Great products recommended here for smoked chicken:
Poultry Shears by OXO from Amazon. These are great. Just unsnap and throw in the dishwasher to cleanup.
Digital Remote Thermometer by ThermoPro from Amazon. At the time of this writing we have been through 50+ cooks together. I recommend.
Wolverine Claws for picking up and moving meat. Not Pulled Meat.
Smoked Whole Chicken – Herbal rub, crispy skin, and a hint of smoke. This is sure to tickle all the tbuds in the right spots.
Ah my old friend the whole chicken. There were many times after college my broke butt could only afford a whole chicken, and it would feed me for days. I could slice up the breast and put it in salad, I could throw some sauce on a thigh and drumstick and get a full dinner with some cheap veggies on the side, or I could shred it up and make a giant vat of chicken soup.
The possibilities are endless with a whole chicken… but today we are going to talk about smoking it draped in a delicious herbal blend. What you do with it afterwards is your business (but I’ve got recommendations). 🙂
Smoked Chicken pre-prep prep
First a bit about the spatchcock… aside from being blessed with an amazing name, it allows for a much faster cook. Why? Well heat is hitting the bird from the outside, so to cook the inside cavity, the heat has to permeate through the breasts and bones.
By the time the heat hits the inside, the breasts are dry. By spatchcocking (laying the bird flat), we can apply heat from the top AND bottom. Dry breasts are a thing of the past, and cook time is significantly shortened.
If you freeze whole birds like I do, then allow at least 24 hours to defrost in the fridge prior to starting the recipe or the ice water trick. Don’t even think of letting it get to room temperature, unless you like liquid coming out both ends.
So first we are going to trim and spatchcock (Instructions here) with a great set of poultry shears and salt the bird. Using a 1/2 tsp of Kosher salt (or 1/4 tsp of table salt if you remember the conversion) salt the bird and leave uncovered in a pan in the refrigerator for 24 hours. You can save the bits and freeze later for a killer stock.
If you don’t have 24 hours, that’s fine, it’ll still taste good, but please at least 1 hour. The next steps involve rubbing oil on the skin, and salt isn’t oil soluble… so make sure you give salt time to do it’s thang!
Prep and Smoke Chicken
Okay, we are ready to put the rub on. After we have let the oil and herbs do their dance, we are going to rub it all over a DRY chicken (If it’s not dry before this step, you will have sad soggy skin. Make it dry with some paper towels). If you are ambitious, you can separate the skin from the breasts with your finger, and put some of the rub directly on the meat. I don’t because I’m lazy, but it’s pretty delicious.
Smoke it! Get the grill up to 350 degrees F minimum, 375 okay. We want to cook it fast to keep as much moisture in the bird. Put the reliable and accurate temperature probe into the thickest part of the breast, and lets go to 160 degrees F. My thermometer used in the picture is the ThermoPro TP20. Definitely a great workhorse.
Oh smoked chicken looks so good… but we are going to take it off and let it rest un-tented for at least 5 min before carving (how?). We don’t tent here because the steam makes the crispy skin soggy.
Please enjoy the smoked chicken, and let me know how it turned out! If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them below.
PS> If you don’t have a smoker, you can do this on the grill too! Just make sure you have a reliable thermometer to set the temperature, can fit the chicken on indirect heat, a smoke tube, and some pellets. The Rec Tec Ultimate Blend is my usual go to for the smoke tube. You can also get some good quality hickory from Cookin’ Pellets.
Smoked Whole Chicken – Herbal
- Poultry Shears
- 4 tbsp Ultimate Poultry Rub (See Rubs)
- 1 Chicken (~3 lbs)
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt per pound
- 2 tbsp olive oil
24 hours before your cook
- Spatchcock the Chicken and clip the wing tips. You can save and freeze all the bits, trimmed skin, etc to make stock for other recipes. (Except the liver. Throw that away or put with other livers.)
- Pat completely dry with a paper towel. Pat with salt, all over. Primarily on the breasts. Dark meat doesn't need as much salt to retain moisture.
- Let it sit in a pan in the fridge for 24 hours, uncovered.
- About an hour before you need to use the rub (or longer), mix the oil and rub in a 2:1 ratio (4 tbsp rub: 2 tbsp oil). You can also use the backside of the spoon to press into the herb mix a few times while you wait…
- Get your smoker stabilized to 350 degrees. While that is heating up, rub the chicken all over.
- With your favorite wood smoking, cook until center of breast is 160 degrees. Once off, allow to rest (no tenting) for at least 5 min. Carve and serve.