These are actual questions I have received from web visitors via email and my answers back to them:
Q: please help me with smoking a whole chicken. I`ve tried things but can`t get a great spicy taste throughout and family says it`s plain tasting.
A: Have you tried brining?
Brining is a process in which you soak the chicken (or any meat) in a salt, sugar and water solution for a specified amount of time. You can also add spices and flavorings to the solution and believe it or not the flavors will get drawn deep into the meat creating a very wonderful taste.
I have a page that talks about brining in detail and on there is a recipe in which I brine a turkey in water, salt, sugar, flavorings, and Zattarains Crab boil.
This creates a spiciness and really rich flavor throughout the meat that I think you should try.
You will need to amend the time in the recipe a little bit.. for a turkey it requires about 6 hours however a whole chicken of around 4 pounds would only require about 4-5 hours.
Another alternative you should try is injecting the chicken with a spicy marinade of butter, water and cajun seasoning.. here is the recipe that I use and you can amend this however you like just be sure and taste it before you use it.. if it taste good to you then it will taste good in the chicken.
Mop Water/Injection Fluid
- 1 cup water
- 1 stick real butter (the salted kind)
- 2 TBS Tony Chacheres Cajun Seasoning
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
You will need an injector which you can pick up at a big box store or even in the supermarket.. if you cannot find one by itself go to the aisle with the barbecue sauce and marinades and sometimes the marinades made for injecting will have an injector attached to the bottle.
My favorite injector of all times is the Bayou Classic found on amazon. It has a much larger needle and does not get clogged up by coarse pepper and and larger grains of spices and ingredients.
You may even see some spicy marinade that looks good.. the main thing is that you get the marinade down into the meat. Inject the chicken in about 20 different spots on the top and bottom and sides of the meat. Be sure and get the wings, legs and thighs a little.
Leave the skin on the chicken and dust on some lemon pepper, cajun seasoning and course black pepper in equal amounts just before smoking.
Smoke the chicken for around 4 hours at 225-250°F or until it reaches 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh or breast.. I like to use mesquite chunks/chips however, you can also get great results from oak, hickory, apple, plum, cherry, apricot or a mix of your favorite fruit or hard wood.
I like to cook it low to give it more time with the smoke but if you want the skin to get more crisp, it is ok to crank up the heat to 275 or even 300°F.
The chicken will be a deep golden brown when it is done.. let it rest for 20 minutes or so before carving to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.
Chicken is a great candidate for cooking in a pellet grill like the Camp Chef Woodwind since you can cook it low for about an hour to get some good smoke flavor and then bring the temperature up to 300+ degrees to finish that skin real nice and all at the turn of a button.
If you have further questions about this.. let me know.