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Hot Smoke Barbecue Chicken

This is the hot smoked chicken recipe that really got us hooked on barbecue. The juicy and spicey taste of this roast chicken made me forget all other chicken I had ever tasted before. (well, almost... ;o)   Smoking whole chicken is really very easy, and if you like grilling whole chicken I'm sure that this fragrant grilled chicken recipe will soon be your favourite too!

If you want to know how to smoke chicken, or how long it takes for smoking chicken, keep reading!

Picture of Hot Smoke Barbecue Chicken (those potatoes have just been added)

Hot Smoking Whole Chicken

There must be at least a thousand ways to prepare a chicken...

The whole chicken recipe described here below is one of our favourites. This is easy chicken, juicy chicken, spicy chicken, crispy chicken, smokey chicken, you fill it in. Prepared in this way, even the cheapest chicken will taste fantastic.

We normally use our small Weber kettle grill for smoking whole chickens, set up for indirect grilling, which will accommodate two to three chickens in the range of 2 to 4lbs (1-2 kilos).

Hot Smoke BBQ Charcoal Briquettes

Smoke a chicken. An easy smokey juicy crispy spicy chicken. Here's how it works:

1. The Chickens

The main ingredient. Go buy yourself one or two of your favourite chickens. Most of the times I buy the best I can get, but sometimes I also buy a cheapo just to compare final results.

Wash the chickens under cold running water, remove any loose parts, dangling fat, excess skin, etc., and blot dry inside and outside using paper towels.

Juancho's BBQ Tip  

A word of caution here: when working with raw fish or meat, make sure all work surfaces, utensils, and your hands are thoroughly clean before you start, and clean thoroughly immediately after you finish!

Consider the people you love. A good food poisoning can ruin more than just your reputation as a Pit Master...

Hot Smoke BBQ Charcoal Briquettes

2. Barbecue Dry Rub

Put the chicken on a clean and dry surface, or in large non-reactive bowl, and apply a dry rub, inside and outside, spreading the rub with your hands and working it into all crevices until you have a nicely and evenly covered bird.

Picture of Juanita's Dry Rub USA #1 For the dry rub on chicken we prefer what we call Juanita's Dry Rub USA #1.

We have been using this rub on grilled chicken once or twice a month for two years now and it is an absolute winner.

US Flag To us, this mix represents a true American taste for grilled chicken. My wife Juanita developed this rub using a recipe from one of Steven Raichlen's wonderful barbecue cookbooks as a starting point.

Hot Smoke BBQ Charcoal Briquettes

3. The Barbecue

Prepare your Weber (or similar barbecue, or smoker or oven) for indirect grilling. Use about 10 to 12 charcoal briquettes in each side coal pocket.

Picture of Weber barbecue set up for indirect grilling (example only - don't use that rib rack for roasting a chicken) Pour about half an inch of water in the drip pan. Some fanatics will replace the water with beer or wine. It may sound idiot, but you will notice the difference!

Click HERE to read more about INDIRECT GRILLING

Charcoal Briquettes

Hot Smoke BBQ - Charcoal Briquettes I always use charcoal briquettes because of their even shape and size. I also found they have a more constant quality when compared with regular "lump" charcoal (mostly small lump charcoal, that is...).

Click HERE to read more about CHARCOAL BRIQUETTES

Smoke Wood

Once the charcoal in my barbecue is glowing and grey, I put a few water soaked chunks of smokewood (say about 1"-2" thick and 3"-5" long) on top of the charcoal.

Click HERE to read more about SMOKEWOOD

Juancho's BBQ Tip
Smoke is like a condiment, adding a specific taste to your food, like salt and pepper. And just like you don't want your food to get too salty or too spicy, you don't want too much smoke either.
Too much smoke will leave a bitter and/or creosote taste on your food. In general: do not exaggerate on the smoke.
                                            Just a whisp should be enough.

Because of the fairly high temperature of the charcoal fire during hot smoking, and to prevent the smoke wood from burning too fast, I soak my smoke wood in a bucket of water for a couple of days prior to use.

Chicken ready to go! With your barbecue all set and smoking, stick the chicken on the grill above the dripping pan. Close the lid, open the vent valves on top and bottom, and Bob's your uncle!

Hot Smoke BBQ Charcoal Briquettes

4. Time to Relax

With that chicken sitting in your black backyard coal-fired microwave, take it easy. Get yourself a drink, sit down, check the fire, watch that whisp of smoke curl up and follow a path to the neighbours. Chicken smoking! Aaah, enjoy that lovely smell. There's nothing that can make you feel more down to earth and relaxed.

Read a book, listen to your favourite music. Relax.

Try to resist peeking under the lid too often. Every time you open your barbecue you will loose heat, and the cooking process will take longer. On the other hand, if you have time anyway, what the heck...

After about forty five minutes or one hour of smoking, you should check under the lid to see if the chicken skin is not turning too dark. Once you like the color of the skin, cover the chicken loosely with aluminium foil and return the lid.

Hot Smoke BBQ Charcoal Briquettes

5. Dinner Time

One chicken ready! After about an hour and a half of smoking without opening the lid too often, the chicken should be well done.

To check whether your smoked chicken is really done, I simply cut off a leg to see if the inside meat has the proper texture and comes off the bone easily.

Not that I've ever done so, but you could also check whether the chicken is indeed well done by inserting an instant read thermometer in the thickest parts of the meat which should then read about 180oF (just over 80oC).

Hot Smoke BBQ Charcoal Briquettes

The PitBoss Suggests:

Hot Smoke Chicken with Barbecue Fries and Colslaw This hot smoked chicken combines particularly well with a potato salad and baked beans, or with Hot Smoke Barbecue Fries and Juanita's American Coleslaw.

Favourite Drinks

Cold beer (!) goes very well with every barbecue, summer and winter. Also: cold mineral water with fresh lemon slices, or a real cold dry white wine.

A fruity red wine is very well possible too, especially when served a bit chilled.

OK, and then there's Rianna and Juanita... Nobody will drive these girls crazy, they will always keep their cool... Whatever's on the menu, they'll stay with their red Rioja and Merlot !!!

At Hot Smoke BBQ we love Chile Peppers!

Keep Smokin' !