If you’re after a recipe for juicy chicken that feeds 10-12 adults (per two chooks) and frees up space in the oven for other dishes, then look no further!
This method of cooking chicken requires some advanced planning but it consistently delivers moist meat that is still tasty the next day. I love leftovers and this recipe always gets a work out every summer, as it’s perfect for barbeques. You can’t beat that!
BBQ Smoked Rosemary Chicken
Serves 5-6 adults, as part of a main.
- 1 chicken, approx. 2.5-3.0 kg (5.5-6.0 lbs)
- 1 batch of a basic brine
- 1 handful of rosemary sprigs
- 1 large handful of wood chips of your choice for smoking – we use hickory
- 1.0 litre water
- Other equipment – BBQ, coals, disposable baking tray, meat thermometer
Step 1: Brine the Chook
Clean and remove the skin from the chicken before spatchcocking it and cutting shallow slits in the flesh. Then, follow these instructions to make enough brine for your chicken; a typical chicken will need one batch of the brine, extrapolate how much you’ll need from there.
Submerge the chicken in the brine and refrigerate it (or use an Eski/cooler with ice) for 3-4 hours. The temperature needs to stay at or below 3 C/38 F.
Step 2: Prepare the Chook and BBQ
About 30 minutes before you remove the chicken from the brine, get your BBQ started and put the wood chips in water to soak (this prevents them from drying out and burning too quickly later on). I say 30 minutes, because that is how long it takes our coals to light properly. Once the coals have been lit, push them to one side and place the disposable baking dish on the other side and fill it with the 1.0 L of water.
When the chook is ready to come out, thoroughly rinse the brine off the chicken, lightly rub it with some melted butter or olive oil and then place the rosemary in the slits you cut earlier.
Step 3: BBQ the Chook
Sprinkle the soaked hickory wood chips over the coals (give them a shake, first, to get rid of excess water that would extinguish the coals) and then place the grill on top. Arrange the chickens so that they are on top of the water bath, being indirectly heated by the coals. Put the lid on and half open the vents at the bottom and top of your BBQ (if you have them, as out kettle style BBQ does), to allow air flow to keep the coals burning. You will probably need to add some more coals halfway through, which will light on their own, to maintain the temperature inside the BBQ at 105 C/220 F.
Keep an eye on it but it should take about two and a half hours until it’s done, more (around four hours) if you haven’t spatchcocked it. The hallmarks of a “done” chook include an internal temperature of 85 C/185 F, juices running clear and a nicely browned surface. It’s best to make sure it has all of these.
Step 4: Serving the Chook
Divide the chook into four parts – two each of the maryland and breast/wing segments, or eight parts – two each of the breast, wing, thigh and drumstick.
Serve with dipping sauces of your choice (I like this capsicum dip or a little BBQ sauce) and the rest of your BBQ spread. Yum!