BBQ Chicken Done Crispy – Barbecue Tricks | Barbecue Tricks

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BBQ Chicken Done Crispy – Barbecue Tricks

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.
bite thru skin chicken

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.

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About Bill West

Bill West a BBQ enthusiast, Author, and Country Music aficionado in Charleston, SC. Get his BBQ Blueprint Book on Amazon: Follow him:

7 Responses to “BBQ Chicken Done Crispy – Barbecue Tricks”

  1. Kevin says:

    Have you tried scraping the chicken skin a la Competition Style? Might shorten the prep time a little.

  2. fredaevans says:

    I salivated just reading that; Brilliant answer to one of my ‘how the heck’ questions.


  3. Ellen Si says:

    You can actually make wings the same way. Use your sauce (or this hot one) in a slow cooker to get them super tender. Then grill for a minute right before serving (for grill marks)

  4. Jami says:

    Thought this recipe looked fantastic! Sadly, I did exactly what the instructions and video stated and this is a MAJOR failure! The chicken skin was soft and a darker color from the smoke, as well as the meat itself was rubbery. Will NOT do again.

    • admin says:

      Hmmm. i wonder what was different… I probably run a higher temperature that 225 for smoking… but the salt 4 hours in the fridge always seems to work for me…


  1. […] you’d rather start with a dry brine or spice rub – which will give you crispy barbeque chicken – you’ll want to salt the pieces of chicken that you’re using. Then – put […]

  2. […] BBQ Trick says: How to get a crispy skin on barbecue chicken or smoked turkey. Simple salt under the skin and on the skin with your best spice recipe and time – 4 hours in the refrigerator allows the chicken skin to dry and moisture still stays in the meat. A dry brine and time is the secret as outlined here and in the full tip at crispy chicken […]

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