Hello and welcome to another exciting edition of the smoking meat newsletter!
As shocking as it may seem, I do like other foods that are not smoked and some of my favorites are in the Asian cuisine category.
I have a very special place in my heart for Thai food.
Every time my wife and I go to one of our favorite Thai restaurants for a date, we always end up ordering these Thai chicken satays with some sort of peanut sauce to dip them in.
So the peanut sauce is really good but the last time I had them I got to thinking that you could do this in a smoker with rub and barbecue sauce and it would really be amazing.
You could also grill them over high heat but I love to cook things slow and give the smoke a chance to do it’s thing so.. I had my challenge.
If you’ve never had satays, they are marinated strips of meat on a stick and it’s considered street food in many Asian cities. I love any kind of food on a stick and I think you will thoroughly enjoy these either as an appetizer or even as a main course.
You could also create a peanut based dipping sauce for these and it would go really good with the smoke but that is not what I was after in this episode. Maybe next time.
What You’ll Need
- (2) packages of chicken breast tenders. (mine had 10 pcs per package)
- 1/2 gallon of water
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar (dark will work if it’s all you have)
- 1/4 cup of Hellman’s REAL mayonnaise
- (1) batch of Jeff’s rub recipe (purchase recipes)
- (1) batch of Jeff’s sauce recipe
Note: the breast tenders were about 1/4 inch thick or so. You could also buy whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts and cut them into pieces yourself.
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Brine the Breast Tenders
Estimated time: 2 hours
Brining chicken and especially the breast meat, is such an important part of making sure it ends up juicy and tender. The fact that it’s so easy to do means you never have to serve dry chicken breast meat again in any form.
Mix the 1/2 gallon of water with 1/2 cup kosher salt and 1/2 cup of brown sugar until the water is clear and all ingredients are dissolved.
Place the breast tenders in a zip top bag and pour in enough brine to cover. Zip the bag closed.
Place the bag down in a bowl to prevent the risk of leakage and place it in the fridge for 2 hours.
Note: About 1 hour into the brine is a great time to go get the smoker ready. You are looking for about 240 degrees if possible.
Once the brining process is finished, pour off the brine and rinse the chicken with cold water.
Seasoning the Breast Tenders
Estimated time: 5 minutes
Here lately I have been using mayonnaise instead of mustard on chicken to help the rub to stick. If you think about it, mayonnaise is basically oil and eggs and you really can’t ask for a better combination on the chicken.
Since this recipe calls for 20 pieces, you’ll need about 1/4 cup of mayonnaise to get the job done right.
Stir the chicken around mixing it with the mayonnaise using a spoon or your hands if you like to get messy with it.
Pour on about 1/4 cup of my rub for great flavor
Once again, stir the meat to mix the mayonnaise and rub and get a coating on the chicken.
Getting the Chicken onto a Stick
Estimated time: 5 minutes
I did not get a good picture of this but it’s pretty easy, just hold one of the breast tenders in one hand and push a stick through the center of the piece lengthwise.
Lay the completed pieces onto a Bradley rack as shown in the picture below:
I recommend that you get the smoker going while the chicken is brining but if you did not, you might want to place the chicken back in the fridge if it’s going to take more than 30 minutes.
It is very important that the smoking temperature is as close to 240 degrees as possible and that you are able to hold this for about 30 minutes. Our main concern at this point is that the chicken does not overcook so I highly recommend that you stay right there with it while it cooks.
Note: I usually make a few extra pieces as testers
Getting the Smoker Ready to Cook
Estimated time: 30-60 minutes (depending on what type of smoker you are using)
As I say in almost every newsletter here lately.. all of my recipes are designed to be used in ANY smoker with no regard to whether it is electric, charcoal, gas or wood.
I have written some helpful information on the operation and getting the most out of several popular smokers below however, there is no substitute for experience. Like anything else, you will find that the more you use your smoker, the better you will get at controlling the temperature and making it work for you in the way that it should.
- Bradley 4-Rack Digital Smoker – An electric smoker that is fully automated and keeps the temperature where you set it. It also keeps the smoke flowing via an automated mechanism that moves a new wood puck into the smoker every 20 minutes. See this smoker and read reviews on Amazon.com
- Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5 Smoker – the king of charcoal water smokers. Add charcoal, water and wood and you’re good to go for several hours. 3 dampers on the fire bowl allow you to dial in the air perfectly for maintaining perfect smoking temperatures. See this smoker and read reviews on Amazon.com
- Big Green Egg – Ceramic cooker that uses charcoal. Add lump charcoal, light it and add some wood.. set the top and bottom vent and you’re good to go for hours on end due to the thick walls that hold heat incredibly well.
- Great Outdoors Smoky Mountain Propane Smoker – A propane smoker that works exceptionally well. I have had mine for more than 8 years and it still works great. See this smoker and read reviews on Amazon.com
- More smokers on the way..
Note: In colder weather, it is advisable to preheat the smoker at least an hour or more before you are wanting to use it. Keep the door closed as much as possible and even skip basting if necessary to maintain proper smoking temperatures.
Smoking the Chicken Satays
Estimated time: 25-30 minutes
I wanted to use my gas smoker for these due to the inclement weather but I discovered that I was out of propane (bad planning on my part) and so I decided to use my reverse flow wood burning smoker by Meadow Creek for these.
I poured in an ample amount of lump charcoal and used 3 pieces of firestarter to get the coals going.
This is when it started raining and then sleeting!
It took about 2 hours for the smoker to overcome the 20 degree temperature and the cold rain and pieces of ice hitting the smoker but I finally got it up to 240 degrees. I fed it hickory splits to build up a big bed of hot coals.
Once the smoker was holding steady, I grabbed the satays from the kitchen counter and quickly placed them in the smoker trying to not hold the lid of the smoker open any longer than I had to.
The temperature dropped slightly but quickly recovered.
At the 25 minute mark, I quickly opened the lid and grabbed one of the chicken satays from the grate and closed the lid again.
It was perfectly done, and it was very tender. If you check it at 25 minutes and the chicken is not quite done, just put it back in and check it again every 5 minutes or so.
It is very easy to overcook these so be careful or you will have chicken jerky on your hands.
Serve the smoked chicken satays with sauce on the side or already brushed on.. your choice.
Due to the meat being so thin, it is difficult to use a probe thermometer to get an accurate reading on the chicken. I slightly overcooked my first batch trying to do this but it is the only safe way to really tell that the chicken is safe to eat.
You might be better off using a thermometer with a much smaller probe to test for the chicken being done.
Regardless of what method you use, be sure the chicken reaches 165 degrees in the center.
If your chicken is a different thickness or the smoker is running at a different temperature, this will affect the length of time that it takes to get the chicken satays done. Make adjustments accordingly.
If you are wanting the charred look on the chicken satay then simply smoke them for about 15 minutes then finish them off on the hot grill with just a couple of minutes per side.
If you do not have a probe thermometer, you can find them on Amazon.com or even at your local store for as little as 15 dollars. If you want one that tells you the temperature wirelessly via a monitor that you carry with you into the house, it will run you about $60 dollars.
I have both types and I have to say that I am very spoiled by not having to run out to the smoker to check the temperature of both the smoker and the meat. I use the Maverick ET-732 and it is a huge time saver for me and so worth the cost in my opinion.
The Maverick ET-732 has (2) probes, one for the smoker temperature and another one for the meat temperature. The sending unit sits on top of the smoker and the receiver stays in your pocket or sits on the table top or counter up to 300 feet away.
- Brine breast tenders for 2 hours
- Rinse breast tenders and coat with mayonnaise and rub
- Place breast tenders onto skewers
- Smoke cook for about 25-30 minutes at 240 degrees
- Serve with brushed on sauce or sauce on the side
Get the Recipes for Jeff’s Rub and Sauce
***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!
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Read these recent testimonies:
Love the sauce and rubLove the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well! ~Peter S.
I tried the rub on a beef..I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while. ~Darwyn B.
Love the original rib rubLove the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future! ~Michelle M.
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Other Notable Resources
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- My favorite barbecue magazine.. StoryQue (for iPad)
- Smoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue (my book)
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- Follow Jeff on Twitter
- Newsletter Archive (All of our past newsletters archived just for you)
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