Category Archives: BBQ and Grilling

Poor Man’s Cupcake BBQ Chicken Thighs

I love to watch BBQ shows.  I watch them whenever I can.  Heck, I think I have 5 different BBQ shows set to record on my Tivo.  My wife doesn’t watch them with me but it’s cool, she isn’t a BBQ ninja like me.  One of the best things I love about BBQ shows are the different ways that competitors cook their BBQ.  I have to say the most intriguing to me, was watching Diva Q on BBQ Crawl.  She made these amazing shaped chicken thighs but the clip was so short, I couldn’t see how she did it.  Then she called it cupcake chicken so I had to do some research.  Let me tell you, that research paid off………….

This is one easy way to smoked chicken thighs that everyone will love.  If they don’t love them, then you have permission to unfriend them on facebook, divorce them if you are married, or fart in their face if they are anything else.  A sneaky ninja will give them a crop dust for not loving cupcake chicken.

Step 1.

Heat your smoker to 275 degrees.

Step 2.

Take an old cupcake pan and drill a single hole (about a quarter of inch) in the center of each cupcake mold.  I used an old one I had laying in the cabinet.  Doesn’t it look pretty?


Step 3.

Remove your chicken from the brine (you did brine your chicken right?)  If you need a brine, use mine!


Step 4.

I wasn’t able to take pictures of the next step due to my hands being messy and I am a one ninja team at the moment.  You want to use poultry shears or if you are cheap like me, I have a pair of tin snips that I use for chicken, and cut the knuckles off the thigh.  There will be one on each end of the bone.  Take your time and remove any bone fragments from the meat.  Then trim the excess fat off the skin and meat of each thigh until the pieces are 3 to 4 inches wide, leaving about 1/4 inch of excess skin at the edges of the meat.  I like to remove the skin completely and put rub on the top of the chicken thigh.  Then I put the skin back on and wrap it around the thigh.

Here is how they look all trimmed and wrapped up.


Step 5.

In the cupcake mold, place each thigh, skin side down, in an individual cup. Sit the mold in a baking pan, and pour the chicken broth into the pan, being careful not to pour it directly on top of the chicken. Top the thighs with a dab of butter.  Place the pan in the smoker and cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours.


Here they are on my smoker.  I also brined and smoked some chicken legs to take to work for lunch this week.


After the hour and a half, this is how they will look.


Step 6.

Remove the baking pan from the smoker. Gently flip the thighs onto the baking sheet. Season the tops of the thighs with BBQ rub. Return the thighs to the mold cups, skin side up, and put the baking pan back in the smoker. Cook for 45 minutes.  This is how they look after you flip them over.  They were about 140 degrees at this point.  Not much color yet.


Step 7.

Remove the pan from the smoker, and unmold the chicken thighs onto the baking sheet, skin side up. Brush the thighs lightly with your favorite BBQ sauce. Place the baking sheet in the smoker and cook for 30 minutes to allow the sauce to caramelize into the chicken skin.


After 30 minutes, they should look like this.


Serve immediately.   I won’t win a place on chopped for plating but this was my dinner.


Cupcake BBQ Chicken Thighs

What you need!!!!

Poultry shears
1 silicone cupcake mold, with holes punched through each cup (or an aluminum cupcake pan, also with holes punched through each cup)
1 13 x 9-inch aluminum baking pan
1 aluminum baking sheet

Chicken Thighs
Chicken Broth
BBQ Sauce


Chicken Brine

When you BBQ, you are always striving to get the most flavor that you can out of your meat.  One way to accomplish this is by using a brine.  Brine is a salt water solution that will add moisture to your meat.  No one likes a dry piece of chicken, and I mean no one likes a dry piece of chicken.  So say to yourself, I brine my meat!  I brine my meat!  I briiiiiiinnnnneeee my meeeeaaaattt!  Rawr!  Most brine recipes will use a gallon of water.  When I make my brine, I am usually forgetful and have to make it last minute which quite frankly, sucks balls.  So lets move to making the ultimate and easy chicken brine.

Take eight cups of water (half a gallon) and put it in your pot and get it to almost boil.  Add 1 cup of kosher salt, 1/2 half cup of sugar, and my secret all in one brine ingredient……..1/4 cup of Tony’s Cajun seasoning.  Yes, Cajun seasoning and guess what, this is all you ever need for chicken.  Right before the water starts to boil, all of these ingredients should have dissolved.  Take the pot off the stove and add eight cups (half a gallon) of cold water to your brine and then stir.  If you are in a hurry like I am most of the time, you can use 6 or 7 cups and fill the pot with ice so it quickly cools.

Once your brine is cold, you can add your chicken.  I wouldn’t brine more than 24 hours or it will be too salty.  The minimum I try to brine for is 2 hours but overnight is best.


That’s my brine right after I took it off the heat.  Bask in it’s chicken moisturizing glory!


Chicken Brine
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Tony’s Cajun Seasoning
1 gallon of water

Mix all together and bring almost to a boil and stir till it dissolves.  Let it cool and brine your chicken for at least 2 hours up to 24 hours.

BBQ Chicken Leg Quarters

There is something about manning a grill that brings out the most primal needs within a ninja.  Fire, smoke, and the smell of charcoal makes one just realize, yes I am a man and more importantly I am a ninja.  I decided to grill some chicken leg quarters and they turned out to be divine.  I’m always using my grill on the weekends and this weekend I decided to season my chicken with Big Ron’s House Seasoning.  This stuff is amazing.  It tastes absolutely wonderful on anything and everything.  I think if my wife sprinkled some all over her before coming to bed, she might just get a little more ninja foreplay.

To start things off, I like to brine my chicken.  Today’s ninja brine was:

1 Gallon of water
1/2 Cup of Kosher salt
1/2 Cup of sugar
2 Tablespoons of garlic
2 Tablespoons of oregano
1 Tablespoon of black pepper
5 dried chili arbol
1/2 Cup of apple cider vinegar

Mix all of this together in a big enough pot to hold your chicken and bring to almost a boil.  The salt and sugar should be dissolved completely.  Let this cool down and add some ice cubes to make it cold.  Add your chicken and place in the fridge until you are ready to grill.  I would suggest at least an hour but no more than 24 hours in the brine.


The chicken is really happy right now.  It is coated in Big Ron’s rub and the smell is turning on my ninja prowess.


On the grill at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until done.


Chicken leg quarter pron just for you.  I was so excited to eat this that I didn’t take any photos of the sides or my plate.  Sorry but a ninja has to eat.



Steak Night

I love steak.  I could eat it a few nights a week but unfortunately, I’m not a baller so I can’t afford it as often as I would like.  I have found a way to make a cheap steak for those of you that want to eat cheap like a ninja.  When you go to your grocery store, look for Chuck Steak and not the steak cut from chuck roast.  When I purchase it here, it is $2.29 a lb and I consider that to be a bargain when compared to $10.99 a lb or more for ribeye or New York strip.  If you take the time to season this steak well, it will be quite tasty and still pretty tender.  I have a needle meat tenderizer that I use so if you want to eat cheap meats like a ninja, pick one up.  Here is one like the one I have, Jaccard Supertendermatic 48-Blade Tenderizer .  It’s cheap and gets the job done like a ninja should.


Here are my steaks.  These for steaks were less than $5 dollars.  That is a ninja steal!  I have seasoned them with a good bit of salt, pepper, and a tad bit of garlic powder.


I have the squash soaking in milk getting ready for the fry of their life.


This is the breading for the squash.  It is 1/2 cup each of flour and corn meal.  Then I would guess about 3 tablespoons of Tony’s Cajun seasoning.


I nice pumpkin beer while we wait.


Squash is all fried up.  Ninja circles.


I forgot to take my camera outside while I was grilling.  Here are the steaks right off the grill.  I used my Bubba Keg and grilled them 3 minutes per side at 600 degrees.


This is the plate I fixed for my mini ninja.  He likes his steak a little more done and I have to cut it to bite sized pieces or he won’t even eat it.  One day he will become a ninja like me.