Hickory-Smoked Barbecue Chicken

Main Course

Recipe courtesy of Sweet Home Cafe Cookbook

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 all-natural chickens (about 3 pounds each)
  • 1 cup your favorite dry barbecue rub
  • 4 cups hickory chips
  • 4 pounds natural wood charcoal
  • Barbecue sauce, for serving

Hickory-Smoked Barbecue Chicken

Hickory-Smoked Barbecue Chicken

Click image to enlarge


The Night Before

Cut each chicken into six pieces (two legs, two thighs, and two breasts) and place them on a baking sheet. Season the chicken pieces with the dry, fully coating all sides. Keep the chicken on the baking sheet and place uncovered in the refrigerator overnight to marinate. Cover the hickory chips with water and leave to soak overnight.

The Next Day

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it come to room tempera­ture. Drain the hickory chips.

To set up your smoker, first ignite the charcoal. Use an electric or chimney-­style starter to avoid the unpleasant flavors associated with lighter fluid. Once the coals are fully burning and have turned white, move them to one side of the smoker. Then put the hickory chips on top of the coals to start the burning.

Set the smoker's grill rack in place and put the chicken pieces on the side that is not above the coals. Close the lid on the smoker and adjust the air supply on the bottom and the vent on the top to maintain a steady smoking temperature of 250°F. Check the cooking temperature every 30 minutes throughout the process. If the temperature drops below 2S0°F, you may need to add more hickory or increase the air supply. If the temperature exceeds the desired cooking temperature, reduce the air supply. Smoke the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F on an instant read thermometer, 3½ to 4 hours. Serve with barbecue sauce.

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