Sometimes I do not, in fact, do all of the cooking around here. Occasionally, when he is blessed with the time and inclination, my husband will tackle a dish, and I could not be more pleased to watch him do so. Because that is what I do: I watch. Or, if I am feeling unencumbered in other areas of my life and I don’t need to catch up on work or mundane house-related tasks, I sit and read. What I don’t do is intervene. My husband is not a frequent cook, but he is an enthusiastic one, and I would never want to rob him of that quality. If I hovered around him and poked at things while he toiled away in semi-unfamiliar territory, I am sure that the only thing I would accomplish would be the act of making him super nervous and more than a little annoyed. If he has a question for me I answer it, but that’s about the extent of my involvement.
It only seems fitting, then, that the story of this recipe be told purely in pictures. I had a great time snapping process shots of this dish, in no small part because I was not the one making the dish, so I never had to stop what I was doing, rinse off my hands, position the camera, take a shot, and then go back to cooking. I just did what I always do when I am not the person cooking: I watched. And when the chicken was done, I did my most favorite thing of all: I ate the meal and I enjoyed it immensely. With the smoky flavor of the tender, herb-scented chicken, lightly glazed with a garlicky and sweet sauce, it was certainly the easiest part of the entire process.
Last Year: No Bake Fresh Peach Pie
Smoked Spatchcocked Chicken Recipe
Adapted only slightly from BBQ25 by Adam Perry Lang
Two 3 ½-4 pound chickens, spatchcocked (butterflied), thighs and legs slashed. To spatchcock a whole chicken, cut out both the entire backbone and the breastbone, then splay the chicken out flat and trim off any excess fat and tissue. Here is a good video tutorial on how to do so, though for this recipe you won’t need to cut the entire chicken in half as is done at the end of the video.
Ingredients for Brine:
¼ cup sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
10 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried
6 cups cold water
2 tablespoons canola oil or vegetable oil
Ingredients for Baste/Glaze
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, crushed
juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon water
2 cups of wood chips, soaked in cold water for 1 hour, then drained. We used apple wood chips, but alder wood or another mild wood would also work well.
Combine all the brine ingredients in a large bowl or a large sealable plastic bag. Mix and crush the ingredients with your hands, directly or through the bag, squeezing them to release the maximum flavor. Transfer half the brine to another bowl or bag.
Put the chickens in the brine, transfer to the refrigerator, and brine for at least 3 hours, and up to 24 hours.
Smoking the Chickens:
Set up your grill for indirect grilling. If you have a two burner gas grill, this will mean setting one burner on medium high heat and leaving the other burner off. If you have a three burner gas grill, it will mean setting the two outermost burners on medium high heat and leaving the middle burner off. If you have a charcoal grill, you will be raking your hot coals into two piles on opposite sides of the grill, leaving an empty space in between. After preparing whichever grill you have, place a drip pan under the grates in the portion of the grill that is not lit or covered with hot coals. The temperature should be around 300 degrees.
Drain the chickens and dry with paper towels. Lightly rub the chickens all over with the canola oil.
Toss the pre-soaked wood chips onto hot coals (if using a charcoal grill), or, if using a gas grill, place wood chips in a smoker box made specifically for gas grills (such as this one), or wrap your wood chips in a tight pouch of aluminum foil with holes punched in the top (as demonstrated here), then place the box or pouch of wood chips under the grill grate, directly on top of a burner.
Put the chickens skin side up on the well-oiled preheated grill and cook, covered, for 45 minutes.
While the chicken cooks, combine all the baste/glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
Baste the chickens and continue to cook, covered, basting every 15 minutes, for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is done: the juices should run clear when a thigh is pierced, and the thickest part of the thigh should register 165 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer.
Transfer the chickens to a cutting board, skin side up, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting each chicken into 6 pieces (from each chicken there will be 2 breasts, 2 thighs, and two drumsticks).