Crispy skin on BBQ chicken can be a tricky thing. The slow roasted fat-rendering is just not something our fast paced world takes care to do. Plus if you’re attempting to slowly smoke poultry a lot of times you can end up with a rubbery skin. Some competition guys will remove, chill and shave the skins for chicken thighs… that’s a lot of work. Here’s a different method. I think it retains more fatty flavor too.
Salt The Chicken Under the Skin
It’s a trick to control the barbecue chicken. It’s easy but takes a bit of time. Four hours prep time to be exact.
The secret is in salting the pieces (you can spice the salt a bit see recipe below).
I call it a dry brine. Rub your spice blend into the meat UNDER the skin and lightly on the skin surface on all sides. Thenplace the pieces on a pan uncovered in the refrigerator to dry fro four hours. You can experiment with the time if you want but it has worked repeatedly for me with different sized pieces.
After four hours remove and if ther is any moisture on the pieces of chicken blot with towel (I did not see any when I did the video).
I used a water pan smoker (Brinkmann Gourmet Charcoal) and cooked low (about 270 degrees) for about an hour with pecan wood smoke (wood chips). The result was a golden brown crispy skin that is tought to find without a rotisserie.
Crispy Skin BBQ Chicken
Internal temp was over 160 so after a quick slather of a sweet sauce I lowered the grate (use the bottom of the smoker without the middle piece or fire up your grill to HIGH) and seared the pieces over a direct high heat. Pay attention here this process is quick and flame ups happen quickly.
Be prepared to remove from the grill at any point.
The result was a crispy – bite through – succulent batch of bbq chicken. See the result in the video and “thumb it up” and subscribe if you like.
Crispy BBQ Chicken
1 whole cut-up chicken
Pecan wood chips for grilling
Dry Brine Ingredients:
2 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
Lip-smacking Homemade BBQ Sauce Ingredients:
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, minced
1 Chipotle pepper, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
5 Tbsp dark molasses
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp hot sauce
Mix 2 tsp salt and 2 tsp garlic powder together and spread on outside of each piece of chicken as well as underneath the skin. Place in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. This brining technique will produce a crispier skin while preserving moisture in the chicken during grilling. Put the chicken on indirect heat in a charcoal smoker and cook low and slow for about one hour, adding wood chips as necessary for flavor. I use pecan wood. While that is cooking, make the sauce. Heat oil in a deep sauce pan and add garlic and onions until they soften. Add Chipotle pepper and heat for 20 seconds before stirring in the remaining ingredients. Cook on low heat for 20 minutes until thickened. When cool, strain out onion and garlic “chunks” if desired. After smoking for about an hour, move chicken to direct heat, cover generously on both sides with barbecue sauce. Cook for about 10-15 minutes turning constantly to char, basting with more sauce. Be careful as the sugar will burn, so move pieces as flare-ups occur. Serve with additional heated barbecue sauce on the side.
Bill West a BBQ enthusiast and Country Music aficionado in Charleston, SC.
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