Rubbed chicken halves ready for barbecuing
Basic barbecued chicken halves, finished over direct heat
Here's an easy barbecued chicken that requires no attention to the cooker's
temperature. It's a good choice for your first cook in a new Weber
Smokey Mountain Cooker.
Click on any of the
pictures to view a larger image.
What You'll Need For
This recipe may not work if you do not use Kingsford
Charcoal Briquets and a Weber Chimney Starter for measuring the
amount of charcoal used.
The amount of charcoal
used in this recipe is overkill, but it ensures that no matter what
the conditions, your WSM will run nice and hot, and you won't run
out of fuel before the chicken is cooked. You can experiment with
using less fuel the next time you cook this recipe.
Choose The Smoke Wood
Use three chunks
of oak, apple, cherry, or other mild fruit wood. As an alternative, you can use two chunks of any of these and one chunk of hickory. Do not use
mesquite for this recipe.
Each smoke wood chunk
should be small, for example 3" x 2" x 2" or similar.
There is no need
to soak the wood or remove the bark before use.
More Later: All About Smoke Woods
Prepare The Rub
Mix up a batch of this
1/4 cup paprika
4 teaspoons table salt
4 teaspoons ground black pepper
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
granulated garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Prepare The Chicken
Remove the backbone
from each chicken and split into two halves:
- Place the
chicken breast-side down with the tail facing you. Using kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone, then repeat on the
other side of the backbone.
- Turn the
chicken breast-side up and spread it out on the cutting
board. Press down on the breastbone with the palm of your
hand to flatten the chicken.
- Use a chef's knife to split the chicken into two halves.
- Trim any large
pockets of fat.
Pat the chicken
dry with paper towels.
Sprinkle a moderate
amount of rub on both sides of the chicken halves.
Learn More Later:
Chicken Selection & Preparation and How To Butterfly A
Light a full Weber chimney starter of Kingsford Charcoal Briquets:
Loosely roll a
double-wide sheet of newspaper on the diagonal from the upper left
corner to the lower right corner. Bring the ends together to form a
circle that fits inside the bottom of the chimney (Photo 2). Repeat
with a second sheet of newspaper.
Put the rolled
the bottom of the chimney (Photo 3).
- Place the
chimney on the charcoal grate and fill to the top with
briquettes. Light the newspaper in several locations with a long
match or butane lighter (Photo 4). Two sheets of newspaper is usually
sufficient to get things started under normal conditions. If not, repeat the process with additional sheets of newspaper.
- It will take about 15 minutes for the coals to light. You'll know
when flames are licking at the briquettes at the top of the
chimney and they're just starting to turn gray (Photo 5).
Spread the hot
coals evenly over the
charcoal grate (Photo 6).
Measure another 1/2 chimney of unlit
briquettes and spread them evenly over the hot coals (Photo 7).
When all the
briquettes are covered with gray ash, place the smoke wood chunks on
top of the coals (Photo 8).
- Put the
empty water pan in the middle cooking section.
- Insert the
middle cooking section into the charcoal bowl.
- Put the
top cooking grate in place.
You're now ready
Learn More Later: Firing Up Your Weber Bullet, How To Use A Chimney Starter, and Using A Water Pan In Weber Smokers
Arrange the chicken
skin-side up on the grate and put the lid in place.
Set the lid vent
and the three bottom vents 100% open and leave them that way
throughout the entire cooking process.
You'll see a lot of
smoke coming out of the lid vent and maybe from around the lid and
access door. This is completely normal and will eventually subside.
Cook the chicken
for 45 minutes. No peeking allowed!
When you hit the 45
minute mark, remove the lid, quickly brush the skin with a thin coat of your
favorite barbecue sauce, and replace the lid.
Cook for another 15
minutes and then check the internal meat temperature using an
instant-read thermometer. The chicken is done when it measures 160-165°F in the thickest part of the breast and 170-175°F in the
Crisp The Skin
As a final step, crisp
the chicken skin directly over the hot coals:
- Remove the lid
and set it aside.
- Carefully lift
the middle cooking section off the charcoal bowl and set it
- Place the
cooking grate directly over the hot coals (Photo 11).
- Turn the
chicken skin-side down and grill for just a few minutes. Don't
take your eyes off the cooker! Watch
carefully and remove when you have crisp skin and nice grill marks.
Serve the chicken
immediately with extra barbecue sauce on the side.
Chicken Links On TVWB
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