Optional: place the seasoned meat and the skins you removed into a ziptop bag or container and let it marinate overnight in the original rub and chicken juices.
The meat is now ready to be made back into skin covered thighs again.
You will notice that I did not bother seasoning the skin.. we'll do that in a later step.
Into the Muffin or Cupcake Pan
Place the skin (outside part of the skin facing down) into the muffin tins first then place the thigh meat on top.
Set the muffin pan onto a cookie sheet..
We are going to add some liquid to the cookie sheet eventually but I prefer to do that once it's in the smoker.
Get the Smoker Ready
Set up your smoker for cooking at about 275°F with indirect heat. This higher heat helps to cook the chicken faster and creates a better bite-thru on the skin.
The entire process takes about 3 hours and I recommend keeping the smoke going throughout. I used cherry wood for smoke but any good smoking wood will work just fine.
Stage One: Skin Down
Place the muffin pan/cookie sheet on the smoker grate.
Fill the cookie sheet with about ¼ inch of liquid. Most recommend chicken broth but you can use other things if you wish. The options are endless and include things like soda pop, fruit juice, wine, vegetable broth, etc.
Keep the chicken in this configuration for 1.5 hours at 275°F.
At the end of this stage the chicken temperature was at 140°F.
Stage Two: Skin Up
Carefully dump the chicken out of the muffin pan and into the cookie sheet.
You may have to use a butter knife to unstick the chicken from the edges if they seem to be having trouble coming out.
Put the chicken back into the muffin cups skin side up.
Smoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.
It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.
Smoked cupcake chicken is a recipe that was made popular by Myron Mixon in the competition circuit. It is a way to make smoked chicken thighs so that they come out uniform, juicy and properly seasoned for the judges.
6or more chicken thighs((, bone-in and skin on))
Muffin pan((, disposable, silicone or a cheap one))
Large cookie sheet
Jeff’s original rub recipe
Jeff's original barbecue sauce
Remove skin from thighs, snip knuckles from bones and remove any excess fat.
Add Jeff's original rub to chicken thighs on top and bottom. Refrigerate overnight if you like or get right on with it.
Replace skin on to chicken thighs.
Put chicken skin side down into special, pre-drilled muffin pan.
Place the muffin pan onto a cookie sheet filled with ¼ inch of chicken broth and smoke cook at 275 for 1.5 hours.
Flip chicken over in muffin pan to skin side up, add some seasoning and smoke cook at 275 for another 45 minutes.
Remove chicken from muffin pan and place skin side up onto cookie sheet.
Sauce top and sides and smoke cook at 275 for an additional 30 minutes to let the sauce caramelize or until the internal temperature reaches 175℉.