Friday, August 19, 2011

Chili Lime Chicken Thighs [Guest Post]

Hello friends!  I'm so pleased to have my first guest post on The Dancer Bakes - my friend Jim!  He cooked the Throwdown dinner that went along with the Derby Pie I posted, and today he'll be sharing his recipe.  This one's for those times when you just need big flavor, and it's one that should be a hit with any guy in your family!  Enjoy - I certainly did!  Thanks, Jim!

Chili Lime Chicken Thighs (Modified with less thunder)

As a guest blogger, I first want to thank Angela for even allowing me a spot on her baking blog, when first, I am not a dancer, and second, my recipe has nothing to do with baking. But, for those that have been following “The Dancer Bakes,” you knew that a guest blog was coming shortly.

So…a quick about me? I am a 25 year old college graduate that met Angela back in high school, but it wasn’t until I left for college that we became close friends. My family is Pennsylvania Dutch, so I love vinegar and molasses (I’m trying to get Angela to bake me a Shoofly Pie someday), and I went to school in North Carolina. It was during my 5 year double-major tenure at East Carolina University that I learned to cook my specialty, anything in the meat section.

I have cooked meals from pulled pork to chicken curry, from beef brisket to pork ribs, from Cornish Game Hens to bison burgers. Needless to say, I love my protein! I’m not exactly a “one trick pony” as I can cook other things (and I can complete a meal with fruit/veggie/starchy sides), but I prefer anything meaty. It’s how I roll, it’s what I cook, and Angela can (hopefully) attest that I’m far from a slouch, even though I am still learning and expanding my repertoire.

I will make one note before I start listing the ingredients for my Chili Lime Chicken Thighs. I don’t measure things out when I cook. To me, the essence in cooking a meal is based on artistry and feel. Today, I may want my chicken packed with heat. Tomorrow, I may want it mild. I can use the exact same recipe, but I will balance ingredients differently for different tastes, while still having that Chili Lime flavor.

During our throw down, I packed everything into a 3 hour window, so I mixed the dry rub into the marinade. If I were truly preparing these Chili Lime Chicken Thighs, I would dry rub the chicken 24 hours in advance, marinade 6 hours prior to cooking, and then cook-n-serve.

So here’s the basis of my recipe

Dry Rub:
-Chili Powder
-Cayenne Pepper
-        Depending on the desired heat, focus on one of these spices. The desired heat level should outweigh the other two spices 3/2
-Garlic Salt (1 moderate sized pinch for each thigh)
-Oregano (Optional)

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Rub on each thigh thoroughly and let sit overnight in the refrigerator in a sealed bag.

-Hot Sauce (I use Cholula or Texas Pete and sometimes a dabble of “Ass Kickin’ Original Hot Sauce” if I want super kick, or “Dave’s Insanity Sauce” if you want to burn your taste buds)
-Jack Daniels Original Number 7 BBQ Sauce
-White Wine Vinegar or White Wine (I prefer Yellowtail Pinot Grigio)
-Lime Juice (Fresh squeezed limes quarters are preferred, but concentrated juice works too)

Use no more than ½ cup of vinegar or white wine per 6 thighs. Also, every 6 thighs needs minimum of 1 lime worth of lime juice. I use a medium sized bottle of Jack-BBQ sauce every 6 thighs and ¼ bottle of hot sauce per 6 thighs. These values all vary, depending on how I feel that day, but this is probably an “average” Chili Lime chicken thigh recipe for me.

About 3-6 hours before cooking, use heavy duty and extra-wide aluminum foil and wrap the thighs in them. If done properly, you can fit 4-6 thighs per package. Fill each package with marinade until the chicken is mostly covered. Take your leftover lime quarters and place them in the foil to cook with the chicken.

You can grill or stick these in the oven. The temperature, depending on your stove/grill should be between 375 (convection oven) and 450 (conventional oven) degrees. The minimum the chicken should be in there is 45 minutes. Please cook until they are cooked through. Times and temperatures are meaningless if the chicken is not fully cooked. Do not take risks with chicken!

After 45 minutes to an hour (occasionally more) the chicken should be cooked through. A knife will slide right through them if they are done (unless you hit bone…), and since they are almost drowned in marinade, they should be super moist.

At this point, if done properly, no sauce should be needed; however, leftover marinade can definitely amplify the chili-lime taste.

Changes: If you’re feeling creative, here are a few tasty suggestions to try, that may spice things up.
-        Remove the lime flavor and go 100% heat
-        Instead of White wine, use ½ the normal amount of vinegar, and try adding some straight Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey to it.
-        Cholula makes a Chili Lime sauce, and if you’re in a crunch for time, it’s a perfect replacement for hot sauce. It helps bring out more lime flavor, when you don’t have time for the marinade to sit. Also, if you don’t use Pinot Grigio, I prefer using this flavor hot sauce.
-        Instead of Lime, replace it with more garlic and go for the Garlic flavor. If you don’t add too much, the garlic comes out and just gives this recipe a whole new flavor.
-        Add some soy to the recipe. It sounds crazy, but adding ¼ to 1/3 cup of soy sauce per every 6 thighs can really give it a different kind of flavor.
-        Don’t be afraid to pile on the dry rub! Just don’t super overload the garlic! =)

Well, that’s my recipe for my Chili Lime Chicken Thighs. It’s not thing super special, but I have had nothing but excellent reaction from these, every time I cook it. I get people who hate eating meat to eat it, and to tell me that if they had that every day, they’d eat meat more often. =)

I hope that this inspires someone to go out and try this. I also hope people get inspired to try some of the “spin-offs” I suggest. Feel free to be creative with this recipe, and let me know what changes you made, and how it turns out!

Enjoy Life, Enjoy Grilling and God Bless
-        The Brousinator

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