Project Wonderful

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Smoked Chicken

It was my last day of a four day weekend and I decided that it was time to see how my new-found Craigslist smoker does with chicken.

I've already identified the design flaws in this smoker and will (one of these days) make the necessary mods to make this an award winning cooking device, but for right now, it's time to smoke some chicken!

As with most BBQ/ Smoked meat dishes, there are a billion different ways to accomplish anything. Here's the way I did it:

I made up a mix of apples, onions, limes and garlic to stuff inside the cavity of the bird. This should help to keep it moist and will add some wonderful flavor to the meat. Im also using applewood chips for the smoke, so Im hoping this will work well together. 

Here's my bird all trussed up and ready to go. I rubbed some olive oil over the skin and then sprinkled some paprika for color. 
What? You say you've never trussed up a chicken? It's really simple, actually. Chef Brian Polcyn has a fun little video that shows you how. Click the link and follow along at home. 

Applewood chips soaking in water. You could use chunks, but for a short smoke like this chicken, chips should do just fine.
ON THE SMOKE: I prepped my grill by filling the fire box with about 8 lbs of charcoal. I then put a handful of briquettes into my chimney starter (that thing in the background) and got them going, then added them to the unlit charcoal. This technique is called the Minion Method and is designed to ignite the charcoal slowly so it stays at temperature longer. You could just light them all at once and hope for the best, but you'd be replacing charcoal halfway (or more) through the process and that just seems silly. This way allows me to have a clean, even temp smoke for about 3.5 hours.

This type of smoker uses a water pan that helps to regulate the temp inside the unit. Once the coals are lit, I place the smoker body over the fire box, add the water pan and fill it with boiling water. Adding boiling water at the start prevents you from having to spend precious heat energy and time waiting to bring the water pan up to temp.

Using an instant read thermometer inserted into the thigh, you're aiming for an internal temp of 175-180. However, after 3 hours, my little smoker wasnt quite hot enough to produce this, so I tossed the bird into a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. This also helps crisp up the skin that smoking usually cant provide. Wrap the chicken in tin foil and let it rest for a good 10 minutes to let the juices incorporate back into the fibers of the meat.

The Verdict:

If you've never tried smoked chicken before, you really are missing out on a treat. This had a wonderful sweet smoky flavor with a hint of lime from the stuffing in the cavity. I served this with my quick roasted potato recipe along with some nice steamed broccoli with a squeeze of lime on it.  Fantastic.


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