The beginning of September and Labor Day weekend is coming up soon! I’ve got the perfect recipe for you for this long weekend – a whole smoked chicken!
The hubby got a smoker last Christmas and we’ve been trying to use it more often. He’s made a few smoked things and today I’m sharing one of our new favorite recipes with you.
This might just be my absolute favorite chicken recipe to date. It comes out so juicy and tender with just the right amount of smokey flavor. This bird is cooked low and slow for about 3-4 hours then pulled off and tented for a few minutes before carving and serving.
It’s so tender that it actually just falls off the bone so you could just pull it if you prefer or slice it like we did for the images. My kids absolutely love this chicken also and eat every single bite when we make it.
Start by heating a stockpot over medium-low heat and add water, apple cider, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, salt and honey. Stir to combine and cook just until the sugars and salt dissolve.
Remove from heat and either place in the refrigerator to cool or add a ton of ice to cool it down.
Once the brine mixture is completely cool, add the whole chickens to a large stockpot and pour over the brine mixture. Fill the rest of the pot with water just to cover the birds completely.
Place in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight but no more than 12 hours. After brining, drain the brine off and pat the chickens mostly dry with some paper towels. Generously sprinkle with your favorite dry chicken rub.
Preheat your smoker, filled with applewood chips, to about 275 F. Place the chickens in the smoker, breast-side down, directly on the racks.
Close the smoker and let the chickens smoke for 2-4 hours or until a thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the meat registers at 175° F.
Remove from the smoker and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before carving or pulling and serving. The last time we made this I made a Mediterranean salad to go with it (which is coming soon!) and another time was made homemade mac and cheese.
Whole Smoked Chicken
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 whole chicken about 3-4 lbs
- 4 Tbsp dry rub seasoning
- In a large stockpot add all the brine ingredients – except the bay leaves – and whisk to combine.
- Heat over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until the sugar and salt dissolve.
- Remove from heat and let cool completely. Placing the refrigerator or freezer will help cool faster.
- Once the brine is completely cool, add the chicken to the brine making sure it is completely submerged. If it isn't, add more water to just cover the chicken.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Once you're ready to smoke, preheat your smoker to 275° F and add your woodchips according to manufacturers instructions.
- Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Generously sprinkle all over with your favorite dry rub mixture.
- Place the chicken, breast-side down, directly on the racks of the smoker.
- Close your smoker and let smoke for about 2-3 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the largest part of the thigs registers about 175° F.
- Remove chicken and transfer to cutting board. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving.