I have been trying some new barbecue tricks that I read on some forums and websites and decided to smoke some barbecued chicken thighs. I tried using the “butter bath” method on these thighs to see if that really helps get tender skin.
I started out seasoning the thighs with a generic poultry rub. Since I was primarily doing a skin tenderness experiment I wasn’t terribly concerned about the flavor profile of this batch.
I put the thighs, skin side down, in a bread pan along with three tablespoons of Parkay margarine. The panned thighs were then placed on my smoker at 275F.
After an hour of smoking I took the thighs out of the butter bath and put them on the grate, skin side up.
Not surprisingly, most of the dry rub had come off of the skin when it was simmering in the Parkay. I was surprised by how pale and tender the skin was.
I hit the thighs with some barbecue sauce and let them cook until they reached 175F internal.
I let the thighs rest for a while when they came off my smoker so I wouldn’t burn the roof of my mouth on hot bbq sauce….I have made that mistake one too many times!
The final product was absolutely better than my usual recipe for smoked thighs! The skin was “bite through tender” and I liked the rich flavor layer from the Parkay.
I first saw the butter bath technique on David’s article on How to Smoke Chicken Thighs and I pretty much got the same results that he did.
The one thing I would do different next time is to use a pan that is wider and shallower. I liked the results buy could only fit two thighs into the pan I used. I need to get some disposable foil pans that can hold at least 6 thighs per pan.
Another method I kept seeing on other sites to get tender chicken skin is to scrape the fat from underneath the skin prior to smoking. It looks like a lot of folks are having luck with that technique but it looks like a pain in the neck.
Here are some links for skin scraping if you want to try that method.