Creative cooks have found many unorthodox uses for muffin tins. Barbecue champ Myron Mixon puts them to work in creating one of his signature dishes. Makes 12 appetizer or 6 main-course servings
What you'll need
Heat a smoker to 300 degrees F.
Using poultry shears, remove the knuckle on each end of each chicken thigh bone. 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. Apply the chicken rub evenly to both sides of the thighs.
In the cupcake mold, place each thigh, skin side down, in an individual cup. Sit the mold in the baking pan, and pour the chicken broth into the pan, being careful not to pour it directly on top of the chicken. Place the pan in the smoker and cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the baking pan from the smoker. Gently flip the thighs onto the baking sheet. Season the tops of the thighs with salt and pepper. Return the thighs to the mold cups, skin side up, and put the baking pan back in the smoker. Cook for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce: Put all the sauce ingredients into a blender and blend until thoroughly combined. In a medium pan over medium heat, warm the sauce until it is hot but not boiling. Set aside.
Remove the pan from the smoker, and unmold the chicken thighs onto the baking sheet, skin side up. Brush the thighs lightly with the warm sauce. Place the baking sheet in the smoker and cook for 30 minutes to allow the sauce to caramelize into the chicken skin.
Remove the baking sheet from the smoker, and serve the cupcake chicken immediately.You can store this rub in an airtight container indefinitely.
Published on June 10, 2011