Jack & Coke Chicken Thighs
It’s almost time for us to pack up and head to Lynchburg for the 28th Annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue. It’s always an honor getting to cook at the Jack, and we’re hoping this is our year to win it all!
This week I want to share with you a Jack Daniel’s inspired recipe I have for chicken thighs. I call it my Jack & Coke Chicken and this is one you’ll want to try at home.
I start with a fresh pack of Bone-In Skin-on chicken thighs. Remove them from the package spread out skin side down on a cutting board. If there’s any excess fat, I’ll go ahead and trim it off but these are eating thighs, so I don’t get aggressive at all.
Season the bone side with a little Killer Hogs AP Rub and repeat on the skin side. Place each thigh into a large 2.5 gallon zip top bag.
This is where the “Coke” part of the recipe comes into play. Pour in a 16oz bottle of coke and also add ¼ cup of Soy Sauce. Close the bag and squeeze as much air out as possible. Place the bag into a large bowl or shallow pan just in case there are any leaks. The thighs need to brine for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator.
Take the thighs out of the brine and allow the excess liquid to drip off. They’ll need a little reasoning, so hit each side with additional Killer Hogs AP Rub.
Arrange the thighs in a half-size aluminum food service pan. Pull the skin down tight and place them in the pan as close together as possible to help hold their shape during cooking. Slice a stick of unsalted butter into small pats. Place each pat around the edges and in between the thighs.
Today I’m cooking these thighs on my Gateway Drum Smoker but any pit can be used. When I’m doing chicken (especially skin on) I want the cooking temp to be around 300⁰. It may seem a little high but trust me the skin needs this temp to get tender.
Once the smoker is up to temp, throw on a couple chunks of cherry wood for smoke and place the pan of thighs directly on the cooking grate. Cook them for 1 hour in the butter pan. While they’re cooking it’s a good time to put together the Jack Daniel’s glaze.
Jack Daniel’s BBQ Glaze Recipe
- 1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 1 Cup Pineapple Juice
- 1 Cup Killer Hogs BBQ Sauce
- 2/3 Cup Water
- ½ Cup Soy Sauce (divided)
- 2oz Teriyaki Sauce
- 4-5 Cloves Roasted Garlic
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- 2oz Jack Daniels Whiskey
- ¼ cup Pineapple Preserves
- ¼ cup Killer Hogs AP Rub
In a small sauce pan over medium high heat add brown sugar, pineapple juice, water, teriyaki sauce, and remaining soy sauce. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to simmer stirring occasionally.
Mash the roasted garlic with a fork and add to the pot along with the lemon juice, pineapple preserves, and Jack Daniel’s. Continue to reduce for 10 minutes.
After the chicken has smoked for 1 hour, remove each thigh from the pan and place it on a wire rack. Dip each thigh into the glaze and place back on the rack. The excess glaze will drip off, so have a foil lined baking sheet underneath it.
Take the whole rack back to the pit and cook for 10 minutes. Apply a second coat of the glaze using a silicon brush and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes or until an instant read thermometer hits 175⁰ internal.
At this point the thighs are done. Remove the whole rack from the smoker (be sure to wear heat resistant gloves – It will be VERY HOT). Transfer the thighs to a serving platter and top with a little fresh chopped parsley for garnish.
These Jack & Coke Thighs turn out a pretty mahogany caramel color, and the flavor is just as good. Give them a try the next time you fire up the grill and wish us luck at the Jack this year!