Last weekend and today, I scraped paint. Dangling from a 12' ladder (I know, pretty low, but I was practically frozen with fear), somehow I managed to save my emergency room $50 copay and stayed healthy. While scraping, I had my Weber working diligently for me while I cooked for the week.
I started with a dirt cheap chicken from Aldi. It was pretty frozen, even after a day in the fridge, it was still rock hard frozen. While I don't often brine anything with a bone in it, I took Andrew's advice and used a brine to both keep it moist and thaw it out. About 12 hours in the fridge, sitting in a brine (4T salt + 4T brown sugar/quart of water) thawed it out perfectly. I removed the bird, dabbed it dry, coated it with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and stuffed the cavity with herbs (rosemary, thyme, basil) and tossed it on the grill.
For this smoke session, I used some no name lump I bought at Weiland's mixed with pieces of hickory. A small pile of fuel (ca. 20 pieces and replenished with about 10 pieces after a couple hours or so) went for about 4-5 hours at a steady 300-deg-F. Unfortunately, I was pretty absorbed scraping and let the chicken go about 3 hours. I suspect it only needed about 2. Brine to the rescue! This is after the smoking.
I wrapped the bird (cooked last Sunday) and tossed it in the fridge. We didn't get to it until Wednesday. And, wow, was it nice. Light smoke flavor, moist and fell off the few bones holding it together. Nearly pulled chicken. We usually use a chicken for a regular dinner with roasted potatoes and veggies and the rest of the meat gets vacuum packed for a smoked chicken salad later. Both meals are amazing. Chicken is one of the easiest and best 'q preps. Nearly impossible to screw up, good yield, only takes a couple hours indirect (depending on your temp). We never get tired of this staple. I might reconsider brining even bone in chicken and pork. Got a mean looking picnic ready to go in my freezer.
Upcoming? Jim @ CMH Gourmand will be interviewing me for a podcast on his site. [Dave @ davesbeer.com for book deals. ]