Not Forgotten

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, when I get my smoker ready to do, more often than not, I have a chicken ready to go. This time was no different, although I also managed to smoke a pork roast to perfection at the same time. This time around, I opted to brine the chicken in a Tabasco-Brown Sugar Brine before putting it over the coals. The result was out of this world:

Brining a chicken gives it a little extra boost when you're going to be smoking it. Additional flavor and moisture help ensure a succulent, tasty bird. And, if you've done it right, your chicken will nearly fall apart when you bring it to the table and you can enjoy smoky, buttery chicken alongside summer's finest in a salad, fresh steamed veggies, or slices of juicy melon. Just keep it simple and enjoy the moment. Wash it all down with an equally summer-ideal beverage … maybe tangy lemonade or a chilled glass of white wine or hard cider?

When you're done with dinner, do yourself a favor and make up a simple batch of smoked chicken broth. It takes next to no time to make and means you'll be enjoying that amazing flavor in many meals to come. After all, isn't summer about squeezing all the flavor you can out of the moments you've been given? Make the most of these!

Tabasco-Brown Sugar Brined Smoked Chicken

  • 1 whole roasting chicken
  • 1 c. Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce of your choice
  • 1/4 c. salt
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • Water - varies
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1-2 T. canola oil, divided
  • 1 T. seasoning salt of your choice

The night before you want to smoke your chicken, place the chicken, hot sauce, salt, and brown sugar in a pot large enough to hold the chicken. Add enough water to cover the chicken and cover the pot with a lid. Store in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, prepare your smoker using the basic guidelines outlined here. You can use a wide variety of liquids in the drip pan, but I recommend opting to use some/all of the brining liquid from the chicken.

While your coals are getting ready for smoking, prepare your chicken. Remove it from the brine and reserve the brine for the drip pan. Stuff the chicken with the sweet onion (chop it coarsely and coat lightly with some of the canola oil before stuffing). Rub the outside of the chicken with the remaining canola oil and sprinkle it liberally with your seasoned salt.

Set the chicken on the smoker rack and allow to smoke for 3-5 hours, depending on the size of your chicken and the temperature of your smoker. I like to carefully press my thumb on the leg of the chicken to check for doneness. When it feels like I'm pressing into the fleshy part of your palm near your thumb and gently moving the leg is easy, your chicken is done. Allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes before tearing it apart and serving it.

  • Yields: 5-7 servings
  • Preparation Time: Several hours / varying

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