You’ve probably heard the term “smoked meat.” But, it’s more than just a flavor. It’s a method of cooking. And, it’s one we suggest giving a try. You won’t regret it! Whether it’s smoked chicken, ribs, or sausages, smoking your food is sure to impress. So, this month our focus is helping you become a master. We’ve got tips, tricks, and recipes for you. After reading this blog, you’ll be smoking meat left, right, and center.
Plus, if you don’t have a smoker of your own, don’t worry. We will go over how to turn your BBQ into a smoker of your own. Let’s start with the basics.
So, what makes smoked meat so unique anyways? It’s not always easy. And it usually takes the better part of the day. But, above all, it’s a flavor like no other. Not to mention, it turns tough meat into “melt in your mouth” meals. Sure, a tenderloin steak on the grill is excellent. Yet, save the price tag and try smoking meat for a change. With a bit of love, a basic piece of meat becomes something extraordinary.
The magic of smoking relies on indirect heat. However, unlike a BBQ, the item is not placed right on top of the heat source. This allows the heat and smoke to surround the product. If you have a smoker of your own, this process is easy. Smokers ensure that the heat and smoke circulate. However, if you’re starting, you can use your grill to test out the waters. Let’s look at how to turn your BBQ into your very own smoker:
Things You’ll Need:
Some newer grills come equipped with a smoker box. However, most do not. Therefore, you’ll need to follow these steps to turn your gas or propane BBQ into a smoker. You’ll be on your way to making smoked chicken, ribs, and more in no time.
Firstly, soak your wood chips in water for around 30 minutes. Half will be used for your wood chips, and the other half for cooking. Next, you’ll need to get your grill ready. Place a foil pan under the grill on the side where the food will be. On the other side, place your smoker box filled with wood chips. Then, turn that side only on to medium. Close the lid and preheat to 285°. Now, your smoker is ready!
When it comes to smoked chicken, your best bet is to keep it whole. Not only will a whole smoked chicken stay moister, but you’ll have extras to turn into lunch or freezer meals. Plus, there are a few different approaches you can take. So see us in our store, for a great price on whole chickens.
To ensure easy cooking, we suggest spatchcocking your chicken. For some help, check out this tutorial, How to Spatchcock a Chicken. It gives you a step-by-step guide from the pros. When you remove the backbone, it helps with even cooking. And, it cuts down the cooking time as well.
You could also try the classic “Beer Can Chicken.” This involves placing your chicken over top of your favorite beer. You’ll be left with a juicy, moist smoked chicken. Of course, you’ll still want to brine your meat and use a dry rub. However, beer can chicken is a fun way to try something new. This Smoked Beer Can Chicken recipe is simple and will have your guests asking for more.
Next, you may choose a dry rub or a brine to create your smoked chicken. Brining your bird is the best way to add flavor to the meat. You can start with a basic brine (salt & water) and go from there. You’ll need enough liquid to submerge the meat entirely. For every 1 gallon of water, use 1/2 cup of salt. Add 1/2 cup sugar and a few tablespoons of your favorite BBQ sauce to add a bit more flavor.
Additionally, you can try out other liquids. Maybe beer, broth, or juice. Just be careful of the sugar and salt contents. You will need to adjust your dry ingredients accordingly. Herbs and spices also help to add a level of flavor. It’s really up to you. In terms of time, try to brine overnight. However, in a pinch, an hour will do. But, never more than 24 hours. Anything more than a day and your smoked chicken will be too salty.
If you want to skip the brine, try out a dry rub. A dry rub will make your smoked chicken look and taste better. For a simple recipe, check out the Perfect Smoked Chicken Dry Rub. Or, there are some fantastic premade options out there. Trager Grills is known for its smokers. But, they also have a full line of rubs and sauces. Our favorite is the Trager Pork & Poultry Rub.
A whole smoked chicken is your best bang for your buck. However, you can use these techniques on other cuts as well—for example, smoked chicken breasts or smoked chicken thighs. Choose a bone-in variety. The bone helps with even cooking and extra moisture. You can order them online from Hilltop Acres or pick them up at our farm store.
As promised, we have created a list of worthy recipes. We hope you’ll try out some of these ideas, from smoked chicken to smoked salsa, and let us know how they turned out.
For your whole smoked chicken, you might either eat it all at a meal or break it into smaller meals. For example, these Smoked and Shredded Chicken Tacos are a great way to use up that meat. Who doesn’t love a good taco? This Whiskey Peach Pulled Chicken is a fun spin on your average pulled pork sandwich for another handheld option.
As always, it’s essential to choose quality. Buying directly from a poultry farm ensures quality and allows you to know where your food is coming from. At Hilltop Acres, we put quality above all. We are committed to finding the best product for our customers. Customers like you!