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Chicken Thighs Diavolo

Seasoned with five different chili spices, these spicy chicken thighs are highly addictive. Though not as popular as chicken breasts, juicy thigh meat is considered by many to be the tastiest part of the bird.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar  
  • 2 Tbs. paprika  
  • 1 Tbs. cayenne pepper  
  • 1 Tbs. granulated garlic  
  • 1 Tbs. coarse salt   
  • 1 Tbs. freshly cracked black pepper  
  • 2 tsp. chili powder  
  • 1 tsp. Thai chili paste or red pepper flakes  
  • 1 tsp. hot-pepper sauce  
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 3 lb. bone-in chicken thighs  
  • 1 or 2 handfuls wood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes 

Directions:

In a bowl, combine the vinegar, paprika, cayenne, granulated garlic, salt, black pepper, chili powder, chili paste and hot-pepper sauce. Add the water and whisk vigorously until the salt and granulated garlic dissolve. Taste and adjust the seasonings; the sauce should be bright red and very spicy. Pour half the sauce into a small serving bowl and set aside.

Rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, score the chicken to the bone in several places to expose the flesh. Place the chicken in a large disposable aluminum roasting pan, pour the remaining sauce over the top and turn to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 10 minutes before grilling.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for indirect grilling over medium heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade, reserving the marinade.

For a charcoal grill: Sprinkle the wood chips over the coals. Place the pan with the thighs on the cooler side of the grill, cover and cook until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer the thighs to the grate directly over the coals, brush with the marinade from the pan and grill, turning often, until nicely charred on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes more.

For a gas grill: Increase a burner to high. Heat a smoker box half full of chips until smoking, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Place the pan with the thighs over unlit burners, cover and cook until cooked through, 30 minutes. Transfer the thighs to the grate directly over the heat, brush with the marinade from the pan and grill, turning often, until nicely charred, on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes more.

Transfer the chicken to a platter. Serve immediately and pass the reserved sauce alongside. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma On the Grill, by Willie Cooper (Oxmoor House, 2009).