The heat at the old homestead has been bearable for the past few days, so I thought I would fire up the old Weber on the patio and BBQ some chicken, rather than heating up the kitchen, and catch a few rays while I was at it. It was a good decision, I got some fresh air and we had some hickory smoked chicken that I would put up against any pitmaster's.
There are only three of us, but I started with three whole chickens, so we would have plenty of left overs to enjoy during the week. I don't now if I will be able to stay out of the refrigerator.
Here are some photos that should illustrate why I will have a hard time staying out of the fridge for the next couple of days:
3 whole chickens
4 ears of white corn
About an hour before cooking, wash and cut the chickens in half so that you have six pieces consisting of a breast, wing, leg and thigh. Dry with paper towels. Rub or spray olive oil on all surfaces of the cut up chicken. Liberally sprinkle garlic powder on all sides of the chicken, sprinkle salt to your taste/tolerance on all sides of the chicken; liberally sprinkle paprika on all sides of the chicken. Set the chicken aside.
Put about four cups of hickory chips in a bucket or bowl and cover with cold water. Prepare the fire in the Weber kettle, two banks of charcol briquettes lined up on opposite sides of a drip pan filled with water. Light the charcol and allow the coals to become hot and white over most of their surface.
Drop a handful of drained hickory chips on each bank of coals, (at this point I add about 3 or 4 "fresh" briquettes to each bank, so that they will begin to fire up during the first cooking phase. Place the cooking grill on the Weber, over the coals and drip pan. Place a rack to hold the chicken on top of the grill. Using long tongs place the chicken halves in the rack on the grill, cover with the kettle lid. I leave all vents open, and the banks of coals each have about 24 briquettes when I start it all. Smoke should immediately begin venting from the kettle at a strong rate.
In 30 minutes remove the cover from the kettle, the hickory chips will have burned off and no smoke will be coming from the kettle. Add a handful of hickory chips to each bank, and about 4 to 6 "fresh" briquettes. Cover the kettle, it will immediately begin smoking.
During this smoking period I shuck the corn and place the cobs in a bowl of water to soak (soaking for 30 to 60 minutes). After 30 more minutes have elapsed (the chicken has been smoking for a cumulative of 60 minutes) repeat the last step of replenishing hickory chips and briquettes.
After 30 more minutes (after a cumulative of 90 minutes) wrap the corn cobs in heavy duty aluminum foil. At this point I check the internal temperature of the chicken with an instant read thermometer, the meat should be at about 150 degrees, which is right on schedule. Add the last handful of hickory chips to each bank of coals, and add about 3 more "fresh" coals to each bank. Put the wrapped corn cobs on the grill, trying to keep them as far from the coals as possible). Cover the kettle, and it will beging smoking again.
Thirty minutes later, after a cumulative of 120 minutes, remove the chicken and corn from the grill. The chicken will have turned mahogany color during the smoking process, the skin will have rendered most of its fat and be almost tissue thin and will tear from the flesh just by the touch of your tongs. The meat will be cooked perfectly, moist, tender and very smokey.
I served the chicken with various bottled sauces on the side, however, this chicken does not need any sauce. I like the added flavor dimension of sauce, so tonight I mixed some Jeff Foxworthy BBQ sauce with some Tabasco Habanero sauce, and I had some very nice, moist, smokey, slightly spicy chicken.
The corn will have steam roasted in the aluminum foil. I do not season the corn before cooking, it is just the water soaked corn. Diners can then add any condiments to their corn after they turn the steaming sweetness out of the foil.
We rounded this meal out with some deviled egg potato salad and some macaroni salad from the supermarket deli.