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Smoked Confit Chicken Thighs


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confit chicken recipe

Smoked Confit Chicken Thighs

 
This low and slow cooking technique locks in smoky flavor and juicy, tender meat.
 

Equipment

  • 1 smoker

Ingredients  

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 pounds animal fat*, preferably pork lard, beef tallow, duck fat, schmaltz, or a combination of those. (Heck, throw in some rendered bacon fat, and let me know how it turns out.)

Directions 

  • Season the thighs the night before smoking. I used a mortar and pestle to grind the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and fresh thyme together, but chopping the thyme finely should suffice. After seasoning, place the thighs in a covered container in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Smoke the following day at 300 degrees for about 60 to 90 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. While the thighs are smoking, preheat an oven to 225 degrees.
  • Place the smoked thighs in an oven-ready container. The tighter they fit into the pan and the more evenly the thighs are laid out, the less fat you’ll need to cover them. If there’s a lot of empty space in the pan once you’ve laid out the thighs, choose a smaller pan. Now pour on the fat, and make sure the meat is completely covered. Cover the pan tightly and place into a 225-degree oven (or let them ride next to your briskets in the smoker) for the next 5 hours.
  • You can chill them for use the following day, or finish the preparation now for immediate consumption. To crisp the skin, place the thighs skin side up under a broiler, or skin side down in a hot cast-iron pan or on a hot grill. Watch them carefully, and be sure not to burn the skin. This should take no more than 5 minutes if they were still warm, or 10 minutes if they’ve been chilled. Enjoy.

Notes

*You may require significantly more fat if the container for the confit process is too large, or if the thighs are unevenly placed. Don’t fret about wasting the fat, though. It can also be reused many times. Once you’ve eaten all the chicken thighs, heat the fat and strain it through a fine mesh strainer and/or cheesecloth into a sealable container and refrigerate.
 
 
 
The recipe is written for chicken thighs on the larger side, 8 ounces or more each. Scale up or down depending on what you purchase. The recipe is also great for doubling or tripling since the thighs will hold for weeks in the refrigerator as long as they remain submerged in fat.
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