How to Smoke Chickens
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 below
- Put 2 hands full of Sea salt in a half gallon bottle. Fill the bottle up with Hot water and dissolve the salt and stir to dissolve
- Put 2 drops of Lemon Essential Oil in 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 in it.
- After you placed your chickens in the cooler or bucket cover the chicken’s half way then pour the salt water mixture over the top.
- Pour 2 cups of white vinegar in the bucket or cooler.
- 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 over night. This helps tenderize the meat and will make it juicer when it is time to cook.
- 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 is amazing. It does not have any spice to it so if you want some 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
- 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 temp. Meaning 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 temp.
- Let me know what you think.
- I use Pecan or Cherry wood in my smoker. I do not like the intense smoke and flavor of Hickory. It gives chicken a DARK color and a deep taste. I think it is fine for beef, but I do not use hickory on chicken.
- I use 2 Sticks of Pecan
- We take our wood and cut it to 9 inches. We also split it so it is not as thick.
- We old use 2 pieces because we want the initial smoke on the meat but do not want to smoke the whole 2-3 hours.
- After you pull the chicken out of the fridge or if its room temp. we are ready to load the smoker. I use a Southern Pride Spk 500 smoker. It is digital and uses propane to lite a fire and burns wood for the smoke.
- I put the meat in 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 till the cooker gets to the set temperature.
- So for the entire time the cooker is getting up to temp the fire will burn and wood will smoke.
- When the temp reaches 250 the cooker will shut off until the temp drops to about 245 degrees then fire back up.
- If you are using a charcoal smoker. You may want to get your temp to 250 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 smoker
- Place the chicken in the smoker. bone side down and set your temperature to 250.
- Do not open the smoke for 2 ½ hours. Let it roll
- If you are using a manual smoke where you have to control it keep an eye on it. Keep it not higher than 260.
- When In doubt, keep it lower than higher.
- GO for 2 ½ hours and then check the internal temp using an internal meat thermoter. Check the temp in the breast. It should be at least 155. It will continue to rise even when removed form the heat
- once you have taken it off the smoker place it in some butcher paper and drench it in your favorite BBQ sauce. Wrap in the paper and place in a good cooler and 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 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.
- Thomas Cox