Welcome fall! Today I grabbed some beautiful chicken legs and soaked them in a sweet tangy marinade for the day. I had some apple cider hanging out in my refrigerator that needed to be consumed and decided to use this as the base for my marinade. The chicken hung out in this marinade in a zip top bag for several hours while we went about our other business. I came back to flip it a couple of times to make sure the chicken was soaking up all the yummy juices.
Making the marinade is super simple, mix all ingredients together in a zip top bag and add chicken. Seal bag and flip it over a bunch of times to coat the chicken. Place on a plate and put it back in the refrigerator for the day.
- 3 lbs chicken legs or bone-in thighs
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 large orange juiced and zested
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1" knob of ginger, grated
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- a large handful of wood chips soaked (i recommend maple for this recipe)
- Mix all ingredients in a ziptop bag, except wood chips. Add chicken and let marinate in refrigerator for 8 hours (or as long as you can).
- Prepare grill for indirect cooking, hot coals on one half, no coals on the other. If using a gas grill light half of your grill.
- When grill is ready spread your wood chips over the hot coals. Choke down your grill to achieve a temperature around 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If using a gas grill, wrap wood chips in foil and poke a few holes in the bag. Set on grate over the direct heat portion of grill. Turn down to 225 degrees.
- Place chicken on grate over no flame area of grill, and allow to cook without lifting the lid approximately 2 hours or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees.
- Enjoy! Cheers!
After about 8 hours (if you only have a couple that is fine too, I don’t always plan so well in advance either), prepare your grill. First I grabbed a large handful of maple chips and gave them a quick soak in some water to amplify the smoke flavor. My plan is to use the leftover chicken in my smoked chicken carbonara recipe, but that is another post. I am a charcoal purist as many of you know, so I am preparing my charcoal and setting up the grill for the indirect cooking method. To do this, start your coals via chimney starter, electric starter or lighter fluid. When the coals are glowing and ready to cook on, push them all to one side of your grill leaving the other side open with no charcoal. If you use gas, only light half of your grill leaving the other half of your burners off. The indirect cooking method gives you the opportunity to slow cook something, or to basically use your grill like an oven while imparting the smokey grill flavors into your food.
Once your grill is ready to go, add the handful of soaked maple chips and choke down the heat to about 225 degrees fahrenheit. Place your marinated legs on the indirect side (charcoal-less or the side that is turned off if using gas). Cover your grill and walk away. Come back periodically in the next two hours to make sure the temperature isn’t swinging up or down too much. Approximately two hours later (all grills cook differently so please use a thermometer to temp your meat), your chicken should be at 180 degrees. Pull the meat from your grill and let it rest for 10 minutes to let all the juices redistribute.
Serve with a side of grilled potatoes, and a side salad and enjoy the season. Cheers!