Slashed Chicken Thighs

     The other week, I was at my brother’s house for dinner. As he was cooking, I noticed his copy of Weber’s Way to Grill that I got him for his birthday last year. It looked like it hadn’t even been opened! So I started paging through it, seeing if anything would catch my eye and decided to borrow it from him. Don’t worry, Michael, I’m almost done with it. You can have it back next time I see you.

     One thing that really piqued my interest was the recipe for Provencal Marinated Chicken Legs. OK….really the recipe did not interest me that much, but rather their illustrations of how to prep whole chicken legs. Cutting an opening between the drumstick and the thigh to expose that innermost meat and speed up the cooking time. I’d never heard of that before. And making slashes on the outside of the leg and thigh to allow the marinade to penetrate deeper? New to me as well, but it made sense. And with leg quarters running (no pun intended) about $0.99 a lb here, I felt this was something I could experiment with and not feel bad it if didn’t work out.

Chicken getting ready to take a swim in some marinade

     Digging around the pantry, I found this chicken marinade from Stubb’s. I don’t remember when I picked this up, but it sounded like a plan to me. The chicken got “slashed” yesterday morning and went into a Zip-lock bag around 6:00am right before I headed out the door to work. Yeah, I know, I get up way too early for work. I figured it would get about an 11 hour marinade, although the bottle says 2-6 hours.

Slashed Chicken Quarters going on the Egg

     I set up the Egg for a direct cook at 375F, using my Grill Extender to raise the cooking height further up and away from the coals to prevent it from burning (this is how I do most of my cooks with chicken). If you are using another type of grill, I would suggest cooking the chicken indirect or having two zones where you can move the chicken away from your heat source if it begins to have flare ups from the drippings. For smoke, I went with apple wood chips as I think it offers a more delicate flavor than some of the other woods like mesquite or hickory that can easily over power chicken.

Close up view of the slashes I made. Looks like Wolverine or Freddy got hold of my chicken.

     The marinade from the chicken was reserved and used to marinade the chicken throughout the cook. I know some people feel a little uneasy and squeamish about that, but I boiled the marinade for 5 minutes before using. Food borne bacteria die at or below 165 and a boil is way hotter than that, so I feel like it is a safe practice. And I haven’t gotten sick or died from it yet. The chicken took around 45 minutes to cook and was pulled around 170.

Chicken’s done

     Seeing as how my spatchcock chickens generally take about an hour to cook, I figured the slashes might have sped up the cooking process by about 15 minutes. Not really enough to consider a big difference.

Plated up with some corn

     The chicken came out pretty good. It was moist and flavorful. Maybe the slashes didn’t speed up the cooking much, but they really did make a difference with the marinade. Which makes sense. The more surface area exposed, the more flavor you are going to get with each bite. The marinade itself, it wasn’t mind blowing or stellar. It was average in my book. It did give the chicken a hint of sweetness, but I really wasn’t picking up on the citrus it claimed. Now that I’m looking at the bottle, I think what I couldn’t put my finger on was the sesame it claims.

     Would I do it again? Maybe, if the price was right. Come to think of it, I think I picked up the marinade because I had a coupon. I guess I’d pick it up again if I had another one.

     As for the slashes, if you can get past the fact that it looked like Wolverine got ahold of you chicken before it was tossed on the grill, it’s not a bad trick to have up your sleeve. More flavor per bite. But if you are into aesthetics, this might not be the way for you to go.