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.
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
- 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.
- 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)
- Add some charcoal to the barbecue and light with firelighters – the coals will need to be red hot before adding any wood chips.
- 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
- Whisk the apple juice, barbecue sauce, and melted butter in a bowl and set aside.
- 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).
- 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).
- Once cooked, remove the chicken from the barbecue and brush one last time.
- Wrap the chicken in foil and rest for 30 minutes before serving.