Pecan wood adds a nutty flavor to foods and works well with poultry. Its flavor can be strong, so it's best with a relatively short smoking time, as called for here.
Servings: 2 - 4
- 12 ounces beer in a can
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- One whole 3 1/2 to 4-pound chicken, giblet packet removed
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
You'll need 2 cups of pecan chips.
Pour half of the beer (3/4 cup) over the wood chips in a bowl. Soak for 1 hour, then drain the beer from the bowl. If you are using a gas grill, place the chips in a smoker box or wrap in an aluminum foil packet with a few holes poked in it for smoke to escape. Use a bottle opener to make 2 holes in the top of the beer can.
Combine the salt, sage, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, white pepper, black pepper and cayenne in a small bowl.
Use paper towels to pat the chicken dry.
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture inside the chicken’s body cavity and 1/2 teaspoon inside the neck cavity. Drizzle the oil over the outside of the bird, and rub or brush it all over the skin. Sprinkle the outside of the bird with 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture, and rub it all over the skin. Spoon the remaining spice mixture into the beer through a hole in the top of the can. It might foam up; that is okay.
Lower the bird onto the beer can so the can fits into the body cavity. Pull the chicken legs forward so the bird stands upright. Tuck the tips of the wings behind the chicken's back.
Prepare the grill for direct heat. Place a drip pan at the center of where the heat source will be. If using a charcoal grill, light the coals. When they are white-hot, dump half of the coals on one side of the drip pan and half on the other side. Preheat to medium (350 degrees), waiting for about 10 minutes or until you can hold your hand about 3 inches above the grill grate for 6 or 7 seconds without snatching away it away from the heat. If using a gas grill, place the packet of wood chips in the smoker box or between the grate and briquettes. Preheat on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium (350 degrees).
When ready to cook, if using a charcoal grill, toss the drained pecan wood chips on the coals. Stand the chicken up in the center of the hot grate, over the drip pan and away from the heat. Close the lid and cook for about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, until the chicken skin is a dark golden brown and very crisp and the meat is cooked through (registering about 180 degrees on an instant-read meat thermometer when inserted in the thickest part of a thigh, not touching the bone). If using a charcoal grill, add 12 fresh briquettes to each side of the drip pan after 1 hour. If the chicken skin starts to brown too much, loosely tent the bird with foil.
Use tongs to hold the bird by the can and carefully transfer to sit upright on a platter, keeping the can in place. Let stand for 5 minutes, then carefully remove and discard the can, including its contents. Discard the contents of the drip pan.
Cut the bird in half or into quarters and serve.
Based on a recipe in Steven Raichlen's "The Barbecue! Bible" (Workman, 1998).
Tested by Jim Shahin.
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