When you have guests, you have to treat them to the best meal. Smoked chicken is quite a good delicacy that all your guests would enjoy. The question is: how many people know how to smoke chicken to the best quality?
Certainly not many. Well, the main reason why this article is being written. It’s going to give you the basic steps you need to know to smoke chicken even in your own home.
How to prepare your chicken before smoking, how to smoke it, and how to know when the chicken is done; these are the things you should expect to know after reading this article.
How to Prepare Chicken for Smoking
Before smoking your chicken, you need to prep it first. To start with, you’ll need to remove the neck of the chicken and the gizzards. After this you should trim the chicken to remove any excess fat. Take note of the following points with regard to preparing and storing the chicken before smoking.
- Raw chicken should be stored in a clean and sealed container. It should be kept at the bottom of the fridge away from other types of food especially food items that are eaten raw like cheese and fruits.
- Do not wash your chicken. This is because washing it will add more bacteria contained in the water. Don’t worry about this as the bacteria contained in the chicken will be killed when it is being smoked.
- Use soap and water to wash your hands before handling the chicken. This should also be done when you want to touch other things other than the chicken e.g. cooking utensils.This is done to avoid contamination.
- When cutting your ingredients in the kitchen, use a separate chopping board for the chicken and other food items like vegetables.
How To Smoke Chicken
Smoking chicken is not rocket science. It involves very simple steps that anyone can follow and achieve great results. After ensuring you have prepared your chicken, as it has been shown above, you should follow the tips listed below for a great and tasty meal.
Related: Our best chicken rub recipe
- First, you’ll need to light your smoker. Put enough firewood and light them up. Allow the smoker to light until it reaches a temperature of between 200 and 220 degrees. I’ll recommend you to use cherry or pecan wood.
- Mix all the dry seasoning you’ll use to rub your chicken using a food processor. This includes seasonings like garlic cloves, pepper, cinnamon, thyme and scallions. This should be mixed until they are smooth enough for rubbing.
- The mixed seasoning should then be sprinkled on the chicken to reach every surface. To make this easier, you’ll need to use olive oil which is rubbed on all parts of the chicken to ensure the mixed seasoning will fully coat the chicken to be smoked.
- Now the chicken is ready for smoking. Place it on top of the smoker. Rotate the chicken regularly to ensure that the heat reaches all parts of the chicken. It is also important to keep checking your fire every now and then to ensure there is enough temperature to smoke the chicken.
- Give enough time for the chicken to smoke.
How Long Do You Smoke a Chicken?
It is important to note that the amount of time required for the chicken to smoke will vary depending on a number of factors. The quality and size of the chicken will be the first thing as a bigger size of meat will definitely require more heat. Another thing is the temperature level in the smoker.
Because wood is being used, the temperature will vary from time to time. The day’s weather will also have some influence on the temperature.
Also, every time you open your smoker’s lid heat will be moving out. The heat lost here will make the chicken cook slowly.
You can imagine how embarrassing it would be to serve uncooked chicken meat to your guests. You have, so far, learned how to smoke chicken meat.
But, how do you tell whether the meat is ready to be served? Below are four points that would help you to tell when chicken is done.
How to Tell When Smoked Chicken is Done
- Use a thermometer – This is one way to check if your meat is ready. Insert the thermometer in the middle and thickest part of the chicken meat. You know your meat is ready when the thermometer reads 165 degrees. If the chicken meat has bones, make sure that the thermometer does not touch the bones. This is because bones conduct heat and will therefore lead to the thermometer giving wrong results.
- Feel the chicken meat – When well mastered, this is one of the best ways to distinguish between raw, half-cooked, and done meat. Just by pinching the meat, you can feel its quality and know whether the chicken meat is ready to be removed from the smoker or should stay a bit longer. Those who have not mastered this trick well enough should use a thermometer to avoid serving uncooked meat.
- Poke the meat – This method is used to make juices to come out of the chicken. These juices will be used to determine whether the meat is ready or not. When the juice produced after poking is clear, then the meat is done and ready to be served. If the juice produced is red or pink in color, then the meat should stay in the smoker to cook. However, some people don’t like this method as the juices produced during poking lead to reduced moisture in the meat.
- Size of the meat – Meat tends to shrink when it comes into contact with heat. This is used to know when meat is done. When the size of the meat has reduced, this is a sign that the meat is almost done.
As you have seen, smoking chicken is very easy and can be done by anyone. All you have to do is to prepare your meat well and rub your preferred seasonings well.
After this, you just have to control the heat and the chicken will be ready in no time. If you follow the above steps well, you’ll end up with the tastiest delicacy that all your guests would love.
Do you like our smoked chicken recipe?
Or maybe you have your own smoke chicken recipe to share? Let us know in the comments below!