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Prep 1 hr
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
So, I was having the Spanish Inquisition over for supper the other night, and was trying to rack my brain (get it) for a dish that would really impress them (they’re not a crowd you really want to disappoint). I figured what better than to do unspeakable things to a chicken and still end up with the best, juiciest, most flavourful chicken out there. Given the chicken’s crimes, and its lack of remorse I decided the punishment would be three fold. 1. Languishing in a tenderising brine until such time as mercy is asked for, 2. Being impaled upon a beer can, or other suitable torture device, and 3. Suffocating slowly in a smoke chamber (a.k.a. barbeque) until the juices run clear. All kidding aside this is a really easy way to impress even the toughest crowd with a chicken dinner.
- 1 whole chicken
- 1⁄4 onion
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh sage
- olive oil
For The Brine
- 3⁄4 cup salt
- 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage
- 2 -3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 cups water, enough to cover the chicken
Foil Smoke Packets
- 2 lbs wood chips, apple is best, others are good too
- aluminum foil, 3 large squares
Beer Can Mixture
- 1 (355 ml) can beer, cheap, in can, half empty
- asst. herbs
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 20 peppercorns
- Rinse the chicken inside and out, being sure to remove the feather stubs or other such nasty bits. In a bowl or freezer bag large enough to hold the chicken, combine the solid ingredients for the brine. Add enough of the water to dissolve the salt and sugar. Place the chicken in the bowl, or bag, and cover with water. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, but not more than 12.
- 3 hours before you'd like to eat remove the chicken from the brine and rinse well. Pat it dry inside and out, and set it aside.
- Beer can time. Drink half the beer, and empty the rest into a bowl. Using a can opener remove the top of the beer can. Wash the outside of the can with soap and water and rinse well- never know where its been -- Pour the remaining half beer back into the can, adding the herbs, garlic and pepper corns.
- Prep your smoke packets by soaking three handfuls of the chips in water for about 15 minutes. On each piece of tinfoil place one handful of wet woodchips, and two handfuls of dry chips. Wrap each into a packet and perforate each with a fork ten or so times.
- Now to Mr. Chicken. Separate the skin from the breasts, and place one clove of sliced garlic and half the remaining herbs under each section of the breast skin.
- Unceremoniously cram the beer can into the chicken's cavity. Ouch. Seal the neck end with the 1/4 onion, pointy side down.
- Now, we want Mr. Chicken to cook over indirect heat on the barbeque, so no heat under the chicken, but enough heat under the smoke packets to keep them smouldering. Our gas grill is large enough to have 3 heat zones, but adjust this next part if yours is different.
- Put one smoke packet on each side of the barbeque, right down below the grills. Preheat the barbeque on medium until you see a nice amount of smoke. Place the chicken in the center of the grill and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and lower the heat on the grill. A temperature just below 300 F seems to work well for me, but if you find your smoke packets going out, raise the temperature until they smoke well again. The lower you’re able to keep the grill temperature, the more smoky flavour you'll be able to get into your meat. Depending on the size of your chicken it will take between 90 minutes and 2 hours to cook, or until the juices run clear and the legs are loose, or to an internal temperature of 165°F About half way through cooking add the reserved smoke packet, you may not need it, but more smoke is always good!
- Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the grill and place it under some foil to rest for about 15 minutes. Once the meat has rested carve your bird and serve with you choice of sides. This recipe is also great cold as leftovers.