoked Mojo Chicken Leg Quarters
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbs orange zest, loosely packed
1 Tbs lime zest, loosely packed
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed
6 large garlic cloves
2 red jalapeño peppers
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
6 chicken leg quarters (about 5 1/2 lb)
6 cups Applewood chips
Combine the first 12 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for about 20 seconds, or until everything is finely chopped and incorporated. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the mixture for later use. Chill.
Place chicken in an extra-large, plastic zipper bag. Pour the rest of the marinade over the chicken, zip closed and let marinate overnight, or at least 8 hours.
When you’re ready to cook, place 3 cups dry Applewood chips in the center of a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil and fold over to make a packet. Poke a few holes at the top of the packet. Make two packets, reserving one.
Preheat grill to 350° F, either leaving one side unlit on a gas grill or banking coals to one side on a charcoal grill. Place the packet of Applewood chips, hole-side up, on the lit side.
Drain marinade and discard. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Move Applewood chips to the unlit side of the grill, and replace with the chicken over the direct heat. Grill 4 to 6 minutes per side or until grill marks appear. Move to unlit side of the grill and the Applewood chips back to the lit side. Cover and cook, about 90 minutes, until the skin is golden-brown and chicken is cooked through.
You should replace Applewood chip packet halfway through the cooking process.
Warm reserved marinade and serve chicken with the sauce.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 763, Calories from Fat: 500 g, Fat: 56 g (14 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 287 mg, Sodium: 1080 mg, Potassium: 115 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 65 g.
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