Blog #12: BBQ Season: Smoked Chicken, a Step by Step guide

For too long, the idea of the British BBQ is to put a Sausage or a Burger on top of searing charcoals or gas burners, cook till the outside is burnt to a crisp and luke warm inside. Stop it! Our friends across the pond have been smoking low and slow on a BBQ for ages. It is relatively straight forward and relaxing, giving you plenty of time to enjoy a pint, enjoy the sun and play a spot of badminton.

The idea is simple. Turn your BBQ into a chamber of hot smoke, that cooks your meat slowly till it falls off the bone. The meat will take on the flavour of what ever smoking chips you're using. It will remain moist as you keep the heat between 140° - 160° centigrade.

Step 1:

To get started, you'll need the following:

  • Kettle charcoal BBQ with Lid. I'm using the Weber Go Anywhere Charcoal BBQ.

  • Smoking Chips soaked in water. I'm using Hickory chips.

  • Your meat. Today it's chicken drumsticks and thighs.

  • Salt and course ground pepper

  • Smoke Box

  • Charcoal - long burn ones (4 hours). Weber do these too.

Step 2:

Rub your meat with a simple mix of salt and pepper. If you are feeling adventurous, you can add any of the following to suit your taste:

  • Cayenne Pepper

  • Celery seeds

  • Smoked Paprika

  • Cumin

  • Curry Powder

  • Check out Google for BBQ Rubs!

Step 3:

Light your charcoal to one side of the BBQ. This will cook the meat like a convection oven by circulating the hot air around the BBQ. This is in-direct heat cooking. No meat is ever on top of the charcoal.

Drain the water and place the smoking chips into the Smoke Box. Allow the coals to turn white by allowing maximum airflow into the chamber.

Step 4:

Place the smoke box with your soaked smoking chips over the white hot charcoal. Place the BBQ lid on and allow the smoke box to do its thing. As soon as the smoking chips begins to burn, the smoke is released into the chamber. For me, this took around 20 minutes before I would place my meat on the grills.

Step 5:

At this point, the smoke box is smoking away, the heat from charcoal is creating a mini oven to around 140° - 160° centigrade. Place your meat on the grills and place the lid back on. If I had more space, I would have placed a metal tray of water (or beer) next to the chicken to keep the meat moist as it smokes. Cooking time for this chicken took around 30 minutes. For Chicken, ensure the juices are clear when you stab a fork into it.

Step 6:

The Chicken is now cooked and check out the colour. It has taken on the colour of the smoke, almost like a burnt orange colour. Noticed that I slashed the thighs to ensure the smoke can get into the meat. The entire thigh would have taken on all the flavour from the smoke and the underside would be flavoursome as the skin acts like a barrier to the meat.

Serve this bad-boy

You now have the option to either eat this as it comes, or add some BBQ sauce and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes. I prefer to add some sauce to it and smoke for a further 5 minutes until the sauce is sticky all over the meat. Here at the Horse & Groom, we have made our own unique sauce that we use, and it's absolutely transforms the dish.

Pork or Beef you ask.

This method is even better with Beef Brisket or Pork Ribs. The cook time is much longer and you'll need a much bigger smoker. Brisket should be smoked a minimum of 4 hours and so should the pork. For long smokes, always include a pan of water or beer in the chamber to ensure the meat is moist.

Let me know how this works out for you.

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