Bourbon-glazed smoked chicken

Adapted from the wonderful cookbook Charcuterie, this recipe makes moist, flavorful chicken that is tasty either warm or cold. I think it goes well with German potato salad. The glaze is terrific and will make your kitchen smell very good! You need to start the process the day before you plan to eat.

1 gallon room temperature water
1-1/2 c kosher salt
1/2 c brown sugar (light or dark)
A 4 pound (more or less) chicken, preferably organic and/or locally raised
1 c bourbon
1/2 c maple syrup
2 TB dark brown sugar
Big pinch cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes

Dissolve the salt and sugar in the water. If there’s a giblet packet inside the chicken, remove it and save for other uses. Truss the chicken, which means to use cotton kitchen string to tie the ends of the drumsticks together and to wrap the main part of the chicken so that the wings are held against the body. Immerse the chicken in the brine, weigh down with a plate if needed to keep the bird submerged, and refrigerate for 20-24 hours.

Remove the chicken, rinse, and pat dry. Discard the brine. Place chicken on a rack, uncovered, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to a day. This dries out the skin and makes for better penetration of the smoke flavor.

Combine the bourbon, syrup, 2 TB sugar, and cayenne in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan and simmer, stirring, until reduced to about a cup. Let cool. If the glaze has reduced too much and is very stiff, add some water and stir over heat to thin it out.

Smoke the chicken at 200-220 degrees. I prefer mesquite or hickory for this, I think fruit woods would have too delicate a flavor. After about 90 minutes, remove the chicken and brush all over with about half the glaze. Return to the smoker until the internal temperature in the thigh is 165 degrees. Total smoking time will probably be 3 to 4 hours depending on the temperature used and the size of the chicken.

Remove the chicken from the smoker and brush with the remaining glaze. It is now ready to serve.

Explore posts in the same categories: Grilling, Poultry

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