Here's another easy chicken recipe for the new Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker owner. No fancy rub used here—just salt and pepper to season the meat and a favorite barbecue sauce mixed in afterwards. You don't even have to pay attention to the cooker's temperature!
This pulled chicken is adapted for the WSM from a recipe featured on the PBS Television series America's Test Kitchen.
Click on any of the pictures to view a larger image.
What You'll Need For This Recipe
Choose The Smoke Wood
Each smoke wood chunk should be small, for example 3" x 2" x 2" or similar.
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.
If fruit wood is not available, use only two chunks of hickory, but be aware that some people find it overpowering when used alone.
Do not use mesquite for this recipe.
There is no need to soak the wood or remove the bark before use.
Learn More Later: All About Smoke Woods
Prepare The Chicken
Depending on the region where you live, this cut of chicken is called "whole chicken legs" or "leg quarters". It consists of the drumstick and thigh with a portion of the backbone attached. Some grocery stores sell "chicken legs" with the backbone portion already removed; buy this if you don't want to fuss with the trimming described below and don't mind paying a bit more.
The price of whole chicken legs varies greatly depending on where and how you buy it. Here are some prices I found near my home:
Once you've got 6-8 pounds of whole chicken legs, remove the backbone from each piece as follows:
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
Sprinkle a moderate amount of salt and black pepper on both sides of the chicken pieces.
Learn More Later: Chicken Selection & Preparation
Fire The Cooker
Light a full Weber chimney starter of Kingsford charcoal briquettes:
Spread the hot coals evenly over the charcoal grate (Photo 9).
Place the smoke wood chunks on top of the coals (Photo 10).
Now assemble the cooker:
You're now ready to cook!
Barbecue The Chicken
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.
Cook the chicken for 60 minutes. No peeking allowed!
After 60 minutes, check the internal meat temperature using an instant-read thermometer. Continue cooking until the thighs register about 180°F.
This internal temperature is a bit higher than if you were cooking a whole chicken. Since there's no white meat to dry out here and you'll be adding sauce after cooking, 180°F works just fine in this recipe.
Pull The Chicken
Remove the chicken from the cooker and let cool for 15 minutes or until you can handle it comfortably.
While the meat cools, pour your favorite barbecue sauce into a sauce pan—1/4 cup (2 ounces) of sauce for each pound of chicken (pre-cooked weight). Warm the sauce gently on the stovetop.
Prepare the pulled chicken as follows:
Build The Sandwich
Toast some nice, soft hamburger buns, put 4-5 ounces of pulled chicken on each sandwich, drizzle with some warm leftover sauce, if desired, and serve with coleslaw and pickles on the side.
Photo 16 shows the nice texture you get from the hand-pulled large pieces and the coarse mixture from the food processor.
More Chicken Links On TVWB
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