Fresh whole chicken(s) 4-6 pounds
One gala apple per chicken
6-8 oz Apple juice (per chicken)
Hickory and Applewood chips for the smoker
An injector syringe
Dry rub (pick a simple favorite) to taste
Garlic powder to taste
Onion powder to taste
1. Clean and rinse chicken(s) inside and out. Pat dry.
2. Place the chickens on a large pan or cookie sheet and rub mayonnaise all over the inside and outside. You can use oil in place of mayonnaise if you like. The mayo really helps spices to stick to the skin. This is a great time to use disposable gloves!
3. Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with dry rub, onion powder and garlic powder, coating the bird completely.
4. Fill injector syringe with the apple juice and inject the bird(s). Inject about 6-8 oz per bird. Make sure you get plenty in and around the breast. Breast meat has a tendency to dry out faster than other portions of the chicken. Any moisture you add now will help keep the breast meat tender and juicy.
5. Slice up the gala apples and stuff the cavity with them. This is another way to add moisture and flavor to the breast meat from the inside. The apples will steam as they cook. DO NOT eat the apples afterward.
TIP: Cut a slit in the skin covering the side of the breast near the end of the leg. Place the end of the "drumstick through the slit. This keeps the legs from flopping around and makes for a nice presentation when the chicken is done.
6. Wrap the chickens with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. This allows the flavors to sink into the meat.
7. Fire up the smoker to 225-250 degrees. 250 to will help get deeper brown skin. Place a mixture of Applewood and Hickory wood chips in the wood box. Place the chicken on the middle rack, breast side down. If you are smoking more than one, stagger the chickens so they get even heat. Place a meat thermometer probe into the center of the breast. Be careful not to hit a bone as this will give you a false reading. Smoke the chickens until the temperature on the meat reaches 170-175 degrees. This normally takes 4-5 hours.
8. When the chicken is done the skin will be a deep golden brown. Immediately wrap the chicken in foil and allow to "rest". This allows the juices to absorb back into the meat and helps make it tender. After 30 minutes to an hour, unwrap and cut or pull apart the pieces. (The wings are for the chef and are a delicious way to "taste test" your results.)
TIP: Smoked chicken freezes very well when pulled from the bone. Save some for later to make a delicious chicken salad.