What Have You Been Smoking?

Have you smoked anything lately?

Me, I’ve been smoking chicken.

A big — and I do mean big (nearly 7 pounds!) — whole chicken. 🙂

Well, I say “me.” When we do anything that involves the grill, my beloved is usually involved, as well.

We love our grill. We have a propane grill on our back deck — and our deck has a roof — and so are able to grill pretty much year ’round, if we so desire.

Grilling often makes for easy meals, such as the one we’re having tonight: smoked chicken, steamed mini ears of corn on the cob, bleu cheese coleslaw, and homemade mini bread loaves from yeast roll dough leftover from Friday.

Minimal effort. Maximum flavor.

When we looked at the weather forecast yesterday (high around 68F/20C — I think we got a little above, actually), we decided that today would be a good day to smoke a chicken we’ve had in the freezer.

A few months ago, I came across two large — each nearly 7 pounds — whole chickens reduced half-price for quick sale. I snapped them up and stuck them in my freezer. With high hopes, I baked one of them in a baking bag (which is supposed to assure tenderness and juiciness), along with a lot of delicious fresh vegetables, and although it smelled incredibly yummy, alas, the chicken was tough, chewy, and stringy. 😦

Hubby and I vowed then and there that we would smoke the remaining chicken on our grill, as we figured that would give a better chance for the chicken to come out flavorful, moist, and tasty.

One can purchase what is called a “smoker,” which has the sole purpose of smoking meat. However, seeing as we already have a propane grill, I saw little point in investing funds for a smoker. Besides, my prior experience in working with smokers wasn’t a positive one.

But after watching someone (sorry, I can’t remember who!) smoking a chicken on the FoodNetwork, hubby and I had a major hankering to try smoking some meat. Not long after, I saw a “smoker box” for an exceedingly affordable price (under $10 US), which is simply a heavy-duty box with a grilled-type lid on it. To use it, you soak wood chips (there’s often a variety available — hickory and such) in water for at least four hours or so, ‘though you can do it overnight, as well. Then, when you’re ready to smoke your meat (whole chickens, whole turkeys, bone-in turkey breast, and beef brisket naturally come to mind), you

  1. Put your meat on a rack on a pan (we use a heavy-duty disposable aluminum pan) and season it as you desire,
  2. Place the pan on one side of the grill,
  3. Fill the smoker box with the soaked wood chips — plus water to cover! — and place the lid on the smoker box,
  4. Place the smoker box on the other side of your grill,
  5. Have the heat on only under the side of the grill with the smoker box (this works best with a propane grill), and
  6. Close the lid on your grill and wait.

Smoking cooks and flavors meat with indirect heat, which is why you have the heat on under the smoker box, but not under the pan with the meat. The smoke generated by the damp wood chips in reaction to the heat inside the grill help flavor the meat.

You want to keep seasonings very, very simple. For this chicken, I sprinkled on some coarse ground sea salt and coarse ground black pepper. That’s it. Oh, and we poured a bottle of beer into the bottom of the pan (the chicken is on a rack).

Trust us, the beer adds something.

Smoke for about as long — and maybe longer — than you would if you were roasting or baking the meat. This is a “low and slow” process.

But boy oh boy, is it easy! Hubby and I have spent the afternoon sitting on the back deck playing Rummi-Kub whilst our supper cooks — er, smokes. 🙂

And it sure smells yummy, too!

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About MissieLee

I love tasty food prepared in a healthy way with a budget in mind.
This entry was posted in Chicken, Grilling, Main Dish and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to What Have You Been Smoking?

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  6. JanAshby says:

    I LOVE smoked meat. I had no idea it was that simple to do on a grill. When mine is no longer buried under the snow, I’m going to try this. Thanks Missie!
    *love your blog…keep going, girl!*

    • MissieLee says:

      Jan, it really is pretty simple! A bit of experimentation, but not all that difficult. Please note the correction I made to the blog about the smoker box — fill it with soaked chips and water to cover when you put it on the grill.

      And thanks for the encouragement 🙂

  7. Wendy Mathias says:

    While I’m sorry the cooking bag failed you, I’m glad the meat was on sale! Besides, had it worked out, you might not have been inspired to smoke the next one. We’ve never smoked any meats, but you make it sound easy.

    • MissieLee says:

      Wendy, it is pretty easy! It takes a bit of trial and error and experimentation — individual grills vary, so length of time can vary, etc. — but it gives spectacular flavor and does make for an easy, no-fuss meal (depending upon what sides you choose, of course!).

      My suggestion — allow more time than you think you might need. That way, the worst case scenario is likely to be that the meat gets done before you think it will and you have to keep it warm or reheat it. *shrug*

      Honestly, though, I find it easier than hamburgers (hamburgers require all that slicing and dicing of tomatoes and onion and lettuce and variety of cheeses and all those jars of condiments — I love burgers, but “easy,” they ain’t!).

      Please note I edited to correct my post — one is to fill the smoker box with the soaked chips AND water to cover.

  8. LinnieGayl says:

    I don’t have access to a grill, so don’t have the ability to grill anything. I did buy smoked turkey in the deli today, which I guess is as close as I can come.

    I’ve had beef brisket (love it) in Texas before. Have you smoked any of that?

    • MissieLee says:

      Linnie, yes, we have smoked a brisket, but we didn’t allow quite enough time for it — while we’ve found that on-the-bone poultry (whole chickens, whole turkeys, and turkey breast) take about as long, or maybe a wee bit longer, to smoke as they would if we baked them, the brisket needed longer than we gave it.

      Smoking brisket is an exercise we need to repeat. 🙂

      I do make a pretty mean oven-BBQ’d brisket, too.

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