How to Smoke Chicken Perfectly Every Time

How to Smoke Chicken

Want to know how to smoke chicken? Smoking a chicken is much like smoking any other sizable piece of meat.

It needs to be done fairly long and fairly slow, not under done – the internal temperature of the breast meat must reach 170F – otherwise there is a risk of food poisoning.

Equally it doesn’t need to be over-cooked - dry chicken is always a disappointment!

How to Smoke Chicken - Preparation

Get a whole chicken around 3 or 4lbs or 1.5Kg.

Assuming it is refrigerated, let it sit for half an hour or so until it reaches room temperature.

To add flavor, try one or more of the following:

  • Brush it with olive oil and grind on plenty of salt and pepper (and maybe crush a few garlic cloves and sprinkle that over as well)
  • Take a lemon, prick it all over with a fork and stuff that in the cavity - along with some rosemary.
  • BBQ rubs are a good choice
  • Or even make a finishing or mopping sauce to brush on for the last 30 minutes of the cooking process.
  • Try mixing up 2 tablespoons of runny honey and 2 tablespoons of mustard.
How to Smoke Chicken - prep

Making Smoke

First choose your smoking wood – maple, apple, cherry, a small amount of hickory maybe, are all good. Put them in water to soak for 30 minutes or so.

Time to light up – lump wood is good, but briquettes tend to give a more consistent temperature, for longer. Get your coals lit and glowing nicely – use plenty, this will be burning for 90 minutes or so.

Barbecuing the Chicken

Whether you have a barbeque smoker or a standard barbecue with a lid now is the time to put the chicken in. If you have a standard barbecue, with a lid – you will be using indirect heat to cook with.

  1. Once the chicken is in, either put your smoker box with wood chips or a suitable log of wood in the fire box or above the heat source.
  2. And close the lid for an hour or so. If your barbecue has a temperature gauge keep and eye on it – adjust the air vents to keep the temperature around 240F – 250F i.e. around 120C.
  3. After an hour open the lid and inspect it – if you have a meat thermometer check the temperature.

A meat thermometer that you can leave in position during cooking is even better - you don't need to open the lid until you can see the internal temperature is right

       4. Now is also the time to mop on some it as well, daub it on and get it in all the nooks and crannies round the legs and wings.

       5. Close the lid a wait another 30 or so minutes, check the temperature again. Is the internal temperature of the meat 170F (80C)? If not close the lid again and try again in another 10 minutes.

IF the temperature of the barbecue has been kept at a constant 250F or so, it should really be done by now – or at least it won’t be far from done if the bird was larger.

How to Smoke Chicken

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Sides to go with your Smoked Chicken

Try making coleslaw, or this red slaw - or another one of our other side dish recipes. Carve it up and serve it with fresh bread, coleslaw, marinated peppers and olives - or whatever takes your fancy.

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