Sweet Georgia’s Brown Smoked Chicken Recipe, Parts Or Pulled
Reach new levels of poultry nirvana with our “go to” recipe for slow smoked chicken!
Smoked chicken is like liver. You either love it or hate it. In the South, you can start a fight by voicing a preference for either smoked chicken or fried chicken. For me, it’s all about the skin. Fried chicken is worthless unless it crunches. Smoked chicken, Georgia style, is big, bold, and assertive, but the skin, although it is packed with flavor, is not crispy. The only way to tell which side of the chicken wire fence you’re on is to try it. Fortunately, it’s easy to make. This method will produce a delicate, moist bird if you don’t overcook it, so there is no need to even consider brining it.
Smoked chicken, Georgia style, is big, bold, and assertive, but the skin, although it is packed with flavor, is not crispy.
Serve with: your favorite IPA or white wine.
Servings: 4 servings
About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works. For this recipe, you want to use 1/2 teaspoon Morton coarse kosher salt per pound of meat.
Crisp the skin (optional). When you're done smoking, but the meat is slightly undercooked, say 150°F, move it to the direct heat side of a hot grill, skin side down. Or put it under your kitchen broiler skin side up. That should do it. Take it up to 160°F.
Make pulled chicken (optional). When the meat is done, you can pull the meat off the bones and rip it to shreds, plop it on a bun, and crown it with a dollop of sauce. Voila: Pulled Chicken! Or when the bird is raw, remove the skin. Smoke it alongside the meat. It will get crisp, like cracklins. Then pull the meat off the bone, put it on a bun, just a little sauce, sprinkle the crackins on top, and serve.
Prep. An hour or three before cooking, split the chicken in half by cutting it with heavy shears. Dig out all that brown goop nestled along the spine (kidneys). In fact, I usually just remove the spine, rinse out the kidneys, toss the spine in a bag, and save it for making stock.
Sprinkle the chicken with salt. This is called dry brining. The salt migrates into the meat, and helps season it and hold onto moisture. Wet the chicken and dust both sides thoroughly with the spice mix but remember, spices don't penetrate far (I discuss this in my article on marinades). Fire up. Preheat your smoker to 325°F. If you are using a grill, set it up for 2-zone or indirect cooking. At 325°F, you can render more fat and crisp the skin a bit.
Cook. Put the meat in the smoker or on the indirect side of the grill. Add less wood than you normally do. Resist the urge to add more. After you've tasted it you can decide if you want to use more wood next cook. But chicken doesn't need much smoke. Cook for about 1.5 to 2 hours or until the temperature in the thickest part of the meat without touching bone is 165°F.
Serve. Remove the chicken from the smoker or grill and serve as whole parts, chopped, or pulled.
Published On: 12/19/2015
Last Modified: 3/26/2021
Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.