Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Linda, my wife, bought the chickens fresh. However, due to many factors I was unable to get them on the barbecue. So, I split them into halves and froze them.

Yesterday I was able to find the time to cook them. I had worked a night shift, and pulled them out of the freezer when I got home. I recalled that thawing was enhanced by placing the frozen meat on metal, so I set them on cookie sheets and went to bed.

I awoke after four hours and immediately got the coals going in the lighting chimney. I rubbed the meat with oil and rubbed in my blend of seasoned salt, garlic sea salt, table salt and black pepper. I then placed the chicken halves on the grill in the smoke chamber. They were still a bit firm, possibly still frozen in the middle. I wondered if that would have an impact on the cooking. I would find out.

The hot coals were poured from the chimney into the fire box. I added a good quantity of charcoal to the hot bed. When things were going good, I went into the house to do some things. I set a timer for thirty minutes. After that time had passed I checked the fire and the temperature in the smoke chamber. The fire was going good, and required just a bit of fuel to keep it going. The temperature in the chamber was in the red, which indicated a temperature around 250 degrees.

After another thirty minutes I was confident that the meat was thoroughly defrosted and I could easily insert the thermometer. I did so and found I was already at 150 degrees internal temperature. This was much faster than the other meats I have done. I added soaked hickory chips to the fire and set my timer for another half-hour.

When I returned the temperature was 195 degrees internal. The chamber was still around 250 degrees, so my fire had been steady. Things were cooking faster than I had expected. I turned the chicken over and adjusted the pieces to even out the exposure to heat. We were over target temperature, but I still wanted to smoke the meat for at least an hour. I closed the dampers down and added a good lot of soaked hickory chips to the fire.

Another thirty minutes. The chicken was now around 180 degrees internal temperature, and the chamber was holding steady. I added some fuel to the fire and put on more chips. I figured another half-hour would be good.

Thirty minutes later I opened the smoke chamber. Four half chickens were a lovely smoked red-brown. I took them out and brought them upstairs to the kitchen. Everyone helped themselves to their favorite bits. Barbecue chicken, green salad, Bush's baked beans, and corn on the cob!

The chicken was fabulous! Perfectly done. Juicy, and with an excellent smoke flavor. Along with the side dishes it made a fantastic meal.

Thus far my barbecue experiences have been very positive. It is fun and delicious. There is still much to learn, but I am growing in confidence. Perhaps it is time for a bit more adventure!

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