You might be a pro when it comes to barbecuing red meat, but chicken is another story. Chicken can be a bit of a challenge, often coming out dry and flavorless. Fortunately, you can improve your chicken grilling and smoking game in an instant by following some tips. Find out how to smoke and grill chicken like a pro, so you can add it to the menu for your next barbecue.
Choose High-quality Chicken
Because chicken isn’t separated into grades of meat such as prime and select, you might think it’s all the same. However, the quality of chicken differs, just as it does with beef. Choosing high-quality chicken will put you on the right track to smoking and grilling the meat like a pro.
Start by going to a butcher shop to get your chicken. Then, ask for all-natural, cage-free chicken. Also, make sure the chicken has thin white skin.
Brine the Chicken
Keeping the chicken tender is one of the biggest challenges when smoking and grilling it. That’s why it’s so important that you brine it before cooking. The salt in the brine breaks down the chicken’s muscles, increasing the tenderness. The salt also improves moisture absorption, so the chicken will be moist and succulent when you finish cooking it.
Leave your chicken in a seasoned brine for three to four hours. Then, you won’t have to worry about dry, rubbery chicken.
Once the time is up, remove the chicken from the brine and pat it dry. Then, let it air dry for an additional hour.
Add the Perfect Amount of Seasoning
Seasoning plays a crucial role in cooking delicious chicken. Use a simple seasoning that enhances the taste without overpowering the smokey flavor. A basic spice rub will do the trick. It will make your chicken savory while still allowing the smoky flavor to come through.
You can also lock in the flavor with a mop sauce, but make sure it’s thin. Put it on the chicken every half hour while you smoke it.
Barbecue sauce is also an option, but don’t put it on until a few minutes before the chicken is done. Brush it on the meat to add a bit of extra flavor.
Choose the Wood Wisely
You also need to choose the right wood when cooking chicken. Chicken has a mild flavor, so you can overpower it if you use the wrong wood. Fruitwood is the best choice for chicken because it’s also mild. If you want your chicken to be more savory, you can also include a small amount of hickory wood.
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Be Mindful of the Temperature
Heat the grill or smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit before adding the chicken. Keep the temperature between 250-325 degrees Fahrenheit while cooking. Then, use the meat thermometer to find out if it’s done.
You will be amazed by delicious your chicken is when you follow these tips. The chicken will taste so good that you might forgo red meat for a while and just chow down on chicken.
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