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Smoked Chicken Leg with J. lohr Cab-Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Smoked chicken leg recipe

Nothing says summer like grilled chicken. Sensational fresh off the coals, this professional-grade barbecue recipe is equally delicious cold on a next-day picnic.

Recipe Courtesy of Chef David Vargas.



  • 2 whole chicken legs (thigh + drumstick)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Kosher salt
  • 6 chile de arbol (dry roasted and crushed with hand)
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 small bag of apple wood chips
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 3 cups water

J. Lohr Cab-Chipotle BBQ Sauce

  • 1 white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 anchovy filet
  • 4 dry chipotle peppers
  • 2 red bell peppers roasted, seeded and peeled
  • 2 tomatoes, grilled hard
  • 1/4 cup Piloncillo sugar
  • 1/4 cup J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon


For Chicken

  1. Mix brown sugar, salt, chiles, peppercorns and bay leaves in large bowl with hands until thoroughly mixed.
  2. In a baking dish, lay down 1/2 of the mixture to cover the bottom of the pan, lay chicken legs on top of the mix and cover with the other half of mix. Make sure the chicken legs are well covered with cure mixture.
  3. Wrap the pan with plastic and let marinate in the fridge for two days.
  4. On the second day mix wine and water together in large bowl. Take out legs and rinse well in wine bath
  5. Place onto a clean baking sheet and let sit in fridge uncovered overnight.
  6. Next day prepare smoker with apple wood chips and smoke for about 1 hour until fork tender.
  7. Preheat the grill for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Carefully pull the chicken off the smoker, and put into baking dish and cover well with BBQ sauce.
  9. Char legs carefully on the grill and serve with your favorite side and a glass of J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon.

For BBQ Sauce

  1. In a thick-bottom pot, sauté onions, garlic and anchovy with three tablespoons of olive oil until translucent.
  2. Add in chipotle peppers, red bell peppers, tomatoes, sugar and J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon.
  3. Cook for about 20 minutes and carefully purée until smooth.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Please visit J. Lohr’s Recipes page for additional recipes and pairing ideas.