Who says you need a smoker to smoke your meats? Now don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying that having a smoker isn’t the absolute best way to smoke your meats. I have a good buddy in the Okanagan who recently purchased himself a beauty of a meat smoker. I would definitely say he is nothing short of a meat expert so I know he is cranking out some seriously good eats out of his investment.. I am saying, however, just because you DON’T have one doesn’t mean you have to sit on the meat smoking sidelines…
In this post, I’m going to focus in on a portion of a previous one where I shared a recipe that involved smoked meat but I will go into more specifics here. Summer is not over yet so its time to teach your grill some new tricks before the leaves start falling… Ready?
Anyone can turn their grill into a smoker with some good quality wood chips.
Let’s start with the wood chips. If you’re in the Vancouver, BC area then you definitely want to check out The Gourmet Warehouse. I have found this such a great resource for everything from kitchen ware and are cookware to spices and ingredients. This is where I picked up my Alder wood chips for this recipe. If you are not near this place then you can also find smoking wood chips at Home Depot and other places too I’m sure. Just make sure you get wood chips for smoking food. These have not been treated with any chemicals and will not make your food dangerous to eat.
I know most people think of pork or beef when they think of smoked meats and with good reason. Those are classic smoking meats and certainly a favourite of mine but they will take hours of time and also a full tank of your grill propane so I’m going to show you how to smoke chicken in about an hour or so. Smoked chicken is not as popular but trust me when I say it’s equally as delicious and great for a weeknight meal due to its quicker cooking time. Plus any leftovers are a great addition to salads or a sandwich for lunch the next day. I have been doing a lot of very involved and prep intensive posts so I thought I would change gears a little here and show you how I roll on a weeknight.
Let’s get to it! Alder wood smoked chicken with fresh herbs and paprika.
Prep time: 20 Minutes
Cook time: < 1 Hour
Special gear required: A grill, a meat thermometer, tin foil, a sharp chef’s knife and a good appetite
- 1 Whole free range chicken
- 1 Tbsp Paprika
- Sea Salt
- Cracked black pepper
- Alder wood smoking chips
Stage 1: Stack your chips
- Start by soaking the chips in warm water. If not soaked then they will just burn on the grill and that’s no beuno… While the chips soak it’s time to do something super awesome that you may have never heard of. You may have been wondering how in the blazes are we going to smoke a whole chicken in less than an hour?
Spatchcock! One of the only ways I prepare any kind of whole bird now and it cuts the cooking time in almost half while still maintaining moistness and giving you an even crispier skin.
Stage 2: Cut this bird
- Place the bird backbone down on a cutting board and with a sharp chef’s knife or cleaver cut the breast bone and all the way down.
- Flip the bird over and, with a strong grip, break the back bone at the shoulder joints. This will now allow the bird to lay flat on a baking dish. Math lesson! You’ve just double the surface area and therefore cut the cooking time in half! Crazy right?
- Cut the wings off at the joint next to the breast meat and season the bird on both side with oregano, chopped sage, paprika and salt and black pepper.
- Prepare an aluminum (non glass) baking sheet by covering with parchment paper or spraying with cooking spray
- Place the seasoned bird skin side up on the baking sheet and place the wings wherever there is room. Just not on top of the body of the bird because we cut them off to maximize heat access to as much of this chickadee as possible.
Stage 3: Let’s get fired up
- Remove on side of the grill plates from your grill and turn the burners on underneath that area. Leave the burners on the other half of the grill off. Close the lid. This creates a convection effect that will then take the heat and smoke up to the lid and then force it down to the cooler area over where the chicken will be.
- Take the soaked wood chips and drain all the water. Place them on 2 ft of aluminum foil and make a sealed foil pouch. Use a fork to poke this pouch full of holes on the top and sides so that the smoke has a place to escape and flavour up all that chicken with awesomeness.
- Place that pouch over the burners and cover again with the grill plate because those increase heat in the grill which you have now essentially turned into a convection smoker.
- Place the baking sheet with the chicken on the opposite side of the grill and close the lid. Start your timer and keep the lid closed because you do not want the heat to escape. The grill temp you’re aiming for here is about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- At the 45 minute mark is when you first might want to check temp for doneness. For this you will have to open the lid unless you have a fancy meat thermometer. I don’t at this point I take my old skool meat thermometer and place it in the breast meat. Make sure it doesn’t go all the way to the bone because that will skew your temp reading. 165 degrees Fahrenheit and you bird is perfectly done.
- It’s always important to let your meats rest for a few minutes after cooking. This allows for the meat fibers to relax and will provide a more tender piece of meat. Tent the baking sheet with foil and turn the grill off. In 5 minutes your smoked chicken will be ready to eat!
For a healthy weekday or any day meal, you can accompany this with a salad of your choice or some roasted veggies. I also recommend an ice-cold IPA beer to wash this down with because I never grill without at least one beer but that’s just me.
Please enjoy and keep an eye out for some more quick prep meal recipes coming soon in future posts!
Petey Pabs out…