Smoky Spring Chicken
The beauty of low and slow smoking is that it tenderises connective tissue and keeps the meat succulent.
- Serves: 4 - 5 |
- Difficulty: moderate
- Prep Time : 30 mins |
- Cook Time : 2:30 hours
2 Tbsp (30 ml) paprika
1 Tbsp (15 ml) brown sugar
2 tsp (10 ml) cumin
1 tsp (5 ml) ground garlic powder
1 tsp (5 ml) cayenne pepper
1 tsp (5 ml) ground black pepper
Chuck everything together into a bowl and give it a good mix. This makes enough for a good couple of chickens, so store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh.
White BBQ Sauce
2 C (500 ml) mayonnaise
2 Tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
2 tsp (10 ml) creamed horseradish
1 tsp (5 ml) ground black pepper
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
½ tsp ground garlic powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Place all of the ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
When it comes to buying chickens don’t cheap out. Spring for a quality brand that’s free range and free of any nasty stuff. The chickens are plumper and tastier and they’re really worth the extra spend. Before you season your chicken you’re going to need to butterfly it. The easiest way to do this is to flip it on its back and cut the spine out using a pair of clean kitchen scissors. Simply cut along the outside of the spine from top to bottom on both sides to remove it. Once the spine is out, open the chicken up and gently flatten it out. Season liberally all sides with rub and set aside.
Preparing the Fire
1 foil drip pan that fits your Weber, half filled with water
charcoal, lumps not briquettes
3 handfuls of Weber smoking chips (I use Pecan, Apple or Hickory)
a bowl of water for soaking chips
small amount of oil for basting (once per side)
clean basting brush
enough foil to wrap and rest the chicken (20 minutes)
The fire setup for smoking on a Weber is called a two zone indirect fire. It means that the coals are on one side of the Weber and the drip tray is on the other side. The meat will go above the drip tray and cook via indirect heat or radiant heat when the lid is on. The smoking chips are placed on the coals during the cooking process and the smoke will flow over the meat imparting flavour.
You don’t need a massive fire for this method of cooking ¬– with the lid on the coal burns more slowly because you are limiting the oxygen supply. Just make sure that the bottom vents are open, and the vents on the lid are open and placed above the chicken so the smoke will draw out over it. You will need to check the coals every now and then to top up if needed, and to add more smoking chips.
While you are making the fire, soak the chips.
When the coals are grey and glowing, you can add the first small handful of soaked chips. Get the grill back on and place the chicken skin side up with the legs towards the fire. Close the lid and let the smoke work its magic. Check the fire and chips every 30 minutes, but be quick so you don’t lower the temperature too much. At the hour mark, add a handful of charcoal if the fire is running low. Baste the skin with oil and flip the bird over. Baste the inside cavity and close the lid for another hour of cooking.
At the two-hour mark, you can check the chicken for doneness by sticking a knife into the thick bits – if the juices run clear it’s done. If it’s not done, just keep going until it is, checking regularly. Cooking time will depend on the size of the bird.
Two things to remember when smoking are that you can over smoke meat, so go easy on the chips. Use small handfuls. The other is that smoking gives the meat a pink hue so don’t be alarmed if you see it. When your chicken is done you should have a beautiful golden skin with a spicy kick. Wrap the chicken in foil and rest it for 20 minutes if you can wait that long.
Serve with white barbeque dipping sauce and an ice cold beer – tuck in and enjoy.