Butterflied, Brined then Smoked on the Weber Smokey Mountain


Chicken cooked on the Weber Smokey Mountain is a favorite of this family.  The best chicken, to date, was butterflied, brined and then smoked on the Weber Smokey Mountain.

Preparation - The night before cooking
Butterfly Remove the backbone.  I prefer poultry shears.  Cut as close to the backbone as possible.  A few snips on each side of the backbone and it's gone.

To make the chicken lay flat with the breast bone still in the chicken, use a sharp knife and nick(about 1/8 inch) the thickest end of the breast bone.  Then push down on the sides of the chicken.  The breast bone will split and the chicken will lay flat.

I like to spend a little extra time and remove the rib bones if I am prepping only one or two chickens.  Gently lift on the ends of the rib bones that were attached to the backbone.  Cut, with a sharp knife, between the rib bones and the chicken.  Then a slight push on the knife where the rib bones meets the breast bone is needed to separate the rib bones from the breast bone.
Brine I soaked the chicken overnight in The Fat Man's brine recipe.  Click here for brine recipes.

Chicken Pics
Pic #1
Pic #1
Pic #2
Pic #2
Pic #3
Pic #3
Pic #1: A light coat of Wild Willy rub on both sides about 20 minutes before the chicken went on the WSM.
Pic #2: Chicken goes on the WSM.
Pic #3: After a couple of hours cooking.
Pic #4
Pic #4
Pic #5
Pic #5
Pic #6
Pic #6
Pic #4: Chicken is done.
Pic #5: Close up pic of the chicken.
Pic #6: The leftovers.  Hmm, not nearly enough to make some chicken stock.

Smoking Record
Time TG Lid Vent Comment
TG=Top Grate temp.  Lid=Lid temp.  Vent is the setting of each bottom vent.
The top vent is always open 100%.
9:00 AM 280* 33% Chicken goes on top grate.
9:22 AM 253* 271* 33% Temperature check.
10:00 AM 264* 278* 33% Temperature check.
11:00 AM 264* 296* 33% Temperature check.
11:30 AM 267* 297* 33% Add water.  Add 4 small pieces of hickory.
12:00 PM 258* 287* 33% Temperature drops slightly after adding water.
12:34 PM 264* 289* 33% Temperature check.
12:45 PM Mopped chicken with 50/50 Succor mop and peanut oil mix.
1:15 PM 262* 273* 33% Temperature check.  Stir coals.  Temperature is dropping.  Looks like some additional coals will be needed so I start 3/4 chimney of charcoal.
2:00 PM 253* 267* 33% Temperature check.
2:45 PM 250* 263* 33% Added 3/4 chimney of lit coals and chunk of oak.
3:45 PM 33% Chicken comes off.  Internal temp of 190*.  This is a higher internal temperature than I wanted but the chicken was not dried out.

Observations Suggestions Comments
Yes or No?
Is butterflying the chicken worth the effort?  Does a butterflied chicken result in a better chicken?

At this time, I believe that a butterflied chicken is better.  I have smoked non-butterflied, brined chickens and those chickens have been good.  I think a butterflied chicken will have more smoke flavor and cooks more evenly between the breast meat and the thigh meat.

The down side of a butterflied chicken is that a decent sized chicken will use almost the entire cooking rack in the WSM whereas you can put two or three non-butterflied chickens per rack of the WSM.  Also, the additional steps to butterfly a chicken require about 3 more minutes of preparation time.

Skin The first thing I noticed about a finished smoked chicken is that the skin is not the crispy golden brown skin achieved when baked in an oven.  My personal experience is that the chicken skin is soft in some places and almost crispy in others.  Some have described their experience anywhere from rubbery to leathery.

It is not a big deal for me but some people really want a crispy skin so here are some simple suggestions that others have mentioned.  I haven't tried any of the following suggestions yet so I can't guarantee the effectiveness but the suggestions seem reasonable.
Higher Temp Cook at a higher temp,  around 300 to 325 degrees.
Peanut Oil Rub with peanut oil prior to smoking.
Oven Finish the chicken in the oven until crispy.  How long in the oven and what temperature?  I don't know since I haven't tried this suggestion.

Top of Page Home