My first smoked chicken came out great. I got lots of good info from SMF and a couple of books (“Low & Slow” by Wiviott and “Smoke & Spice” by Jamison). I did three chickens, beer-can style (I used soda cans because all my beer is in bottles).
The chicken was brined about 12 hours in a modified Slaughterhouse brine. I had to make several modifications due to the diet needs of some of the guests. The brine:
1 1/2 gallons water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
The chicken was rinsed and dried. A paste was applied under the skin over the breast:
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
Next the chicken was coated with olive oil, inside and out. Then a rub was applied. Two birds had my standard rub:
2 parts garlic powder
2 parts onion powder
2 parts paprika
2 parts dark brown sugar
1 part kosher salt
1 part black pepper
The other chicken was rubbed with equal parts garlic powder and onion powder.
The cans were half filled with apple juice, chickens placed over cans, and onions stuffed into the neck holes.
My 18.5” WSM was loaded with 1 chimney unlit and 1 chimney lit coals; no water in the pan. Seven pieces of peach wood were used for smoke, pruned from my trees last spring. All vents were 100% open.
The chicken smoked for 1 1/2 hours; until the thigh temperature reached 180*; the smoker temp started at 310* and steadily increase to 350*. The chickens rested 20 minutes and were devoured. The meat was moist, the skin crisp, and it had a gentle, sweet smoke flavor.
Ready to smoke. The paler bird has the garlic and onion powder rub.
Just off the smoker.
Ready to carve.
I was very happy, and hot.