If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
do you think
the ghosts will do it after?
Hiding in the basement of our old home we purchased a few years ago was a dusty old smoker. We pulled it out this summer and have been smoking everything imaginable, just for fun – yogurt, butter, cheese, fish, meat. This recipe for simple smoked chicken has become one of our favorites around here because of its ability to elevate many other dishes, turning ordinary into extraordinary. Succulent, tender and moist, the chicken is just lightly smoked, then finished on the grill. If you don’t own a smoker, you can also smoke chicken on your stove-top in a wok! It’s suprisingly easy! (Make sure to see recipe notes).
Tuck the succulent smoked chicken into these delicious enchiladas or lasagnas, toss into summer pasta salad with fresh corn and basil, or slip into quesadillas or tortillas for the most delicious tacos ever, add to grilled pizzas or simple serve on its own along side an heirloom tomato salad. The possibilities are truly endless, and I hope you use this as a jumping off point for your own recipes. The smoked chicken can made in big batches and frozen.
Use boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat which will help ensure your chicken stays moist. Breast meat will dry out easily and is less forgiving. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken, or feel free to use a spice rub.
If using an electric smoker, simple plug it in, and smoke on low heat using apple wood, mesquite or any flavor of wood you like. If smoking in a BBQ type smoker, smoke the chicken on very very low heat, before grilling. We usually smoke the chicken in the electric smoker for 45 – 60 minutes, before finishing it off on the grill. Obviously the longer you smoke it, the more intense the flavor.
I really like the electric smoker because of its low heat. It allows a lot of control in the cooking process.
But if you don’t have a smoker, not to worry. This stove top method works just as easy. Place dry, unsoaked wood chips in the bottom of a wok. You could line the bottom of your wok with foil if you wish.
Place a steamer basket inside the wok. Lay chicken on top, and tightly cover in foil, using a couple peices.
Turn heat to medium high or high heat until you begin to see or smell smoke. This may take a few minutes. Once it is evident that the wood chips are smoking, turn heat down to medium low. Continue smoking —— minutes.
Check for done-ness. If chicken needs to cook further, just place in a warm oven for a few minutes.
It’s better to err on the side of underdone, vs. overdone. Over-smoking the chicken in the wok will produce a tough rubbery thigh. If in doubt, try a tester piece first.
If cooked to perfection in a wok, the chicken will turn out moist, tender and slightly caramelized.
If smoking in an electric smoker, the chicken will still be quite raw. Place on a grill set to medium high, for few minutes, then turn heat down medium low, until just cooked through, ( 165F) careful not to over cook.
A very simple recipe for Smoked Chicken Thighs- great in pasta, salads, pizza, tacos or enchiladas. Can be made ahead and frozen.
- Pat dry chicken. Lightly salt and pepper both sides ( or use a spice rub)
- If using a electric smoker, plug it in, add the chips and smoke about 45 minutes to 1 hour, adding more wood chips if necessary. Finish on a hot grill or in the oven until cooked through ( 165 F internal temp) being careful not to overcook .
- Let chicken rest, and slice it, adding it to pasta, pizza, salad, soup, tacos, enchiladas, or refrigerate or freeze for future use.
- For a subtler, less smoky version, smoke for only 15-25 minutes and finish off in the oven or on the grill.
This is a basic recipe, just to introduce you to the idea of smoking chicken. Use this recipe as a jumping off point for your own creations.
TO SMOKE IN A WOK : place ¼ Cup wood chips in a small mound on a piece of foil, in the middle of a wok. Place a steamer basket over the chips. Lay the seasoned chicken in a single layer in the steamer basket. ( see photos) Cover the wok tightly with a couple layers of foil. Place the foiled wok over medium high heat (or high) on the stove top with the fan or hood on. Let it heat up until you smell or see wisps smoke, about 4 minutes. Let it smoke for a good minute. Then turn heat down to medium low or low, and let it smoke 20 minutes. Remove foil outdoors. Using a thermometer check chicken for done-ness ( 165F internal temp) and place in a warm oven or grill, to cook through. Don’t overcook.