Chicken. While there must be at least a thousand ways to prepare chicken, sometimes your options are limited by circumstances.
Just imagine you have to scrape your chicken from the highway after it's been hit by a couple of 18-wheelers...
Nothing lost! After an hour in your smoker BBQ it will look like this:
Hot Smoke Highway Chicken
It is really very easy to make this delicous chicken. And of course you're not going to wait until you actually find a flattened chicken on the tarmac.
It's much quicker and easier to go to your local supermarket,
- buy your regular favourite bird,
- cut out the spine,
- wash it under cold running water,
- blot dry using paper towels,
- fold it open and push it flat,
- stick in two steel skewers crosswise to keep it flat,
- season it and
- stick it on your grill.
Hey, you can still tell your guests you found it on this highway near your home which is locally world-famous (or infamous?). It's sure to generate great conversation!
Now seriously: when working with raw meat, make sure all work surfaces, utensils and your hands are thoroughly clean before you start, and clean thoroughly immediately after you finish.
The Dry Rub
Juancho's Mustard Rub Number 1
And as you might have thought, this mustard rub combines very well with Juancho's Honey Mustard Glazing.
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!
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...).
Once the charcoal in my barbecue is glowing and grey, I put a few water soaked chunks of wood (say about 1"-2" thick and 3"-5" long) on top of the charcoal.
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.
Let's Go For a Smoke!
With the above grate arrangement you can first roast the chicken directly over the coals for a couple of minutes until it has a nice brown color, then move it above the dripping pan for indirect grilling, skin side downwards.
Compared to chicken breasts, chicken legs need more time before they're done, so we put this chicken with the legs towards the fire.
Close the lid of the Weber and check if the vent holes in the lid and the bottom are fully open.
Wait a couple of minutes until you see a clear whisp of Hot Smoke escaping from the top vent holes. At this point in time, close the bottom vent holes, then open a bit ("quarter open"). The top vent-holes will ALWAYS remain fully open.
"Cowboy barbecue is a cross between grilling and smoking. You start the meat over the coals and move it when the color is right - then finish cooking it with indirect heat."
"Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook" by Robb Walsh (page 144)
Time to Relax
With everything set, close the lid, open the vent valves on top and bottom, have a seat, relax, take it easy, finish your drink. Watch that whisp of smoke curl up and spread its fragrant smell through the neighbourhood.
The idea is to slow roast the meat, so the trick is to keep the fire low without killing it.
Every ten minutes or so, check if the fire is still going "not too low and not too high". To prevent too much heat loss, try to do this without opening the lid, but when in doubt don't hesitate. Better safe than sorry.
After about half an hour of smoking, open the lid and flip the Highway Chicken around, skin side upwards, legs towards the fire. If you feel the fire is burning too hot you may consider closing the bottom vent halfway. (Always keep the top vents fully open) If necessary, add some more smoking wood.
As an option, you could consider glazing your Highway Chicken with a sugar- or honey-based basting sauce.
Start to apply the glazing after about forty five minutes or one hour of smoking and repeat every ten to fifteen minutes, roughly.
At the same time you could check the meat for doneness. If you feel that the chicken skin is turning too dark, cover the chicken loosely with aluminium foil and close the lid.
After about an hour and fifteen minutes of smoking without opening the lid too often, the chicken should be well done.
You could also check this by inserting an instant read thermometer in the thickest parts which should read about 180oF (just over 80oC).
The PitBoss Suggests:
Blue Smoke Barbecue Fries
Juanita's American Coleslaw