The World’s Best Barbecue Chicken Recipe!

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Barbecue ChickenLipsmackin' Barbecue Chicken

This barbecue chicken recipe is for cooking whole birds. In barbecue competitions, thighs are the standard, and that is what you should present. But at your house, with your friends and family over, this is what you want to serve. There are many reasons for this.

  • People love chicken, especially with a little smoke and spice on them.
  • There is white meat and dark meat to satisfy your guests tastes.
  • The chickens stew in their own juices while cooking, which gives you moist tender meat and big smiles.
  • Whole chickens give you more barbecue per square inch on your smoker than pieces, which means more delicious barbecue chicken goodness for your guests!
  • Whole chickens cost less per pound, but more importantly, they just plain taste better when cooked this way.

Designed To Be Smoked!

Making fantastic barbecue chicken is not that hard, to be honest with you. But I’m talking about real barbecue chicken, not that dry, burnt stuff some people try to give you. I’m talking smoky, spicy, juicy and tender barbecue chicken!

You only get that one way; low and slow, not hot and fast.

Hot steamy barbecue chickenHot Steamy Barbecue Chicken

You see…although chickens aren’t your typical barbecue meat, meaning tough and fatty, they do cook wonderfully on your smoker. That’s because of the design of the chicken;

  • The fat is between the muscles, so the meat bastes in its own juices while cooking.
  • Most chickens are quite young when made available for market which makes them very tender.
  • Because of the tenderness of the meat, cooking time is far less, compared to other “barbecue meats”.
  • Unlike most of the other meats you put on your smoker, chickens have a skin around them. That skin adds a tremendous amount of flavor and keeps all that juicy goodness inside!

The Method to the Madness

The next reason real barbecue chicken is so delicious is because of the method; low and slow. This gives your barbecue chicken masterpiece time to baste slowly and become a culinary delight that melts in your mouth.

No dry, burnt chicken here. Or worse; barbecue chicken that is burned on the outside but raw in the middle!

Real barbecue methods help you avoid these rookie mistakes.

Another technique you should use is to brine your chicken; this helps the chicken hold onto moisture so the meat stays nice and juicy. The brine also helps to season the bird.

Now add a little smoke and spice and you have a match made in heaven!

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Barbecue Chicken Recipe

Recipe notes: If you are rubbing the chickens 1 hour before cooking, make sure the rub has formed a “paste” on your chickens before cooking. The rub should not be dry when you put your meat on the barbecue. You want to keep the smoker hot, around 275°F - 300°F. This gives you better "bite through" on the skin.

Hickory, apple and cherry wood work well with barbecue chicken recipes. 

It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Yet the results are amazing!

  1. Mix the salt and sugar with 4 quarts of cold water in a container large enough to hold the birds, yet small enough to fit into your refrigerator. A large stockpot or small ice chest works well.  Stir until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved.
  2. Remove the neck and giblets from your birds and immerse them completely in the brine. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Remove the birds from the brine and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Rub the chickens with the barbecue chicken rub inside and out at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours before cooking.
  5. Prepare your pit for cooking, bringing the temperature between 275°F-300°F.
  6. Cook for about 1 hour per pound or until the internal temperature is 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh.
  7. Baste the birds with the sauce during the last hour of cooking if desired.
  8. When the chickens are done, remove them from your smoker and let rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.
  9. Serve hot with any remaining sauce on the side.
Barbecue Chicken With SauceSaucy Barbecue Chicken

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