The Hedgecombers’ Tea-Smoked Chicken Thighs

The Hedgecombers’ Tea-Smoked Chicken Thighs

Jane Sarchet, also known as The Hedgecombers, is a food writer, photographer and real food recipe creator who uses high quality, natural ingredients from on and around her family farm in Cornwall. Her latest venture is a 6-part TV series for Amazon Prime where she travels around Cornwall in her camper discovering some of the best kept culinary secrets in Britain. This fantastic Asian-inspired chicken recipe was featured on episode 2 of the series, which you can watch here.

A fun recipe that delivers moist, juicy chicken thighs with a lovely, smoky flavour. Jane simply serves them with rice and pak choi, but they would work equally well with noodles.


4 Skinless, boneless chicken thighs

For the marinade

Zest and juice of 1 orange

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp runny honey

For the smoking mixture

60g black tea leaves

100g uncooked, dry rice

To serve

Cooked basmati rice & pak choi that has been stir fried in a little toasted sesame oil


1. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Add the chicken thighs, tossing around to coat each one well. Leave to one side whilst you prepare the smoking mixture, or cover and leave overnight in the fridge.

2. Line a flat, heavy bottomed pan, that has a tight fitting lid, with 2 layers of foil.

3. Preheat the pan to medium high heat.

4. Tip the tea leaves and uncooked rice onto the foil, and mix together before spreading out into an even layer.

5. Place a heatproof trivet over the rice. Ensure the trivet is high enough to not touch the smoking mixture.

6. When the tea starts to smoke, place the marinated chicken thighs on the trivet, leaving a little space around each one.

7. Pop the pan lid on and leave on a medium heat, untouched, for 20 minutes.

8. After 20 minutes, pour half an inch of boiling water into the bottom of the pan and quickly place the lid back on. The steam created will finish cooking the chicken perfectly.

9. Steam for 15 more minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken thighs reaches 75°C/165F. 

10. Remove the chicken with tongs, slice each piece into thick slices and serve with the rice and pak choi.



More recipes from The Hedgecombers:

Traditional British Pork Pies


4 thoughts on “The Hedgecombers’ Tea-Smoked Chicken Thighs”

  • Janet, Great recipe and will try it, but it is not clear whether you leave the heat ON or OFF under the pan when you put the lid on the smoking mixture for 20 minutes!! I guess OFF but then you light up again to boil the water to steam it.
    many thanks, Jonathan. (Devon)

    • Hi Jonathan, thank you for your question. The pan should be left on a medium heat while it smokes for 20 minutes, and we have adjusted the recipe to include this. Hope you enjoying making the recipe!

  • Ahh, so lovely to be reminded of the lovely scents and flavours of this dish! I had so much fun playing around with the recipe, getting it just right. Smoking food over tea leaves is a really fun way to cook.

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