Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Grill Happy Chicken Thighs

As I repair here at the pond-side pit, lovely beverage at hand, I muse over the delightful breeze skirting the dogwoods yonder, and the cool blades of IMG_2627steely, green grass which grow up to my patio front. I like how the Chickadees flirt to and fro the suet I had set out for them here, and how the late even sunlight slants through the Spruce bows as if on golden arms from above. Like-wise how the stately Spruce sports its new growth this time of year, in dollops of soft, green needles, lighter in appearance, but softer to the touch. I like that for some reason. Also with the resident Mallards which cavort out on the pond, and the handsome Cardinals that banter from the old cottonwood tree, this, and the chorus of a thousand and one song birds trilling at once, whilst the apple wood smoke rises from the grill damper, in soft, aromatic tendrils which dissolve into a pastel sky. What a fabulous evening to be a pit keeper in Minnesota.

On the pit tonight, a simple affair. Juicy, apple-smoked chicken thighs and grilled asparagus. Good eating, and simple to do. Let’s get after it.

photo5First order of business was to hit the thighs liberally in some Grill Happy Seasoning. If you haven’t had occasion, Grill Happy Seasonings is the best thing since Colonel Sanders to a dead a chicken. I first discovered this seasoning many years ago, at the Minnesota State Fair. Being a patron of the pit, and general meat enthusiast,  I always make the rounds of  the various grilled food there. And one thing I make sure to never miss is the pork chop on a stick. For the longest time I loved those pork chops and didn’t know why exactly. And then one day I figured it out – the seasoning. Turns out you can buy the very same seasoning they use right there at the fair for their world-famous pork chops. Also turns out, go figure, it goes great on chicken too. And that’s what were up to tonight. Grill Happy chicken thighs! So buckle up and tie your bibs on, people, cause here we go!


After seasoning the chicken, and oiling down the cast iron grate, go ahead and place the meat over direct heat, and sear up the thighs to your pit master standards. We like a crispy skin on our thighs, so we let them sear there over the hot coals for a couple of minutes probably. Monitoring them frequently with tongs in one hand, and manly beverage in the other. It’s a lovely dance between man and meat that you will soon get the hang of, iffin you’re not a master of it already. Once seared and crispy, especially upon that notoriously floppy flap of skin which is the bane and burden of most chicken thighs, do slide them over, opposite the hot coals, for the remained of their thermal journey. We added some apple wood to the coal bed, our smoke wood of choice today, plunked the old enameled lid on, and then got about the heady business of doing what we do best – loitering!


Nothing is quite so fine, nor nourishing to the soul, than taking up a quiet residence in your man chair, aside wafting plumes of apple wood smoke. To kick your feet up there, and consider the day. How the heavens sing of a deep blue, and the air is as soft and pleasant as a new baby’s face. Note how the leaves of the cottonwood tremble in form, clacking gently, like a million-and-one credit cards in the wind. And the hearty banter of bird song fill the smokey tinted air with poetry and grace. I sink a little lower in my BBQ chair, slouching in posture, and completely at ease. My eye lids draw shut  like a New York City shop keep pulling his shades down at day’s end.  The nasal pleasing ideal of apple wood smoke and grill happy seasoning mingle on the scene. My head bobs to and fro, loose at the neck, until my chin comes to rest upon my flannel clad chest. A Black Capped Chickadee chirps at the feeder. I am out. I am, as the Italians like to say, “fuori dalla griglia” , or, off the grid.


OK, I don’t know if Italians really say that or not, but I’d like to think they do. It’s how it should be at the pit. When those coals are lit, and the smoke is curling, our world and our cares are at once reduced, or simplified in the moment. And it is our job as pit keepers to simply savor that moment, for the moment’s sake. And let the world spin head long with out us for a while. Let the cog of society chew on its own spore and not on you! This is our time to kick back. To relish the supreme ambiance and endearing joys patron to the pit. Amen.

Ten minutes from the end of the cook, we tossed on some marinated asparagus, indirect, to add a bit of green to the end game, and to gain marks with the lady folk. If we men were left to our own devices, we’d probably eat a plate just straight up with meat.  And it would be fine! Anyways, the asparagus was good. Really good. Marinated for a couple of hours first in a solution of: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. It adds a rather robust, yet abiding and  lovely taste to the vegetable.  Give it a try some day.


Apple Smoked Grill Happy Chicken Thighs and Marinated Grilled Asparagus Spears. You could eat a lot worse and not nearly have so much fun.

*This site is an amazon affiliate for Craycort grates, as seen in this article. If interested, do check out the amazon link below. We do receive a small commission if you buy one, which helps fund this site. We do sincerely appreciate your support!

Cast Iron Grate, Pre Seasoned, Non Stick Cooking Surface, Modular Fits 22.5″ Grills

38 responses

  1. Never heard of the Grill Happy spice mix but will seek it out. The meal looks fantastic!

    May 29, 2014 at 10:10 am

    • Well I do believe it is a local seasoning. Not sure how far reaching they are, but it sure is tasty. Thanks much!

      May 29, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      • We ship in the United States and may ship internationally if requested.

        February 2, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    • Patti Peterson

      They are a small local business but you can order it on line at

      June 8, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      • Thanks for chiming in Patti! If I’m not mistaken, I think you run the pork chop experience that I’ve come to love at the fair. Man, I love them chops! Will you be doing the Back to the 50’s thing this summer? I might need to swing by and support thee!

        June 9, 2014 at 10:19 am

  2. Reblogged this on asiacopper.

    May 29, 2014 at 10:32 am

  3. Nice 🙂

    May 29, 2014 at 12:06 pm

  4. Wings and thighs. My favorites!

    May 29, 2014 at 12:07 pm

  5. Deerslayer’s been working pretty hard lately. I think I’m gonna surprise him with these grilled thighs (our absolute favorite part of the bird) and asparagus. The surprise is gonna come from ME taming the grill. Up to this point, it’s always been his baby, so to speak. Will it work if I hold tongs in one hand and a stemmed wine glass in the other?

    May 29, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    • You’re funny. A real hootenanny Mrs Deerslayer! Yes, I do believe you have the natural instincts to pull off such a feat at the grill front. Only you could make it work!

      Have a good one Mrs Deerslayer!

      May 29, 2014 at 3:29 pm

  6. looks fantastic!

    May 29, 2014 at 12:51 pm

  7. “I like that for some reason.”… Who would not like that for some reason after seven months of brutal hard winter? God bless you all in the frozen northlands!

    Tonight is our care-taker’s birthday and we will be grilling filet mignon steaks in honor of the day in the same 85 degree comfort we enjoy here all year. I brought back wood chips from the USA and will heap a few on the coals tonight to bring a southwestern mesquite flair to the grill.

    Keep up the good work my friend!

    May 29, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    • Thanks much for the blessing, John. We’ll take it. Our winter dues have been paid in full. Today it is in the 80’s here. Almost catching up to you.

      Mesquite filet mignon …. yum!! Good eating in Ecuador! Enjoy!

      May 29, 2014 at 3:25 pm

  8. Oh yes, thighs. Wrapped in apple or orange smoke are wonderful fare. Nice work POP.

    May 29, 2014 at 4:37 pm

  9. Mmmmm, I would love to have this for dinner tonight! Have you grilled corn on the cob? If so, how long does it take to cook?

    May 29, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    • Thank you. Oh yes, corn on the con is outstanding on the grill. About ten minutes is all it takes, rotating often. I like doing them with out the husk to get some char marks. Soak them in sugar water for sweeter corn. Good eating!

      May 29, 2014 at 5:09 pm

      • Great idea about the sugar water… Will be grilling these ASAP! Thanks for the grilling advice

        May 29, 2014 at 11:45 pm

  10. I so enjoy reading your work. My husband is the Patron here, we have a Large Big Green Egg he puts to good use.
    The Patron of my house lived in Dallas for several years and upon leaving discovered Beef Brisket – properly smoked is a rare thing.
    We are now in South Florida and I too am looking at the cardinals in my backyard whilst the smoke is curling skyward..
    I wish I could see the new growth on the spruces, I really appreciate the comment..I do love the conifers we are lacking here.

    May 29, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    • Ah the big green eggs are the best cookers on the planet! A lucky patron you have there. Someday I hope to kindle some fires in one or those. In the mean time , the humble weber is good to go. Thanks for chiming in with your comment. It’s great to see others enjoying the finer, simpler things in life. Carry on!

      May 29, 2014 at 9:14 pm

  11. This looks delicious! All the food you post about looks amazing, but tonight I’m especially wishing I could eat it through the Internet. There’s something about chicken thighs on a grill… so good!

    May 29, 2014 at 6:33 pm

  12. laurie27wsmith

    You guys are unique, you wax poetic about your cooking, which is great and stimulate our senses with your prose. That chicken looks, well, good enough to eat.

    May 30, 2014 at 12:51 am

    • It was edible! Thanks for the compliments Laurie. It is appreciated.
      Take care.

      May 30, 2014 at 9:05 am

      • laurie27wsmith

        You’re always welcome.

        May 30, 2014 at 8:58 pm

  13. what a wonderfully written post…

    May 30, 2014 at 3:34 am

    • Thanks for that, Me Fitz. Many thanks indeed. Cheers!

      May 30, 2014 at 9:06 am

      • Credit where credit is due right?

        May 30, 2014 at 10:32 am

  14. I do love the thigh, well done again Sir. Nice to see you are enjoying the warmth Mother Nature has FINALLY graced us with. Happiness is a smokie grill and warmer weather with which to enjoy all things out of doors. Not that I don’t enjoy the Winter as well but … this past one was long and hard … just like grade 3. 🙂

    May 30, 2014 at 11:28 am

  15. Our asparagus patch is finally producing like a fiend right now. Nice, sweet, stalks of green goodness. Those look mighty fine. Oh, and by the way, you have some nice thighs as well…

    May 30, 2014 at 6:40 pm

  16. Reblogged this on Florescu Madalin.

    June 2, 2014 at 1:26 pm

  17. Debbie Spivey

    Yum! Welcome spring and Asparagus!

    June 5, 2014 at 12:23 pm

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