Apple Barbecue Sauce-Basted Smoked Chicken Recipe

Lashings of glossy, sticky, sweet apple barbecue sauce sets this smoked chicken apart.

Chef’s Note: This recipe will need to be started the day before serving. You will need a barbecue with a lid or a smoker for this recipe.
Servings: 4
Total: 24 hours

Ingredients – brine

  • 3 tablespoons cooking salt
  • 3 tablespoons garlic salt (I skipped this and used 5 fresh garlic cloves)

Ingredients – chicken, rub and sauce

  • 1 (1.4 kilogram) chicken, spatchcocked (I left mine whole and cooked it on a vertical stand)
  • 1 bag natural charcoal
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (this is too much, 1 tsp. is plenty as the chicken has been brined. Salt-sensitive might leave it out of the rub completely)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) apple juice (substitute apple sauce otherwise WAY too runny and unuseful)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) barbecue sauce
  • 100 grams unsalted butter, melted (skipped completely, this is insane to add IMO)
  • 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs.) wood chips or chunks (apple wood, ironbark or hickory), soaked in water for 1 hour


  1. In a large saucepan, combine the cooking salt and garlic salt with 4 liters of water and bring to the boil. Dissolve the salts, then remove from heat and cool completely before adding the chicken to the brine. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, remove the chicken from the brine, pat dry and refrigerate, uncovered, for 2 to 3 hours to dry the skin. (In my opinion this is unnecessary especially for a BBQ’d bird as the sauce wipes out all crispiness)
  3. Add some charcoal to the barbecue and light with firelighters – the coals will need to be red hot before adding any wood chips.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the paprika, pepper, and kosher salt in a small bowl. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and generously season with the paprika mix. Set aside for 30 minutes while the charcoal comes up to
  5. Whisk the apple juice, barbecue sauce, and melted butter in a bowl and set aside.
  6. Add a handful of wood chips to the hot coals. Place the chicken in the barbecue or smoker and cover with the lid. Keep adding charcoal and wood chips as needed – but don’t open the lid unnecessarily – to maintain the smoke and a temperature of about 155°C (311° Fahrenheit).
  7. Brush the apple barbecue sauce on the chicken after 1 hour, and again after 1-1/2 hours. By this stage, the chicken should be almost ready – if you have a probe thermometer, you’re looking for an internal temperature of 75°C (165° Fahrenheit).
  8. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the barbecue and brush one last time.
  9. Wrap the chicken in foil and rest for 30 minutes before serving.