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Cooking a Delicious Chicken
Have you ever tasted chicken so good that the chicken is practically falling off the bone, or do you wonder why your chicken always comes out dry, stringy or rubbery? Your answers can simply revolve around the way you cook your chickens. One of the most popular ways to cook a delicious chicken is to smoke the bird itself. Learning how to smoke chicken can be a fun experience by making an evening out of the event, so let’s get started.
What You Will Need to Smoke a Chicken
When it comes to the things you’ll need to cook your chicken, you will want to create a list to make it easier. It is important that you list both the ingredients and tools necessary to cook the chicken successfully. The most important item that you need is the smoker itself. The essential items are:
These items are just the main items that you will need. By using your cooking items correctly, you can cook your chicken successfully. Now that we’ve covered the items you’ll need, we can cover the type of chicken to choose.
You are sure to find a smoker that can fit any budget, as for us the best choice is a grill smoker combo. Although you may find smokers that use propane, the ideal smoker would be a charcoal smoker. The charcoal that you use can give the chicken that extra flavor that can make a difference between a good and great chicken. You can even enhance the smoky flavor of the chicken by investing in mesquite charcoal. Both electric and propane smokers can let you set the timer and temperatures for cooking the meat without having to check on the heat. In the end, your decision will come down to convenience or flavor.
How to Choose the Chicken
Choosing the chicken is not difficult. You will only have to consider a few alternatives. One main thing to consider is how big you want the chicken, such as pounds. Nowadays, you’ll find that many chickens come bigger because of growth hormones, which is harmless when it comes to the consumption of the chicken. However, if you want a chicken that is organic, which means no growth hormones, you may notice the difference in size. You can also choose chickens that already come marinated and ready to smoke.
Which Spices are Best for the Chicken?
Here is a list of the recommended spices:
These spices are excellent choices when you find the right recipe and combination. By the time you know it, you’ll get the hang of adding the right spices to the chicken.
Our Top 3 Recipes
Barbecue Smoked Chicken
You will be slowly smoking this whole chicken at a low, slow temperature of 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow between 3 to 5 hours to smoke a whole chicken depending on the weight of the bird and the temperature of your smoker. You will know when your smoked chicken is done when the internal breast temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
• 1 whole chicken
• Olive oil
• 1 bottle of barbecue seasoning – McCormick or Grill Mates brands recommended
• 1 bottle of your favorite restaurant BBQ sauce
• Apple or Cherry wood
1. Start by soaking your wood chips in water for an hour to two.
2. The next step is to light your charcoal smoker approximately 30 to 35 minutes before you want to start cooking the chicken.
3. Mix your BBQ seasoning with some olive oil until it turns into a paste. Take your hands and apply the paste all over the chicken.
4. Throw your smoker wood on and place the seasoned bird on the grates of the smoker. You want to adjust the vent on top of your smoker to allow about 75% of the vent to be open.
5. Check the barbecue chicken about once an hour to see if you are holding the right temperature.
6. Take the chicken off the smoker when it has reached an internal temperature inside the breast of 165 degrees and tent it with aluminum foil. Never cut into meat when it is hot off the smoker. After 20 minutes, slice and serve along with a bowl of BBQ sauce.
Slow Smoked Barbecue Chicken
We simply took our house dry rub and turned it into a brine. You can make this the same way, or skip the brine and apply a smaller amount of dry rub to the skin – just don’t brine and rub the bird, or it will be too salty.
• 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
• 1/2 cup kosher salt
• 1/2 cup ground espresso beans
• 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons garlic powder
• ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon
• ground cumin, 1 tablespoon
• cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon
• 1 whole chicken – about 4 pounds, giblets removed
1. Making the dry rub:
Combine all the ingredients except for the chicken in a resealable container, cover tightly, and shake well to combine.
2. Putting the dry rub:
Put the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and coat the chicken lightly all over with 1/2 cup dry rub and set aside.
3. Prep your kettle grill:
Fill a chimney starter about halfway with hardwood charcoal. Let the charcoal burn until the coals are glowing red and coated in gray ash. Put on a pair of heavy-duty fireproof gloves and carefully dump the charcoal into one side of the grill, over the bottom air vent if your grill has one, leaving the other half free of coals. Place a disposable aluminum tray on the other side to use as a drip pan. Place a few hardwood chunks or a foil packet of wood chips over the coals. Add the top grate and put your meat over the drip pan. Cover the grill while placing the air vents in the lid over the meat. Open both vents about halfway.
Place the chicken in the smoker and smoke while maintaining a smoker temperature of between 200° and 225°F and replenishing the wood chunks or chips as needed. When the thermometer inserted into the center of a leg registers 165°F, 3 to 5 hours, you can transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. At this point, you can cut the chicken into quarters or tear the meat into shreds to make pulled chicken.
Applewood Smoked Chicken
This recipe produces incredibly juicy chicken. The chicken is smoked low and slow then taken out of the smoker to finish cooking covered from ambient heat. The results are amazing. The rubs are spicy but provide a ton of flavor!
• salt, 1 teaspoon
• paprika, 1 teaspoon
• garlic powder, 1 teaspoon
• garlic salt, 1 teaspoon
• black pepper, 1 teaspoon
• crushed red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon
• cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon
• dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon
• dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon
• brown sugar, 2 tablespoons
• 1 whole chicken, halved
• Applewood chips for smoking, as needed
1. In a medium size bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Rub the seasoning over the both halves of the chicken. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. Place wood chips in the smoking tray of the grill. If you don’t have this option, you can make a packet out of aluminum foil and punch a few holes in the top.
3. Place the chicken on a hot grill over medium-heat with the meat side down. Grill over the wood chips for 1 hour and 20 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the chicken to its opposite side. The juices near the bone should run clear.
The cooking process can be easy if you follow the instructions. Although you can find a variety of recipes, which can include different ingredients, you will find that the cooking process will be the same most of the time. Remember that you will be using indirect heat to cook the chicken, so make sure the fire isn’t directly burning the chicken. The smoke will do all of the cooking to perfection. It is ideal that you check on your chicken every hour, but do not check it more than once an hour.
Best Ideas to Serve the Chicken
If you like to have traditional barbecues, your best bets are probably going to be the staples of any barbecue, such as potato salad, ranch style beans and rice. Barbecue sauce is a great alternative for dipping the chicken. Mesquite or spicy barbecue sauce can enhance the flavor with every bite that you take.
You can go all out with your smoked chicken by spicing up the regular plates. A great example is making the beans with sausage, bacon, onions, cilantro and jalapenos. If you have an extra grill, you can also slice up some potatoes, with the skin, and put them in a pouch made of foil. Put your pouch of fries on the grill. You can serve your fries topped with cheese and sprinkled pepper.
Now You Know How to Smoke Chicken
Did you get hungry just by reading the recipes and ideas on how to smoke chicken? Imagine how you’ll feel when you start cooking and smelling that wonderful aroma of the chicken. It’s another good idea to have a snack or two while you’re cooking the chicken because you will get hungry, but it’ll all be worth it when everything comes out to your satisfaction.