Spatchcocked Chicken on the Smoker
If you’re like me, first of all, “Welcome”, and secondly, you can’t hold back a little smile when you hear the term Spatchcocked. But Spatchcocking, (pardon the grin), is nothing to laugh at,and along with being very easy, it can make a meal look visually appealing and appetizing. Spatchcocking, is just the means of cutting along the backbone of the bird, all the way down to the last part that gets over the fence, removing it, then gently “folding” the chicken outward so that it sits flat, with the breast side up and the surface area allowing maximum exposure.
Sometimes you may have seen this technique used when chefs describe cooking/baking a chicken under a brick, or some other sort of press. This allows the chicken to cook more evenly on the grill. I’ll be cooking this one on the smoker, but you can also use this method while direct grilling, When direct grilling, the wings are generally tucked under to prevent burning. While I’m smoking this bird, I’m going to also smoke a couple of big turkey wings, because of no other reason than I spotted them at the store and thought it would be a little different, and I had the room on the grill anyway.
Before going on the grill, I like to brine all of my poultry……………..
Brining is simply soaking the poultry in a salt water solution for at least an hour or so before actually seasoning it. Let the poultry take a salt bath for a while, adding in anything you wish. I used a simple salt and peppercorn brine here, boiling the water first, adding the salt and peppercorns, stirring until the salt is dissolved, then dumping in enough ice to cool the solution off before the chicken and turkey are added.
After a couple of hours, the bird is taken out of the brine, drained and patted dry with paper towels. We wanted the chicken to have a citrus, or lemon pepper seasoning, so in addition to a standard lemon pepper mixture, I added other citrus rub, (think orange peel), and some freshly ground cayenne pepper, seeds and all. Then I tucked thin lemon slices under the skin of the bird around the breasts and thighs. The turkey wings were rubbed only with Colonel Stan’s Rub, available at Kenrick’s Meat Market.
Then, on to the smoker…………
And that’s all there is to it, no need to stand over it, flip it or keep looking at it. In fact, as with any smokers, it’s better to not “peek”. And on this particular night, with the wind chill down in the teens, and snow flurries blowing, it was hard enough to keep the temperature up without letting the heat escape purely for my own voyeuristic tendencies. In fact, I had to find a way to keep my mind off of the bird as well as the cold……………
This type of rack should normally take about 2 and 1/2 hours or so, but with our extreme weather, and no certain way to build a windblock, I was going on almost 4 hours, and the chicken could’ve gone a little longer.
The finished product looks and smells terrific.
So if you’re looking to smoke a chicken, and give a little more classy look to it, go ahead and try spatchcocking that bird, :), and for another twist, shred the leftovers, toast up an english muffin, drizzle on your favorite barbecue sauce, add a couple sliced pickles, and have a luxurious smoked chicken sandwich on a toasted english muffin.
Delicious……………. because Life Is Better Wood Fired!