On the Grill – Smoked Chicken
I love to BBQ!! Something about the smoke and fire make it a primal experience for me.Through the years I have had a variety of grills from an oil barrel grill to a water smoker.I used to be a “Charcoal Only” person but several years ago i even had an opportunity purchase a gas grill , at a reasonable price. and learned to like it.I have grilled/ smoked everything from geese to potatoes! A goal of mine is to get comfortable enough with BBQ that I enter the world of Competitive BBQ ( I have a cousin on the east coast who does this quite successfully. Her team is the Purple Turtle team ).
It has gotten warm enough to start smoking again. Although I will, on a whim, grill/smoke in even the most inclement weather I try to save my resources for spring and fall. Whole chicken were on sale at the market this week and provided me with the opportunity.
One of the most important elements of BBQ is to prepare your meat. For the chicken I used a brine. This does two things. The smoke clings to the salt in the brine better and the chicken stays moist from the brine. This brine will be enough for 2 chickens. I brined them for 5 1/2 hours. Also, as long as you are getting a fire going you may as well smoke as much as you can. no sense wasting all that good smoke! When I do ribs I always throw a chicken on too.
A basic brine recipe:
One Gallon water
One Cup Kosher Salt
One Cup Sugar (Brown)
Right now I still have my trusty Weber Kettle ( 20 years old) and am using to smoke. One of the important things to remember about smoking is that the rule is “Low and Slow”. I put the charcoal on one side of the grill and a drip pan filled with water on the other. I place the chicken over the drip pan so the fat that is rendered doesn’t burn. Also the water help to moderate the heat. My goal is to cook between 225 and 250 degrees.
Although there are several types of wood people use to smoke I like hickory. I soak my chips in water for an hour before tossing them on my fire. I have a thermometer in the grill to monitor temperature and I adjust accordingly by opening and closing the lid and/or the air holes on the top and bottom of the grill. My chickens took approximately 2 1/2 hours to cook.
We ate our chicken hot off the grill. I am making a smoked chicken and vegetable Penne Pasta with the leftover from the one chicken and the other one will go in the freezer for another day!