Here in New England the Summer weather is quickly fading, in fact I woke up this morning to temps in the low 50's. However, I reject the notion that BBQ season is over, far from it as far as I'm concerned. Now, if you don't have a smoker that's okay, read on as this chicken is still damn tasty without one, thought perhaps you'll keep reading and decide you need to go buy a smoker, also a good call. Smoking meat is really pretty easy, I bought my first smoker last summer for $70 and made some very tasty food on it. Some of you might note I've upgraded since then but this recipe really is almost fool proof. I've made this five or six times now and made small adjustments each time. What I present here is my final recipe that I've come to rely on and decided to share with all of you.
So before I start, for those of you who already brine their chicken just skip ahead to the ingredients, for those that haven't read on. I had never brined chicken until about a year ago, and then learned how I'd been cooking chicken wrong my entire life. This simple step takes chicken from good to great and it's soooooo easy. I can guarantee some of you are going to look at the salt and sugar content listed below and say "that can't be right!" or perhaps even scale it back thinking you don't need that much...DON'T!. Seriously, this will not make your meet super salty or sweet or anything else, it just makes it tender and juicy and amazing. OK back to the cooking.
Alright without further ado, on to the recipe!
4lb Whole Chicken (you can go larger or smaller if you wish)
1 can of beer half full (drink the first half)
1 Gallon Water
1 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Kosher Salt
1 TBSP Coarse Black Pepper
1 TBSP Paprika
2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp Celery Seed
1/4 Cup Paprika
1 TBSP Kosher Salt
1 TBSP Garlic Powder
1 1/2 tsp Dried Time
1 tsp coarse ground pepper
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Heat water to near boil in a large pot and add all ingredients. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Take pot off off heat and allow to cool to at least room temperature. Once cool clean your chicken and submerge fully in the brine, refrigerate for at least 4 hours though overnight is great as well.
After the chicken has been brined remove from brine and dry thoroughly with paper towels.
Combine all rub ingredients and apply liberally to the chicken. You're looking for a nice thin even coating but this is not a time to be shy with the rub, some excess will fall off on it's own the picture below gives you a good idea what it should look like.
The next step is to choose a beer, I tend to like lagers or lighter pale ales. For this time I used Notch Brewing Left of Dial IPA and it was killer. I purchased a beer can chicken stand off of amazon for about $7, to me it's totally worth it but you can pick these up a lot of place. After your chicken is covered in rub, heat your grill or smoker to 250 degrees. I use apple wood when smoking my chicken. Emtpy 1/2 of your beer into your mouth and then put the other half in your chicken with the spout facing up. As the can heats the beer will evaporate and make your chicken juicy and awesome.
Allow chicken to cook for 3-4 hours or until internal breast temp of around 165, I tend to pull mine off around 160 as it will keep cooking for a bit. It should look something like the pic below if you've done it right!
Once done take chicken off your smoker and remove the stand. Place in a tray and tent with aluminum foil and allow the chicken to rest for at least 10 mins. Slice and enjoy! This is my favorite chicken recipe and I hope you all enjoy it!