Cold-Smoked Chicken Legs in a Chinese Cure Recipe

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Cold-Smoked Chicken Legs in a Chinese Cure
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  1. Cure chicken: Boil 2 cups water, star anise, ginger, and zest in a 1-quart saucepan, covered, 5 minutes, then cool infusion, uncovered, to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  2. Stir together kosher salt, Insta Cure, and remaining 4 cups water in storage tub until solids are dissolved, about 3 minutes, then add brown sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and cooled infusion (with solids). Add ice and stir until cure is cold (ice may not melt completely; keeping liquid cold slows salt absorption).
  3. Add chicken to cure and weight down with a large plate (to keep submerged). Chill, tub covered with a lid or plastic wrap, 4 to 6 hours.
  4. Rinse chicken and pat dry, then discard brine.
  5. Prepare grill and cold-smoke chicken: Open vents on bottom of grill and on lid. Remove lid and top rack from grill, then center disposable roasting pan on lower rack and add 1 1/2 cups sawdust to pan.
  6. Light 6 charcoal briquettes in chimney starter. When briquettes are fully lit (covered completely with gray ash and glowing), transfer with tongs to sawdust, spacing evenly.
  7. When sawdust begins to smolder, replace top rack and arrange chicken legs on rack about 1 inch apart. Cover grill with lid, then insert thermometer into a vent hole in lid to monitor air temperature, which should be 80 to 120°F. (If temperature rises above 120°F, remove 1 or more briquettes or uncover grill slightly until temperature falls. If temperature falls below 80°F or sawdust stops burning, light 1 more briquette and add to sawdust.)
  8. Smoke chicken, adding 1 1/2 cups sawdust to roasting pan and stirring with tongs every 1 1/2 hours to ignite unburned sawdust, 6 hours. (Chicken will not be cooked.)
  9. Bake chicken: Put oven rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil an 11- by 17-inch roasting pan. Transfer smoked chicken, skin sides up, to pan and bake until the thickest part of a thigh registers 170°F on thermometer, about 25 minutes. Cool completely, uncovered, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until ready to serve.
  10. Cooks' notes: •Chicken can be cured, rinsed, and patted dry 1 day ahead of cold-smoking and chilled, wrapped in plastic wrap. •Chicken can be cold-smoked (but not baked) 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before baking. •Baked smoked chicken keeps, chilled, 1 week, or frozen 2 months.
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Nutrition Facts

Per ServingPer 100 g
Amount Per 1 Serving
Calories 748.33 Kcal (3133 kJ)
Calories from fat 169.41 Kcal
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18.82g 29%
Cholesterol 413.32mg 138%
Sodium 10627.59mg 443%
Potassium 1222.56mg 26%
Total Carbs 47.54g 16%
Sugars 41.89g 168%
Dietary Fiber 0.97g 4%
Protein 89.53g 179%
Vitamin C 0.2mg 0%
Iron 5.6mg 31%
Calcium 142.7mg 14%
Amount Per 100 g
Calories 58.77 Kcal (246 kJ)
Calories from fat 13.3 Kcal
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1.48g 29%
Cholesterol 32.46mg 138%
Sodium 834.63mg 443%
Potassium 96.01mg 26%
Total Carbs 3.73g 16%
Sugars 3.29g 168%
Dietary Fiber 0.08g 4%
Protein 7.03g 179%
Iron 0.4mg 31%
Calcium 11.2mg 14%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Find out how many calories should you eat.


  • salty
  • savory
  • bitter
  • sweet
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Recipe Tags

Weightwatchers Points

  • 16.3
  • 18

Good Points

  • low fat,
  • saturated fat free

Bad Points

  • High in Sodium

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