Makes 6 servings
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon smoked or sweet paprika
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2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 (4-ounce) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Alabama White Sauce (recipe follows)
1. In a small bowl, mix all the seasonings; set aside. Build a low direct fire. If using a gas grill, adjust the temperature to low. Place the chicken thighs on a baking sheet, skin-side up. Sprinkle the chicken with half of the dry rub. When you can hold your hands over the fire for no more than eight to 10 seconds, clean the grill grate. Set the chicken thighs, skin-side down, on the grates. Sprinkle the remaining half of the dry rub on the chicken.
2. Cook, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes, checking periodically to avoid excessive charring on the skin. Rotate thighs if there are hot spots. If using a charcoal grill, adjust the vents to maintain a temperature of 300 degrees.
3. Flip the chicken and continue to cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 170 degrees, about 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let it rest for 10 minutes. Slather with the Alabama white sauce and serve.
Alabama White Sauce
Makes 2 cups
1 cup mayonnaise (Kewpie preferred; see note)
½ cup apple-cider vinegar
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
Whisk all ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl until fully incorporated. Cover and set aside until ready to use, or transfer to an airtight jar and refrigerate for up to two weeks.
Note: Kewpie mayonnaise is a new darling of foodies, made in Japan with rice wine vinegar and whole eggs, and is creamier and a bit tangier than the usual American mayo. It costs about $8.50 for a 500g (17.64 ounce) tube at Asian markets and online.
Adapted by The Miami Herald from “Grill to Perfection” (Page Street Publishing, $21.99).