Friday, September 10, 2010

Cooking: Whole Smoked Chickens

The smoking process we use to smoke chickens is more of a flavorful cooking method than a preservation technique. For long term storage of these chickens, we zipper bag or vacuum seal and freeze them. Inexpensive whole fryers work just as well for this method as roasters, and we use them almost exclusively.

***STEP 1: CURE***

Thaw birds (if necessary) and remove gizzards as needed. Check for feathers that might have been missed and remove.

While we do not prefer it for ham, we LOVE Morton’s Sugar Cure for smoked chickens. Add about 1 tablespoon of cure per gallon of water and brine, chilled, for at least 24 hours. If you don’t have a large enough refrigerator, you can add ice a few times a day.

*** Step 2: PREPARE***

Drain chickens and insert each into a knee-hi nylon stocking. The stocking makes a nice bag with a handle to hang the chickens by and also makes for a very even brown skin. Special thanks to our neighbor from the old country in Lithuania for this little trick.

Whole Chickens Hanging in Stockings (Draining)

***Step 3: SMOKE***

Hang chickens from smoker by the tops of the stockings. Hot smoke for 10 hours for 5 pound average birds.

Chickens in Smoker
Smoker in Action

Mr. Farmer doesn't care to share his exact cooking times just yet. If he does, I will update. But look how pretty and brown they look once they are fully smoked!

Whole Smoked Chickens - YUM!

Our preferred hardwoods for smoking chickens are cherry and maple, but hickory is nice too.


1) Serve hot, roast-style, with potatoes. If you are going to smoke whole potatoes, parboil & pierce them prior to smoking. The low temperature of the smoke will not sufficiently cook the potatoes even in 10 or 12 hours. Trust me.

2) Cold smoked chicken is great for picnics. Just throw it in the cooler and take it along. Great on cold sandwiches or just as a side with potato, macaroni, or green salad.

3) Chicken Salad: Pull chicken, chop small, and mix with mayo, celery, & onions.

4) Pulled Chicken: Pull chicken, mix with just a little of your favorite BBQ sauce (maybe one day I'll post Mr. Farmer's recipe) and heat. Serve on round rolls with potato salad.

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