Smoker Chronicles: St Louis Ribs and Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs

I’ve been working through the remainder of the 1/2 pig we bought from a farmer across town last November.   Yesterday I pulled “St Louis Style Ribs” out of the freezer, and I decided I’d throw them in the smoker.   I grill a lot of bone-in-skin-on chicken thighs – an item I’ve smoked on occasion, but I decided I’d add in some boneless skinless chicken thighs while I was at it.

I used a standard rub on both the chicken and the ribs – each rub is actually a variation of The Neely’s rub from the Food Network.   The Rib rub was some leftovers I had of this:

2C brown sugar

1/2C dry mustard (powder)

1T cayenne

1T smoked paprika

1T garlic powder

1T onion powder

1T salt

1T black pepper.

(those are T = Tablespoons)

I rubbed the ribs, wrapped them in saran wrap, and put them in the fridge for 4 hours.

Meanwhile, I went to work improvising the chicken.  I brined the thighs in:

2C water

1C apple cider vinegar

1/2C salt

1/4C sugar

for four hours, then rinsed them and dried them, and applied the dry rub:

1t salt

1t paprika

1t garlic powder

1t black pepper

1t crushed red pepper flakes

1/2t dried thyme

1/2t dried oregano.

(those are t = teaspoons)

I put the dry rub on both sides of my skinless, boneless thighs (I’d already trimmed the extra fat before brining) and put them back in the fridge for 2 more hours.

I fired up my (electric) smoker to 240 degrees and threw the ribs on, with 1 cup of cherry wood chips.

I pulled the chicken thighs from the fridge and wrapped each of them with a slice of bacon – again from the local pig, and then I added them below the ribs about 20 minutes later.  My ribs were very very thin, so I didn’t expect them to take much longer than the chicken to cook.

After 90 minutes, I opened the smoker to take a look, and everything seemed done.

winning

winning

Success.  I will certainly be doing this again: chicken thighs (boneless, or bone-in) are probably my favorite chicken part to grill or smoke.  It’s easier to smoke the boneless skinless ones, I think – because it’s hard to get the skin to crisp up otherwise at the low smoker temps.  On the other hand, it’s easy to dry out the boneless skinless ones, and the bacon wasn’t crispy coming out of the smoker.

-KD