Sous-B-Q: Smoked Chicken Thighs and Legs

Sous vide gives us one more reason to take advantage of competitive pricing on the alternative to breasts and wings.


Chicken legs and thighs, 4 each.
Powdered egg white, as needed, or fresh, one each, well beaten.
Desired seasonings, your preference, or one from our list linked HERE.

Optional Components:
Dark Side BBQ Sauce, or your personal favorite.
Chopped parsley.


Equipment requirements
Immersion circulator, portable or stationary.
Heat rated container.
Sous vide racks.
Heat rated sous vide bags.
Backyard smoker.
Infrared and/or probe thermometer.

Above and below: Lipavi C15 container, N15 polycarbonate racks. Lipavi C15L-UNIR lid.

Actual prep time, 90 minutes
Serves 4+
Level of difficulty: 2.25


Preheat the sous vide bath to 132 F/56 C.

Vacuum seal the chicken in dedicated heat rated sous vide bags. Sous vide process at 132 F/56 C for 6 hours. When the interval has elapsed, submerge the packages in iced tap water until they achieve 70 F/21 C–approximately half an hour. Refrigerate at 40 F/4 C for at least two hours before proceeding. The sealed packages can be stored at 40 F/4 C for at least two weeks without sacrificing quality or wholesomeness. Try that with a fresh chicken!

Day of Service–Seasoning

Remove the packages from the refrigerator.

Remove the chicken from the bags and stage onto a rack (or clean work surface), skin side down.

Dust lightly with powdered egg white, or coat with fresh.

Use a spray bottle to moisten the surface–not necessary if you use fresh egg whites.

Season accordingly, as per your preference.

Turn the chicken over and repeat the seasoning process.

Load the chicken into a rack. I use an adjustable Lipavi L10 stainless steel frame–rust proof, dishwasher proof and smoker/oven proof. Smoke until the internal temperature is at least 140 F/60 C and the desired appearance is achieved.

Lower temperatures in smokers impart more smoky flavor, so I recommend using 250 F/121 C for approximately 90 minutes. If a smoker is not available, an indoor oven will still provide excellent results.

The end result is visibly plump.

A minimum amount of paprika in the seasonings will give you a lighter, milder crust. Today we used a simple blend of kosher salt, crushed chilis, oregano and a pinch of garlic powder, creating a mouthwatering result that appeals to all taste preferences.

The closer you get, the better it looks.

A bit of coleslaw and your favorite BBQ sauce (or OURS) is a crowd pleaser.

Coleslaw provides a cool, crisp and refreshing flavor counterpoint. Whoever came up with the idea of serving shredded cabbage with BBQ deserves a medal!

Bursting with juice.

Norm King



While boneless/skinless breasts have become the norm in restaurants and at home, wings dominate the Pub Grub scene. This leaves the humble, unpretentious legs and thighs out in the cold. Typically foisted on children, these cuts are delicious and wholesome. Actually, youngsters usually prefer them--maybe they know something we don't!

Legs and thighs retain their moisture better. The well crisped skin, commonly removed from the breast, is tasty without being nearly as "sinful" (and fatty) as many other proteins that we eat without a second thought. Legs and thighs have no need for buttery sauces to create a desirable result; a few drops of barbecue sauce go a long way.