Smoking Technique for Whole Chickens

Equipment:
  • 1 charcoal smoker
  • Enough charcoal for filling a smoker pan
  • Chimney, optional
  • 4 small pieces of wood suitable for smoking
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cans of beer, brand isn't important and cheap is fine
  • 1/2 bottle liquid smoke, brand isn't important and cheap is fine
  • Fire extinguisher and water bucket/pitcher
  • Heavy gloves for handling parts of the smoker that get hot
For the chickens:
  • 2 whole chickens (weighing between 5-6 lbs, each)
  • Seasoning of your choice (anything used for seasoning steaks, ribs, or chicken on the grill will be great)
  • Enough stuffing to fill the cavities of both birds - good stuffing items include, but are not limited to:
    • Quartered onions
    • 2-3" pieces of celery
    • Quartered lemons
    • Quartered oranges
    • Quartered applies

Basic Steps:

  1. Prepare the chickens the night before or up to 48 hours in advance by rinsing, cleaning, seasoning, and stuffing them with the stuffing items of your choice. You can tie the legs together to keep the stuffing from falling out, if desired. Store the chickens in a large plastic resealable bag in the refrigerator until you are ready to smoke them.
  2. At least an hour and ideally 3-4 hours before smoking, soak the pieces of wood in enough water to fully immerse them.
  3. Get the charcoal evenly hot and ready for smoking using a chimney or other desired method. Arrange it evenly in the charcoal pan. You can line the pan with heavy aluminum to help reduce cleanup. Remove the wood from the water (saving the water) and place the pieces on top of the hot coals.
  4. Spray the drip pan with cooking spray, place it over the charcoal pan, and carefully pour the reserved water from the wood, the liquid smoke, and the beer into the drip pan. Add enough water to the pan to fill it to the rim.
  5. Place the middle section of the smoker over the drip and charcoal pans and position the metal grate/grill over that (you can spray that will cooking spray, too). Place the prepared chickens on the grill, making sure there is room for smoke to move freely around the birds. Immediately place the domed lid over the smoker.
  6. Allow the smoker to cook the chickens for 4-5 hours. Do not remove the domed lid. You can check the coals periodically to make sure they are still hot and add more, if necessary. About halfway through the cooking process, check the drip pan to make sure it's not dry. Add more water, if necessary.
  7. Enjoy delicious smoked chicken after a nice, laid back day of smelling the smoker performing its magic!
  • Yields: 2 smoked chickens
  • Preparation Time: About 5 hours plus a little prep time the night before and the morning of smoking
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