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Monday, July 31, 2017

Smoked Chicken Salad

Katherine Frey/The Washington Post


This is really the best way to smoke a chicken: Cover it with rub, stick it on the grill and don’t look at it for an hour. No need even to truss it. Letting the legs and wings splay out allows them to crisp up and creates a cavity between the legs and breast where juices heat and help cook the dark meat at the same rate of speed as the white meat. Not coating the bird with oil helps the skin get dark and crisp.

For maximum flavor, you can coat the chicken with rub, place it in a resealable plastic food storage bag and refrigerate it for several hours (or even overnight). This is akin to brining. Allow the bird to come to room temperature for a couple of hours before roasting.

The recipe yields 3 to 4 cups of smoked chicken broth, which is great in sauces or soups.

You'll need 4 wood chunks (each about 3 inches by 2 inches), such as oak or hickory, and a remote probe thermometer.

Serve atop sliced tomatoes or as the filling for avocado halves; garnish each with chives or parsley.

Make Ahead: The smoked chicken broth can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. The salad can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.


Yield: Makes about 5 cups


One 3 1/2-to-4-pound whole chicken, reserving the neck, heart, gizzard and liver
1/4 cup homemade or store-bought barbecue rub
1 medium yellow onion, cut in half
1 large rib celery, cut crosswise in half
1 medium carrot, trimmed and cut crosswise in half
1 large bay leaf
1/2 small bunch thyme
1 quart water, or as needed
4 whole scallions, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 large rib celery (root ends trimmed), finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup regular or low-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup regular or low-fat sour cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

New Orleans-Style Barbecue Shrimp


For the chicken and drip-pan broth: Remove the chicken from its packaging, setting aside the parts bundled inside. Rinse the bird all over, including inside the cavity, and blot it dry with paper towels. Place the bird on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Coat the bird all over with rub, making sure to get under the wings.

Prepare the drip pan that will go under the chicken while it smokes. Place the chicken’s neck, gizzard, liver and heart in the pan with the onion, celery, carrot, bay leaf and thyme. Cover with the water.

Prepare the grill for indirect grilling: If using charcoal, light the charcoal in a chimney starter and let the briquettes burn until flames subside and a light layer of ash covers the briquettes (20 to 25 minutes). Dump the lighted coals into 2 mounds (or, preferably, into two half-moon-shaped briquette baskets) on opposite sides of the grill. Place the prepared drip pan between the piles of coals.

(If using gas, with a two-burner grill, set one burner to medium-low and leave the other unlit; with three or more burners, set the outside or front and rear burners to medium-low and leave the center burners unlit.)

Place two chunks of oak or hickory wood on each pile of coals, or use wood chips in a smoker box for a gas grill.

Place the hinged grate on the grill. Place the chicken over the drip pan, parallel to and in between the coal baskets. Let the wings and legs splay open. Insert the probe of a remote thermometer into the thickest part of a thigh, making sure that the probe does not touch a bone. Set the thermometer to 165 degrees according to the manufacturer's directions.

Cover the grill (top and bottom vents open) and cook the chicken for an hour or until the thermometer reaches 165 degrees. (The temperature inside the grill should remain between 300 and 350 degrees.)

Transfer the chicken to a platter to cool completely, first allowing any juices accumulated in the cavity fall into the drip pan below. Cover loosely.

Strain the contents of the drip pan into a bowl; discard the solids. Refrigerate or freeze the broth for future use; the yield is 3 to 4 cups. (The fat will rise to the top and congeal once refrigerated. Discard or save it for future use as well. It’s terrific for sauteing vegetables.)

Discard the skin from the chicken. Pull all the meat off the bones, being careful to discard any cartilage, sinew, veins or other unpalatable parts. It is useful to keep kitchen scissors on hand so that you can cut the dark meat into bite-size chunks as you go; this will save you from having to go back and do it later. The white meat shreds easily into bite-size pieces using your hands, but feel free to use the scissors if you prefer neat cubes. You will have about 4 cups of chicken; place it in a mixing bowl.

For the salad: Add the scallions, celery, mayonnaise, sour cream, salt and pepper to the chicken and mix well. Cover and refrigerate the salad for several hours or overnight, allowing its flavors to meld.


From The Process columnist David Hagedorn.

Tested by David Hagedorn.

Nutritional Facts
Calories per serving (based on 8, using low-fat mayonnaise and sour cream): 190
% Daily Values*
Total Fat: 11g 17%
Saturated Fat: 3g 15%
Cholesterol: 60mg 20%
Sodium: 290mg 12%
Total Carbohydrates: 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%
Sugar: 2g
Protein: 18g

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