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First Time -Cajun Snoked Chicken

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I'm on my second MES -- the first was the basic "black box," and for about seven months have the 30-inch model with glass in the door, control panel mounted top-back, and remote control. I've used both quite extensively, smokin turkey, Boston Butt, pork spare ribs (lots and lots of spare ribs), prime rib, beef roasts, tenderloin... even potatoes of all varieties and corn-on-the-cob.

Thanks to our local butcher who, it seems monthly, has a sale of ten pounds, each, of 80/20 ground sirloin and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I've got an abundance of bs chicken on hand, which I've always been leery of smoking for fear of drying out. But today, for the first time, I'm doing some, following the recipe I found, exactly.

I'll let you know how they turned out.

From "Dadgum That's Good, Too", page 67

6 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 Tbl. extra-virgin olive oil
6 Tbl. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbl. cajun seasoning, divided
1 Tbl. Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt
1 large sweet onion, sliced
3 Tbl. liquid shrimp boil

Pierce each chicken breast on both sides with a fork. Drizzle both sides well with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Sprinkle each breast with 1/2 Tbl. of cajun seasoning. Place chicken in a 1-gallon resealable plastic bag overnight (or for at least 4 hours) in refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator and sprinkle with Krazy Salt and remaining cajun seasoning.

Fill water pan 2/3s full with water, add onion slices and liquid shrimp boil. Pre-heat smoker to 225 degrees. Place chicken on lower rack of smoker and smoke for 45 minutes per pound, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove and serve whole, or slice in strips and serve.

Suggested wood:

Leaving chicken breasts skinless allows the smoky flavor to penetrate the meat more easily, but you will notice that the outside of the breasts take on a dark brown, tough appearance. Don't let appearances fool you. When you slice into these chicken breasts, you will find them moist and flavorful. Timing on boneless breasts is more critical than chicken with the bone-in (or dark meat), so make sure you watch the time and monitor the internal temperature.

Eric Payne
Lawrenceville, GA
post #2 of 4
Sounds Good!
post #3 of 4

Sounds good. Looking forward to hearing and seeing how they came out.


post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Un fortunately, I didn't take any pictures, and the reason I didn't take the photos is I thought the end-result looked like crap.

Don,t get me wrong, the breasts had a nice color to them. But just as the "Note" in the recipe warned, they appeared to be tough, leathery and very, very dry. Even as I placed them on our dinner plates -- with some red beans and rice and a mixture of steamed cauliflower and broccoli -- I knew all the time spent making dinner was going to be wasted time; the chicken was going to be nibbled, then passed over.

And then, we cut into them and took a bite.

The very outside of the breast was "tough and leathery'" but it was that baked-on spicing that kept the meat juicy and, when chewed, the juicyness of the interior softened the "leather" of the very outside of the breast, giving the flavors of the cajun spicing in every bite. The meat, itself, had a sweet smoky flavor throughout. I'm guessing that hint of sweetness was the result of the sweet onion and shrimp boil in the steam pan, as the chicken cooked on the lowest rack, sitting just above the pan. Now, I have a problem for Monday's dinner. I was going to cube the two leftover breasts and toss then in to a carbonarra sauce with some pasta, but the "too good" smoky flavor is going to clash too badly with that sauce.

And, unfortunately, my MES suddenly appears to be "off" in its temperatures. To get to, and maintain, 225-degrees in the box, I had to set controls for 250. While the MES temperature probe was saying 162-degrees, another meat thermometer said the chicken was 168, and (at least 3 times) my remote control's screen just, suddenly, went dark.

Eric Payne
Lawrenceville, GA
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