Hello and welcome to the July edition of the Smoking Meat newsletter.. it just so happens that this month is also our 24th issue. It's our 2nd anniversary and we are so happy that you are able to celebrate with us.
I try to stay with what is concerning folks the most in any given month and I have had so many emails asking about smoking chicken that I feel a real need to cover it in detail.
I will be including a lot of my own special tips for making sure it is tender, juicy and full of flavor so stick around and let's talk about one of my favorite meats.
Last month we discussed an all time favorite.. smoked meatloaf. I covered the whole process from start to finish with pictures and all so if you missed it you might want to check it out soon.
By the way.. thanks for all of the feedback! I got tons of email from folks who tried the meatloaf and most of them alluded to never cooking meatloaf in the oven again;-)
Smoked chicken is such a great summertime meal especially after it starts getting really hot and you really don't want to be outside all day cooking brisket or pork shoulder. With chicken you can do the preparation, brining , etc. and then wait for it to cool off in the evening before smoking it or you could very easily do it earlier in the morning for a nice lunch before things heat up too bad.
For those of you in the north who do not see hot weather, I don't even want to talk about it.
I like to go with a good plump chicken around 4 to 4.5 pounds. I try to find one that is "minimally processed" and does not have a saltwater solution injected into it.
Important: If the chicken is already injected with a solution of salt water it will say so and may be too salty if you brine it.
Remove the chicken from the package and rinse it really well under cool water and set it aside.
At this point you have to decide if you are going to brine it or just season it and smoke it. It will be good either way but the brining just adds a little juiciness to it that you want have otherwise.
If you decide to brine then you will want to mix a cup of kosher salt to a gallon of water in a non reactive pan or plastic bucket. You can also add other flavorings if you wish like worcestershire sauce, beer, wine, juice, Tabasco, etc.
If you decide to use regular salt instead of Kosher salt.. I don't recommend it but if you do just use half as much.
I have a turkey brine that also works well for chicken on the brining meat page.
Make enough brine to cover the chicken(s) and soak them in the fridge for 4 hours stirring occasionally.
If you want to season them up real goodthen I recommend my very own Jeff's naked rib rub which is good on almost everything. Order the recipe here.
Give the chicken a good dusting rub.. try to get it up under the skin as much as possible otherwise the seasoning will do the meat no good at all.
Tip: Use Butter to help the rub/seasoning to stick better. Rub butter all over the skin and under the skin on the meat as much as possible.
Set the chicken aside and go start the fire in the smoker.
I recommend lump charcoal if you can find it and apple wood for the smoke. Make sure you have plenty of airflow into the smoker and out of the smoker to prevent the creation of creosote on the meat.
Tip: you can smoke chicken a little hotter than you do other meats to crisp up the skin a little without damaging the meat. I normally shoot for around 250 to 275 degrees but it is perfectly acceptable to go as high as 300 degrees.
Once the chicken has been sitting out of the fridge for about 30 minutes to come to room temperature and the smoker is maintaining your target temperature, place the chicken on the grate and quickly close the door or lid to conserve heat.
Note: It is important to let meat come to room temperature a little bit before smoking since placing cold meat in the smoker can induce the formation of creosote.
Keep applying smoke to the chicken for the first 2 to 2.5 hours by refilling your chip box or placing more chunks or sticks of wood on the coals. If you are using a milder wood like pecan or apple you may want to smoke longer for a smokier flavor.
Be sure to mop the chicken with apple juice or melted butter every hour to help keep the skin from drying out.
After the chicken has been smoked for 2 to 2.5 hours continue to apply heat until the thickest part of the thigh reaches 167 degrees using a digital probe meat thermometer found at Amazon.com or other stores such as Wal-mart, Target, Lowe's, Ace Hardware, etc.
Total cook time for the chicken(s) should be around 3 to 4 hours depending on how hot you smoke it.
Remove the chicken from the smoker and place it on the cabinet to rest.. be sure to not puncture it until it has rested for at least 15 minutes or so. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.
Tip: For a really great alternative, baste the chicken with my barbecue sauce about 30 minutes before it is done cooking and then serve warm sauce on the side for dipping.
I can tell you that I do not like breast meat that well simply because it is just not as juicy as the darker meat. However, with my barbecue sauce to dip it in, I will eat the white meat of the chicken as well as the dark and never think twice about it. It really is that good!
Guaranteed to be the best you ever ate or your money back!
I get emails almost every day now from folks all over the globe who are so happy they decided to give the recipes a try.. you owe it to yourself to try my BBQ sauce recipe with this chicken for the best results.
If you are truly serious about barbecue and cooking outdoors for family and friends then you need my rub and sauce recipes. It is the two tools that you absolutely need in your barbecue toolbox and the are the second most important investment next to your smoker in my opinion and lots of folks agree.
Eric from New Hampshire wrote..
Jeff, I finally got around to making your rub and BBQ sauce recipe this past weekend and man was I in for a grand surprise!
I expected them to be good but nothing better than a lot of other recipes that I have used.
I was almost knocked off my feet with flavor! My wife said the sauce was the best she had ever ate and I tend to agree;-)
Keep up the great work! Thanks for the website and for making the recipes available to a guy like me who is learning how to smoke meat.
Let me know when you get your videos completed.
Thank you Eric for the kind words.. I put my heart and soul into those recipes as well as this website and I feel fortunate to have so many fans..
If you would like to experience these recipes for yourself (and you should) simply click the link below to read more testimonies or click here to go ahead and order.
Note: This is an immediate download which means just as soon as you order you should receive a download link within minutes.
Note: Please email me right away if you do not receive an email within just a few minutes of ordering so I can jump into action and find out what is going on.
I have an outside company that handles this for me and I have to keep them on their toes.. my goal is 100% satisfaction and I won't be satisfied until you are. I promise.