These smoked chicken quarters are first brined then coated with a mayo based glaze to carry some of my original rub, garlic and chives onto the outside of the chicken and hold it there.
These are smoked in a pellet smoker at a hotter than usual temperature to help crisp the skin but if you have a traditional smoker that works better at the lower smoking temperatures, that will work just fine and I'll give you some tips to help ensure the skin ends up with a good “bite through” texture.
That bacon wrapped corn on the cob you see in the picture above was also an experiment that turned out tremendously well and I'll give you some information on that below.
Combine ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Cover and store in the fridge until ready to use.
(I made several batches of this until I came up with the perfect ratios of ingredients. I have to admit the stuff is very tasty and I look forward to trying it on other types of meat as well.)
Step 3: Apply the Glaze
Put the chicken quarters into a pan to reduce the mess.
Place a dollop (a heaping TBS) of the mayo glaze onto each chicken quarter
Use your hands to massage the glaze all over the chicken trying to even get some down under the skin wherever possible.
I transferred them to a Bradley rack for easy transporting to and from the smoker.
Step 4: Smoke Time
Set up your smoker for cooking at 275°F if possible.
Please note: Some of you may have smokers that cannot cook this hot and if that is the case, no problem. Just set up for 225°F knowing that it will take slightly longer than mine did.
Place the chicken quarters directly on the smoker grate and let them smoke away for about 1.5 hours or until they reach 165°F in the thickest part as measured by a digital meat thermometer.
The only way to know for sure that the chicken is safely done to the proper temperature is to use a thermometer. I recommend the one and only Thermapen Mk4 for this.
It is a fast, high quality, temperature measuring device that you will use for years to come. It reads in 2 to 3 seconds, has an intelligent backlight that only comes on when the ambient light is low, senses motion for wake and sleep and is waterproof to IP67 so you can clean it without fear of water ingress.
This is the thermometer that I use in all of my cooking and I recommend you do the same.
The skin definitely gets a nice bite through when you cook it at 275°F but to enhance this, you can crank up the heat during the last 30 minutes or you can remove them 10-15 degrees early and place them on a very hot grill or under the oven broiler for a super high-heat finish.
The mayo glaze was phenomenal on the chicken and one that I will be using again very soon.
I used pecan wood for smoke and as most of you know, pecan is one of my favorites and I use it often regardless of what smoker I am cooking in.
If you have to add wood chips or chunks for smoke, I recommend keeping the smoke going for the entire time on these or for at least 1 hour.
Step 5: Serve It Up
When the chicken reaches 165°F in the thickest part, it is done and ready to eat.
Serve immediately for best results.
Questions and Comments:
What if I don't have a smoker yet?
As many of you have asked recently, yes, you can do these in the house oven using the same instructions at 275-300°F. This process is going to get you some really good tasting chicken but it won't be as good as it could be with the natural smoke flavor. Get a smoker soon and you'll quickly discover what you've been missing.
Can these be prepped ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to smoke?
Yes, brine, rinse, dry and apply the glaze then place them in a covered container and into the fridge until ready to cook but no more than 2 days (per the USDA).
What about the bacon wrapped corn on the cob in the picture?
Smoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.
It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.