BBQ Chicken with Bite-Through Skin

A steamed butter bath is the secret to these prize-winning chicken thighs that are moist and delicious.




8 servings




  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 gallon cold water
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cups Challenge Butter (1½ sticks)
  • 1 Tablespoon seasoning salt
  • ½ Tablespoon white sugar
  • ½ Tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ Tablespoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1–1¼ cups barbecue sauce
  • cherry wood chips (optional)


  • 1

    Trim excess skin and fat from chicken.

  • 2

    Combine salt and brown sugar in cold water in a large bowl and stir until dissolved. Refrigerate two to four hours.

  • 3

    Preheat one grill zone, opposite from side you will be cooking on, to 300-325 degrees.*, Remove chicken from brine and rinse with cold water.

  • 4

    Cut butter in ¼ inch slices and place in foil pan. Place wire rack in pan and chicken on the rack, bone side up. Cover entire chicken with rub and cover tightly with foil.

  • 5

    Place foil covered pan on grill. No wood chips are needed yet. Cook 1 to 1½ hours, checking meat temperature at 1 hour. Once chicken reaches 185 to 195 degrees, remove from grill.

  • 6

    Warm sauce and dip each thigh into the sauce and place on a rack. Serve or for a little smoky flavor, add wood chips or smoke pouch to grill.

  • 7

    Once smoke is generated, place chicken (still on rack) on the grate and smoke for 15 minutes at 300 to 325 degrees. Do not over-smoke.

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