When you think of a traditional American barbeque, I'm guessing you're
thinking chicken. Barbeque chicken is about as American as it gets. And today, we're going to talk about barbeque chicken fundamentals.
Now, chicken is one of the more commonly used meats when it comes to barbequing, which is a great thing because it's such a versatile and diverse piece of
meat that offers so many options to the griller and smoker.
The first thing to think about is the piece of meat you're actually going
to be cooking. Now, you can use a whole chicken. You can use a half
chicken. You can use quarter chickens or you can use pieces of chicken.
We recommend you buy a whole chicken and butcher it down yourself to either
half chickens or quarter chickens. This is going to save you a lot of
money and it's going to save you time when it comes to cooking. By cutting
that chicken in half, you're going to increase the surface area which lowers the cooking time for a chicken by, maybe, a third.
Now, there is one whole chicken recipe I wanted to talk about. That's
the beer can chicken. If you haven't tried this, it is a delicious, quick,
and easy recipe that really provides a moist, succulent chicken. Simply
take a can of beer or soda, cut open the top, and set your chicken right on
top of it. Put it on the smoker or the grill. Cook it for 45 minutes to
an hour. And you're going to have a delicious, delicious chicken.
Now, let's get back to the traditional barbeque chicken. Now, the way we
like to do it, as I mentioned, is take two halves of chicken, rub them down
with a really, well balanced rub that has some sweetness, some heat, and
some earthy undertones. Let that set for about 30 minutes. This will give
you time to get your grill started. You want to get that grill up to about 350 to 400 degrees. So we're cooking over a pretty hot fire. Once we reach that 400 degree range, bring the chicken out and take it skin side down and set it directly over the
coals. This is known as the direct cooking method. You want that skin to
really get a nice crisp up on it.
Once you've crisped up that skin, it's going to take five or seven minutes, flip
it over on the bone side in an indirect cooking zone. This is going to be
over an area that has no coals. You want to set that lid back on your
smoker or grill and let it cook for another 45 minutes to an hour. At about the 45 minute time, you want to come back out with our favorite barbeque sauce, whether it's a sweet or a spicy or a mustard sauce, that's up to you. This is when we begin to baste the chicken in sauce. So there's a key point to remember. Don't put the sauce on too early. There's lots of sugar in barbeque sauces and if you put it on too early, you run the risk of burning the chicken.
So at 15 minutes until we're going to pull the chicken off, put your first
layer of sauce on. Put the lid back on the grill or smoker. Let it set
for another five or seven minutes. Take the grill lid back off, baste a second
time. Cook it for another five or seven minutes. Remove the chicken. Let it set
for about five to ten minutes, so those juices can reinstall themselves into the
meat. And then you're ready to have chicken.
The American classic doesn't get any more barbeque than barbeque chicken.