This recipe is a lot of work if you are not "the more ingredients/steps the better" kind of cook. Even if you are not, you'll find it worth it; especially if you are cooking for a large group. In the end, the chicken will taste better than any chicken has a right to--your guests will be speechless. I recommend doing a several whole chickens cut in half, or 1/4 chickens (big thigh/drumstick pieces), and/or whole breasts. The idea is big pieces are best, and all about the same size/thickness. Prep time does not include time spent in the brine, prepping the smoker, the grill, etc. I got the brine recipe off the internet. It's called Don's Poultry Brine and is the best I've ever come across. I use it for brining turkeys as well. You may well ask "why brine at all?" Poultry will get very dry during the smoking process. Brining the poultry will result in tasty, moist meat.
- 2 gallons water
- 1⁄2 cup vinegar (white)
- 2 tablespoons pickling spices
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons celery salt
- 3 cups kosher salt
- 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple extract
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 1⁄2 cup olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup cajun seasoning
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
Guest of Honor
- 8 lbs chicken
- For the brine: Combine the first 10 ingredients, bring to a boil, then let cool.
- Add maple extract and liquid smoke.
- Rinse chicken and pat dry.
- Brine chicken for at least 4 hours. Overnight is best.
- Remove pieces, rinse in cold water and pat dry.
- Coat with oil and season with Cajun seasoning.
- Prepare smoker and smoke chicken at 230 degrees for about two hours, basting with mop every 30 minutes.
- For the mop: Combine vinegar, water, salt, and pepper in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove as set aside.
- When chicken is done, coat with glaze and move pieces to a hot grill to crisp the skin. This will only take a few minutes.
- For the glaze: Combine 3 parts butter to one part honey. Make as much as you need to finish the job.
- Remove and serve immediately.
- Have copies of the recipe available, because you will be asked.
I prepared this dish for the first time about a year ago for a smoking/barbecue day with friends and it was very VERY successful. One friend in particular called it "The best thing he'd ever put in is mouth" and everyone just agreed with him while carrying on munching away, and I have had requests to do it again several times now.<br/>I don't usually write any reviews for anything, but this is an outstanding recipe...I have just done it again for the 5th time and everyone just loves it.<br/>In my experience this quantity of brine will do double the amount of chicken without any problem. I prepare the brine in advance and freeze it as it is a lot of work (but well worth it). I usually buterfly the chicken but I have done it with just legs and it was just fine too.
I cut the brine down to 1/2 gallon, and soaked 2 split game hens in it for about 8 hours.They came off of the smoker tender, juicy, and delicious! Often, I've had game hens get very dry after 2 hours of smoking, but these were perfect. The mop also kept the skin for getting hard and tough. The flavor of the meat was wonderful, and I would be very happy to use this recipe and method again. Thanks for posting!
Truly an outstanding recipe well deserving of 5 stars. The chicken was moist and well seasoned throughout. The brine and mop sauce was reduced by half and was plenty for a large chicken and 4 turkey drumsticks.