Flame Tree Inspired Rubbed ’N’ Smoked Chicken!
Tools for the Job:
A grill set up for indirect/2-zone cooking (gas or charcoal is just fine) or a smoker
Smoking Wood of Choice (I used basic mesquite chips, but there are many wonderful varieties to try out for yourself)
A good digital thermometer (it MUST be accurate. spring for a nice one, it will be worth it)
Our Flametree Inspired BBQ Rub
Your favorite cut of Chicken — I used half chickens because our family has different preferences
1. Up to an hour before cooking, heavily season the Chicken using the BBQ Rub. Some people do this the night before, but I don’t find it necessary — an hour or two is enough in my opinion. Using this recipe, it is literally impossible to overdo it. If using breasts with skin-on, work some rub under the skin.
2. Heat Grill or smoker to 325*F. Put the chicken on the indirect side of the grill or in the smoker. Use half the wood you might use on pork, for example — chicken doesn’t need nearly as much. It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours to complete the cooking process depending on the cut you use, and depending on your set up. This is why you have to keep an eye on things, most notably the temperature.
3. While your chicken is on the smoker or grill, go read this article at AmazingRibs.com: Why Chicken is Not Done When the Juices Run Clear, and Why Pink Meat Can Be Safe
This is probably the biggest takeaway:
“[T]he USDA recommended mark of 165°F is not hard and fast. It is a number they give the consumer in order to make food safety simple, but killing microbes is a factor of both temperature and time. At 165°F internal temp in the geometric center of the meat, all microbes are killed in about seven seconds, so it is called the "instant kill zone". But you can also kill them all at lower temps if you hold the meat there for a longer time. For example, chicken can be safe at 150°F if you can hold it there for five minutes. Also, if you cook a large bird, like a turkey, you can take it off at 160°F since it retains enough heat to kill pathogens, and it will likely rise 5°F due to carryover cooking.”
Congratulations! Look how much smarter you are now!
But seriously, this is why it is crucial for you to have a good digital thermometer. Pick the temperature-method you are going with and trust the science. From here on out, if you are going to prepare chicken for others educate them before serving them the chicken. I’ve seen it many times, where people freak out because their chicken is pink and therefore “raw,” but in reality the internal temperature has reached 170*F or higher. Ignorance is as ignorance does. Be the bigger person.
5. Since there is a significant amount of down time when you’re using indirect heat, you have plenty of time to prepare some killer sides like these one, just plan ahead so you have all the necessary ingredients.
6. If you went with skin-on chicken and want to make your skin crispy (definitely the right decision, by the way), feel free to stop 5-10*F short of your target temperature (unless you’re doing the hold at 150*F method, in which case you should complete the hold first) and move the meat to the direct heat for a couple minutes on each side. It won’t take long, and these last couple minutes will be more than enough to finish your chicken. This is also a good time to slather those babies with your favorite BBQ sauce (or give our Flame Tree Inspired BBQ sauce a try!). Give the sauce a char if that’s your style (p.s. it should be, otherwise we’ll be forced to assume you’re some kind of Communist).
7. Pull your chicken from the heat and allow it to stand for 5 minutes or so. If using a gas grill, you can turn the heat off and set the meat back on the indirect side while it cools to a consumable temperature.
8. It’s time to reap your spoils of war! Okay, I get a more than a little enthusiastic when my meat comes off the grill. I’ve been living a veggie-first lifestyle most days of the week for some time now (splurging only two or three meals every week after I weight train or watch football), so good meat is a serious treat which I dream about all week. Go heavy with the sauce, add a little extra sprinkle of the rub, and dig in.
I hope you try my Flame Tree inspired chicken! And share your pictures with me so I can drool over it with you!