Nothing, we mean nothing, beats smoking a whole chicken

Posted on September 14, 2014

G@H: Smoked Whole Chicken

We chuckle when we see a $25 chicken breast on a restaurant menu. We love chicken, but it’s not meant to be expensive. Its affordability is part of its splendor.

The $25 chicken entrée, though, has plenty of defenders. They herald its deliciousness. They vividly describe how tender and full of flavor it is. And, juicy. It’s just so, so juicy.

Admittedly, chicken dries out easily. Keeping the white meat moist takes skill and practice. But, don’t surrender. Don’t concede. Never order that $25 chicken breast.

We at G@H harbor several secrets to cooking delicious chicken at home. Our new favorite is smoking. Cooking low and slow locks in moisture. The smoke delivers bold, distinct flavor.

Do you brine? If not, do. Brining serves as the key to the whole operation. Before smoking, soak your bird for 12 to 24 hours in a mixture of water, salt and brown sugar. We don’t pretend to understand the science. (We’re gentlemen, not scientists.) But, brining hydrates and tenderizes your bird.

G@H: Brining Whole ChickenG@H: Smoked Whole Chicken

After brining, wash the bird thoroughly with cold water. Next, coat it with seasoning. Make sure to get plenty of seasoning under the skin where it can adequately flavor the meat. Feel free to use something store bought. We smear our bird with a mixture of salt, pepper, sugar, onion powder, granulated garlic, paprika, and cumin. We’d gladly share the recipe, but we don’t follow one.

Throw your whole chicken(s) into the smoker and cook at 250°F for about four hours. Make sure it/they hit an internal temperature of 165°F. Remove, and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Quarter the bird, and serve.

Be advised that the chicken skin, while edible, isn’t great. The cooking temperature never gets hot enough to render out the fat, which means that instead of crispy and delicious, you get rubbery and fatty.

If you must spend $25 on chicken, don’t run to a local bistro for one meal. Instead, invest in four whole chickens, smoke them to perfection, and dine gentlemanly all week.

We smoke with a Bradley Digital 4-Rack Meat Smoker.

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