This is a very impressive dinner party starter: light and refreshing, smoky and sweet. I got a smoker for my birthday so I’m like a kid in the toy shop with it, but if you don’t have a smoker, this works just as well without: just cook the chicken in the oven at 180C/Gas 4 for 40 mins until the juices run clear and the skin is crispy.
4 chicken thighs, skin on
½ watermelon, chilled and cut into 2cm cubes
Seeds from 1 pomegranate
1 bunch coriander, leaves and stalks finely chopped
½ bunch mint, leaves only, torn
2 long red chillies, seeds removed, sliced
Juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
½ tsp Szechuan pepper, ground
1. Place 2 tbsp hickory wood chips in a Camerons smoker. Put the drip tray over the chips, then a wire rack over the drip tray. Place the chicken thighs on the wire rack.
2. Place the smoker on the hob and cook over a medium heat for around 40 mins, until the chicken is smoked and cooked through.
3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.
4. When the chicken is cooked, transfer the rack and drip tray to the oven to crisp up the skin, for approx. 10 mins.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before flaking the skin and meat from the bone with two forks.
6. To make the salad, place the watermelon, pomegranate, coriander, mint and chillies in a large mixing bowl and pour over the lime, sauces and peppers, then add the flaked chicken.
7. Toss together and serve warm as a fantastic starter.