Chicken, unlike beef or pork, is an easy recipe to make. When smoked, it can be eaten alongside a variety of other dishes and meals like salads or buns. Due to its non-fatty meat, using brine on the chicken makes it moisturized to prevent it from getting too dry during smoking.
How to Prepare Chicken Before Smoking
Gathering of Ingredients
This is the first step to achieving a savory dish of smoked chicken. There is a variety of ingredients you can use for the brine since it’s the most important part of the preparation.
You will need brown sugar, water, poultry rub, chicken (thighs, legs, and/or other parts), beer, salt, and pellets/wood chips. You can add as many other seasonings as you prefer. The liquid ingredients are recommended for brine making because the chicken needs moisture to keep it soft throughout the smoking process.
When preparing a whole chicken or parts of it such as thighs, brine is a must-have mixture. Besides keeping the meat moist, it also improves its texture and flavors.
Brine is acquired by mixing brown sugar, beer, salt, and water. To ease the task, the mixture can be prepared inside a ziplock food bag. The meat is then locked inside and refrigerated for 3 to 24 hours.
Setting up the Smoker
After refrigeration, it’s time to get down to the actual business, smoking the chicken. Take the pieces of the meat out of the ziplock and dry them using paper towels.
Rub the chicken using the other dry seasonings while placing each piece on a tray. If you don’t like the outer skin on the meat, you can discard it after smoking. It peels off on its own when it’s well cooked.
The heat settings for the smoker should be about 225° F. After preheating it, place the chicken on the grate and leave it for 60 minutes.
The next step is increasing the temperature to 350° F. Cook until the bird’s internal temperature reads 170° F. Smoker or Grill Thermometer can be set to check the chicken’s internal temp.
Shredding the Meat
After smoking it to an internal temperature of 170° F, the chicken should be soft enough for easy shredding. The task is time-consuming and sometimes harder than intended, but it’s manageable.
Allow the meat about 10 minutes to cool down after it is well smoked, then start shredding it with a fork and your hands.
This is done to separate the flesh from bones and outer skin.
From there, cut the chunks into small pieces using a knife. For additional flavors, rub the shredded meat and sprinkle some vinegar over it.
Smoked Chicken Recipe
- Pellets (oak flavored)
- 8 Thigh quarters and chicken legs
- 4 tablespoons of poultry rub
- ¼ cup of brown sugar
- ¼ cup of kosher salt
- 6 cups of water
- 12 Ounces of beer
- Prepare the brine by adding the beer, brown sugar, water, and salt into a ziplock bag.
- Mix the ingredients until a thick paste is formed, then put the chicken pieces inside the bag and zip it.
- Refrigerate the brined meat for up to 24 hours. Less time can be spent if you are in a hurry.
- Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and use paper towels to pat the excess brine off the surface.
- Rub the dry seasonings onto the skin and underneath it until the whole piece is fully coated.
- Turn up the smoker to a temperature of 225° F.
- Place the rubbed thighs and legs on the grate and smoke them under that temperature for about 1 hour.
- Adjust the heat to 350° F and continue smoking the chicken until its external temperature reaches 170° F.
- When ready, leave it to rest for about 20 minutes.
- Shred the meat and serve it with vegetables or between a bun with salads.
There you have it! All you need to know about smoking pulled chicken. The ball is now in your court. Follow the above-recommended procedure and recipe to prepare a sumptuous dish!