Prepare these sweet, spicy, salty one-bite meat treats for your next party, or put them out on game day.
THE MEAT: This week, we’re wrapping one of our favorite meats (chicken thighs) in a blanket of another one of our favorite meats (bacon). As if these two meats weren’t already great on their own, the fat from the bacon keeps the chicken thighs nice and juicy as they cook on the smoker.
THE METHOD: These bites are pretty easy to make, if you don’t mind having your hands all over raw meat (just wash them often, and well). The trickiest part is cutting up the raw chicken thighs, but if you have sharp kitchen scissors, you can use them to cut the thighs and the bacon easily. Truth be told, you can also make these in your oven at home, but they get a much richer flavor on the smoker. Kyle likes to cut down the cayenne and add other spices like paprika and dry mustard to these, but Emily prefers to keep things simple with brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Either way works!
THE MEAL: These are really more of an appetizer than a main course. But we can almost guarantee that they’ll be the first thing to disappear at any party or holiday gathering. You’ll get about three dozen of these bites with this recipe, but it’s easy to double—or triple!
Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Thighs
1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into approximately 1-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 pound bacon, cut into thirds
Set your smoker to 350º to 375º F.
Season the chicken pieces liberally with salt and pepper (this works best by tossing them in a large bowl).
In a smaller bowl, combine the brown sugar, cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon of black pepper.
Wrap each piece of chicken with bacon, then roll the meat in the brown sugar mixture. Secure each piece with a toothpick.
Place the bites directly on the smoker and cook for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the bacon is crispy.
Let them rest at least five minutes before serving (if you can wait that long).