It’s easy and delicious!
Howdy folks – guest poster here. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Daniel Scurlock Jr, and grew up out on Scurlock Farms. I recently moved back to the farm with my wife, Sherry, after spending over 30 years in the Dallas/Plano area.
Funny how when you’re growing up you want to move away, and after you’ve moved away you want to get back home. Good to be back!
One of the first things we did when we moved back was to pick up a wood smoker so we could smoke up chicken, pork, brisket and the like. We’ve had the smoker for a few months now, and it typically gets used at LEAST once a week. We picked up an Oklahoma Joe’s Highland smoker from Lowe’s for just under $300. It won’t break the bank, and it does a fantastic job of cooking low and slow.
Today we smoked up a couple of chickens, and they turned out delicious!
For these chickens we used a marinade (marinade recipe at bottom of post) that infused a flavor of citrus, garlic and ginger with a slight bit of heat.
We recently discovered the joys of spatchcocked chicken. This works wonderfully for smoking/grilling/baking chickens. Try it! The cooks are quicker, and the meat soaks up the flavor from marinades and rubs much more evenly.
First thing is to get your smoker up to temperature. Our favorite wood for chicken is pecan
A great tool to use when smoking meat is a dual wireless meat thermometer. This will allow you to monitor both the temperature of your cooker at grate level and the internal temperature of your meat. We use a ThermoPro TP20 unit and it’s done a fantastic job for us.
You want to keep the meat moist while cooking. We use small foil pans located nearest the firebox and fill them with water. Keep an eye on them throughout the cook. When they get low put more water in. Once you’ve got your smoker up to 225 it’s time to load it up!
I cook chickens at a temperature between 225 and 250 until the internal temperature in the middle of a breast reaches 160. The cook today took just under 5 hours for two 6 pound birds.
When the temperature drops below 225 add another log. Keep the firebox open for a couple of minutes until the log is burning well. You want to keep the fire burning, not smoldering. If you see a bunch of white billowing smoke coming out of your smokestack you want to open up the air intake on your firebox to allow the fire to burn clean. White billowing smoke is bad – the meat will take on an acrid flavor and the meat will take on a black, charred look.
“If you’re looking, it ain’t cooking”
You’ll have a temptation to open up the smoker and take a peek at the delicious meat you’re cooking up. Don’t do it! Every time you open up the lid you allow heat to escape and you’ll be adding time to your cook, along with not keeping a consistent temperature inside the smoker.
After the first hour, and every half hour after that I’ll spritz the chicken with apple cider vinegar using a spray bottle, and if cooking two birds will swap out their locations so both birds are cooking evenly. There is a bit of a temperature difference inside the smoker based on the distance from the firebox and I’ve found this helps the birds to both be done at the same time.
I added a baffle plate to this smoker to help with the temperature difference between the firebox side of the smoker and the opposite side. Prior to the firebox there was nearly a 75 degree difference between the mid part of the grill and the side opposite the firebox. With the baffle installed it’s much better, but still have a 25 degree or so range between mid part of the smoker and the side furthest from the firebox.
At this point sit back, relax and enjoy a tasty beverage or two while you wait for the internal temperature of the breast to reach 160. Keep an eye out on the fire and keep the temperature at the grate between 225 and 250. Before you know it you’ll be done and ready to pull the birds out of the smoker.
Let it rest, let it rest, let it rest
You’ll be tempted to cut into the chicken as soon as you bring it inside. Don’t do it! The chicken is still cooking, and will rise another 5 degrees or so. If you cut into it as soon as you pull it you’ll see lots of juices, and there goes your tender, moist chicken. You want those juices to flow back into the meat, making for a tender, juicy feast.
Use foil and loosely tent the birds for a half hour. Now it’s time to cut into your chicken and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
If you’re staying as a guest out here and would like to help out with a smoke or would like us to smoke up chicken, pork butt, ribs or a brisket let Sheron know. I would be happy to help!
Thanks for reading!
Daniel Scurlock Jr
Citrus/Garlic/Ginger Marinade for Chicken
- 1/2 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 4 TBS Fresh Diced Garlic
- 4 TBS Fresh Diced Ginger
- 3 TBS Chopped Chipotle Peppers with Adobo Sauce
- Zest and Juice of 3 Limes
- Zest and Juice of 2 Oranges
DIRECTIONS: Easy peasy – mix it all together, place a whole spatchcocked chicken in a 1 gallon freezer bag and pour the marinade over the chicken. Place on a pan or large plate breast side down and put it in the fridge overnight. Pull chicken out of fridge 1 hour before placing on smoker