This step-by-step recipe is for 8 half chickens or 4 whole chickens.
To see the process in action and follow alongside Thomas, check out our video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5u2hRYeNEw&t=263s
- Put 2 hand fulls of sea salt in a half gallon bottle. Then fill the bottle up with hot water and stir to dissolve the salt.
- Put 2 drops of Lemon Essential Oil in the bottle of salt water.
- Place your raw chicken halves in a cooler or bucket. Use the bucket if you are putting it in the fridge to brine. Use a cooler if you do not have a fridge big enough to fit them in.
- After you placed your chickens in the cooler or bucket, cover the chickens half way and then pour the salt water mixture over the top, along with 2 cups of white vinegar.
- Then, cover the rest of the chicken with cold water.
- If you are using a cooler you need to put in a bag of ice and close.
Let the chicken sit in the brine overnight. This helps tenderize the meat and will make it juicer when it’s time to cook it.
- The next day, pull out your chicken and pat dry.
Season the underside of the chicken with Magic Dust. This is one of our rubs that we have created in-house. It’s seriously amazing! It does not have any spice to it, so if you want a little kick, you need to add some cayenne to it. Flip the chickens and season the meat side. No need to rub it in – just let it sit.
- Plastic Wrap
- Place the chicken on a sheet pan and wrap the pan with plastic wrap.
- Place in the cooler for 2-3 hours.
- OPINION: Some people think chicken should be cooked at room temperature. This means the chicken should be at or close to room temperature before putting on the heat. My thoughts are to experiment. Cooking is all one big experiment anyway! Try it once cold, then try some at room temperature.
- Let me know what you think.
- Pecan Wood
- I use 2 sticks of Pecan or Cherry wood in my smoker. I do not like the intense smoke and flavor of Hickory because it gives chicken a dark color and deep taste. I think it’s fine for beef, but I don’t prefer it for chicken.
- We take our wood and cut it to 9 inches. We also split it so it is not as thick.
- We only use 2 pieces because we want the initial smoke on the meat but do not want to smoke the whole 2-3 hours .
- Cold Cooker
- After you pull the chicken out of the fridge (or if it’s room temperature), we are ready to load the smoker. I use a Southern Pride Spk 500 Smoker. It’s digital, uses propane to lite the fire, and burns wood for the smoke.
- I put the meat in a cold smoker because I want as much smoke as possible on the chicken to start. In a cold smoker, the fire will burn and the wood will smoke for the entire time the cooker is getting up to the set temperature.
- When the temperature reaches 250 degrees, the cooker will shut off until the temperature drops to about 245 degrees, then fire back up.
- If you are using a charcoal smoker, you may want to get your temperature to 250 degrees and then put the meat on – this will help avoid the extreme high temps you may encounter when trying to get it up to temperature.
- The smoke will continue to roll on those smokers.
- 250 Degrees
- Place the chicken in the smoker bone side down and set your temperature to 250 degrees.
- Do not open the smoker for 2 ½ hours. Let it roll!
- If you are using a manual smoker where you have to control it, keep an eye on it. Keep it no higher than 260 degrees.
- When In doubt, keep it lower than higher.
- 2 ½ – 3 Hours
Go for 2 ½ hours and then check the internal temperature using an internal meat thermometer. Check the temperature in the breast – it should be at least 155 degrees. It will continue to rise even when removed from the heat.
- Cooler Half Sauce – Half Dry Rub
- Once you have taken the chicken off the smoker, place them in some butcher paper and drench them in your favorite BBQ sauce. Wrap them in the paper and place in a good cooler – do not open it until you are ready to eat (up to 4-5 hours).
- This helps the sauce penetrate the meat and make it more tender.
- If you are making this for a crowd, sauce half of the pieces and leave the other half just the dry rub – everyone has different likes and dislikes.
- Take it out right when you are ready to serve it. Enjoy!