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Apple smoked/charcoal seared boneless/skinless thighs: q-view

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've done these before in a very similar fashion. I just wanted to share another cold smoked/seared delight with those who may not have seen or tried this yet.

This is a tried and true method for smaller pieces of meat which I truely enjoy, as I can get the amout of smoke I want as the meat slowly warms through, then, I can sear to the level of doneness I want, and the degree of external searing I want (light to dark). For beef steaks, pork chops, poultry, lamb chops...it's all good. And, it's great for those times when you don't have 6 or 8 hours to do spare ribs, whole birds or small roasts because it only takes 30-90 minutes to smoke, depending on your desired smoke time, then less than 30 minutes to sear for the finish.

For anyone having issues with their family not wanting to eat smoked meats, this would be an excellent opportunity to "sneak" a light smoke before searing to finish. Do a little more each time, and eventually they will be hooked. I did this very thing about 6 months ago...my wife said I don't have to smoke everything...of course my response was yes I do! Now, when I cook smaller items, we all love it. No snears about it being smoked...they just dig in. Point being, they became so accustomed to the smokey/charcoal seared goodness that they now ask for it even when I'm planning on doing a full-blown all-day smoke.

My 22" charcoal kettle was bit lonely this morning, so I promised her some smoke, meat and fire today. I kinda tired out my two vertical smokers in the past few weeks, so they won't mind a break.icon_wink.gif

The charcoal/smoke can mod has been my choice for cold smoke/searing for awhile now, and it never lets me down.

Seasoning today will be the simple but proven Tone's Lemon & Pepper, which we think is excellent on birds, chops and most beef steaks, too. Apple chips will provide the thin blue smoke.

I filled a 12" x 18" baking pan with thighs, which thawed out for 1.5 days laying flat in the store packaging in a cooler with thermometers to monitor temps as well as many touchy-feely checks along the way. The flat package took almost 30 hours to warm above freezing from the -20* freezer temp.

Off to the grill, shall we?

I trimmed most of the fat and seasoned them up while the 1/3 chimney of briqs heats up:

Let the smoke begin:

After a 75 minute apple smoke @ 90-100* grate temp (it's 38* outdoors and falling) I pulled the smoke can, added another 1-1/2 lbs of hot briqs and commenced with the searing ceremony:

Slightly skinned-over (from the cold smoking, sealing in the juices), tender and delicious thighs rewarded me for my efforts:

I can hardly describe the ease of using this method, and the finished products are suprisingly good eating.

If you're new to this method and want to see/learn more I have other threads in the beef, pork, poultry, lamb (grilling) forums. I'll redirect you with links to those if you wish.

Enjoy! I was inspired to try this method last winter by something here on the forum...I can't think of what it was right now...but, hats off to whoever/whatever it was!

Thanks everyone!

post #2 of 16
WOW thos look great.. One of the best thinsg I have ever eaten was a boneless skinless thigh in a Brazilian steak house in Macae Brazil. they cook them in much the same way as this...Is there a trick to deboning them???
post #3 of 16
Great looking chicken man! Like your method for the cook too.
post #4 of 16
DROOL! PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
[quote=scpatterson;373210]WOW thos look great.. One of the best thinsg I have ever eaten was a boneless skinless thigh in a Brazilian steak house in Macae Brazil. they cook them in much the same way as this...Is there a trick to deboning them???[/quote]

Thanks! I cheat on these ones...icon_redface.gif...my wife actually buys these ready to season and cook at Sam's. I don't think doing your own would be too difficult, but could be time consuming until you've get a good method that works well for you. Sam's doesn't always have them out in the poultry coolers so we just ask the friendly staff behind the meat counter to grab a few packages for us while I'm checking out their packer briskets, etc. I can't remember the price now, but, my wife's a thrifty shopper, so they're probably a good price for not messing with the bone/skin yourself.

Just think, you could do a reminiscent smoke & sear to bring back the Brazilian days gone by..................

Thanks, it's great to be able to do a little smokin' almost every day...I've gone and spoiled myself in the last 6 or 8 months...the family doesn't mind a bit though...they love it too! PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

post #6 of 16
Those look Great Eric...PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #7 of 16
Very nice.I am gonna do a similiar thing to a butt.I am going to smoke low-100-150 for say 1 hour and then high heat at say 300-350 degree.

See if i can get some smoke and cut the cook time in half.....

Thighs look wonderful...
post #8 of 16
Real nice Eric, I could almost taste them here. Thighs are my favorite.PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks, they are a nice & tasty treat...we do 'em about once a month or more.


Hmm...interesting...cold smoking a large cut, then high heat to finish. I guess you've already considered the 40-140*/4hr I/T rule of thumb...explaining the high heat finish, which would be exactly how I would do it.

I am wondering about a couple things here: if the meat cross-sectional density is high (thick cut), you may have a very low temp stall...maybe in the 125-130* range. The 40-140* I/T may drag on for quite a long time. My experience has been that a higher initial cooking chamber temp will increase the start of the stall's temp, and if the chamber temp is held throughout the stall, can also reduce stall times to some extent. This doesn't promote complete break-down of the meat's connective tissues.

The reason I say this is that when I start a butt or brisket @ 215-225*, I generally get a stall in the146-148* range. This is with meat that is still well chilled when put into the smoker. So, if an hour of 150* or lower chamber temp is the starting phase of the smoke, you may have some issues getting through the danger zone. If I start at higher temps, the stall will be in the mid 150* range, so it does make alot of difference on your intial temps.

Maybe reduce the cross-section by butterflying the butt before rubbing and smoking? I'm not sure how this might come out for you. If you do try it, please do post a thread about it so we can all see how it goes. I'm pretty open to new methods myself as you probably can see already. I'll try just about anything once, twice if I liked it!

Good luck, great smokes!

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks Ron, wish I could send you some. You know what? I think you were responsible in part for me starting this smoke/sear method. I think it was the cured chix pieces you were doing late winter/early spring this year. I wasn't ready to start curing just then, but was really interested in your methods, and next thing I knew, my kettle grill had the smoke can mod...funny how these things get started, isn't it?

All I can say is thanks, Ron...guys like you get guys like me doing some pretty tasty cooking. I guess eventually we all have this effect on someone here...so, thanks to ALL would be in order!

post #11 of 16
I was thinking i would only cook to internat of 170-175 and try slicing.I have made steaks out of butt and smoked and pulled at 177 and it was tender and juicy


I would only smoke at lower temps for hour or two.I agree on the fact that if pulling pork the speed at which it cooks can make connective tissue stringy etc...

I do know of people in comp world who swear by 300 degree butt.Like you said i will try and post results...
post #12 of 16

post #13 of 16
You are welcome. Also for butts and other large pieces I reccomend searing and it will get you through the safe temp zone quicker, not to mention the added flavor.

As always good luck.
post #14 of 16
Gosh, I thought I invented this! Rats.

I've been using this method for the last several years; it really brings a wonderful lighter smoke flavor and yet the benefit of grilling. Similar to cooking meat over a wood fire. I usually do this method with steaks, tri-tips, chicken, pork loins, salmon, pretty much any kind of smaller meat cut. I usually get a pretty decent smoke ring, too. I do see a difference in our methods though - I fill my Kingsford Oval half full of lit briquets, and put thee meat on the cool side of the grill. Depending on what meat I'm using, I'll leave it on the cool side for anywhere from 10-30 mins, then finish it off on the hot side of the grill for a nice sear. I'd be interested in learning about your charcoal/smoke can mod. Anyway, here's a pic of a small chicken I did using this method:

post #15 of 16
Great job Eric. Those look great. Thighs are my favorite
Thanks for sharing it with us
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Yeah, there's probably a few folks using this method...I just started doing it late this past winter. I didn't see anything similar to this on the forums, so I started posting the q-views of it to show others how easy it is to get your smokin' fix for the day with a quick smoke & sear.

Here's the thread explaining my mod's conception for use in a charcoal kettle and some temp testing results:

This method is so easy...just load the can with a chunk of wood and hot coals, then place in the grill and set your loaded meat grate in. Set the upper vent wide open and the intake 1/4 to 1/3 open and walk away for an hour or so. Dump the coals from the can onto the coal grate and add more hot coals when ready to sear.

This is so simple, and produces excellent results for the table, no matter what you try it with. Well, I haven't tried fish yet, but how could a guy go wrong?



Thanks, we love the thighs here. If you want to try something a little different that doesn't take all day...this is worth the couple minutes to get it going. Any smaller cuts of meat are fair game for the cold smoke and sear method.

Good smokes, my friend!

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