Chicken thighs are one of my favorite parts of the chicken to cook. They are a dark meat that stay moist and juicy, and this cut is also super economical in comparison with a chicken breast. To up the flavor, I love to use wood grilling planks!
For my Orange Oregano Maple Smoked Chicken Thighs, I added a few simple ingredients such as orange zest, oregano, smoked sea salt, smoked black pepper and smoked paprika to make an out-of-the-ordinary smoked chicken cooked over wood grilling planks.
When thinking of cooking over wood grilling planks, many people think of cedar planked salmon, and it’s a great way to cook fish. But let’s not limit ourselves only to fish—everything tastes better kissed with the smoke from wood grilling planks! Plus, it makes for an awesome presentation at the table.
For my planks, I use Outdoor Gourmet’s maple grilling planks. For those of you who read my blog, you know that I am a big fan of Outdoor Gourmet, as they produce sustainably sourced wood grilling planks. I include them in my holiday gift guide every year!
In this dish, the orange zest paired with fresh oregano over maple smokiness makes for a fragrant, melt in your mouth yet simple entrée to make that would be suitable for a nice dinner party with guests, or even a weeknight meal.
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- 2 maple grill planks (soak for 30 minutes before use)
- 4 chicken thighs
- Zest of 2 oranges
- 1 large bunch of oregano, leaves removed from stems
- 2 heaping tsp. fresh ground black pepper (I used smoked pepper)
- 2 heaping tsp. sea salt (I used smoked sea salt)
- 2 heaping tsp. smoked paprika (if you don’t have smoked paprika you can use regular paprika but smoked paprika makes a huge difference)
- 1. 5 tbsp. olive oil
- Preheat your grill to 350 degrees and create a direct and indirect cooking zone. Make sure to soak your grilling planks for at least 30 minutes before using them.
- Rinse your chicken and then pat it dry.
- Combine the ingredients for the seasoning paste in a small bowl.
- Slide your finger under the chicken skin—I know this is not fun but it will seal in all the spices and extra moisture!
- Coat the chicken under and over the skin, working the paste onto all 4 pieces of chicken. Place 2 thighs on each maple grilling plank.
- Place the planks on indirect heat of a medium/hot grill and let cook for 25-30 minutes or until an internal-read thermometer (like the ThermaPen, my favorite) reads 170 degrees. A few degrees under is okay.
- Let rest under foil for 10 minutes and serve with your favorite side. I served mine with garlic kale and it was delish!
PRO TIP: If you can’t find maple grilling planks, cherry, hickory or other woods should work, too.
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