I grew up eating citrus chicken made with oven-baked chicken pieces. Drenched with smears and globs of orange marmalade sauce, I thought it was the best chicken in the world.
Until…I tried it with smoked chicken! MMMmmm! The smoke and the citrus sauce compliment each other very well. Baking chicken in the oven is less work than pulling out the old smokestack. But once you've tried citrus sauce on smoked chicken, I think you'll agree it's worth the extra effort.
Smokey Citrus Chicken
chicken breasts or thighs
kosher salt *
Heinz 57 sauce
* Kosher salt brands vary in density. One cup of table or canning salt weighs 10 ounces. One cup of kosher salt weighs from 5 to 8 ounces. If you don't have kosher salt on hand, use 1/2 cup of canning or pickling salt. As a last resort, use 1/2 cup of non-iodized table salt. ( see About Salt )
Combine the water, orange juice, salt, and white pepper, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Cool the brine to 40 degrees before adding the chicken pieces. Soak the chicken in this citrus brine for two hours, in the fridge.
To make the sauce, combine the marmalade, juices, honey, Heinz 57, salt, and black pepper at least an hour ahead of time. As an option, you can add some heat to the mix...cayenne pepper powder or red pepper flakes to taste will warm it well.
Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse, drain, and dry with paper towels. Brush the chicken pieces with oil, season with pepper, and put in a 225F smoker. Apple wood is a good choice for smoke here. Plan on smoking the chicken for 2 to 4 hours at this temperature.
After two hours, check the internal temperature of the chicken. Remove thighs when they're at 175 degrees F, and breasts at 165F. Cover them and let them rest for twenty minutes.
If you prefer chicken with crispy skin, run your smoker a little hotter, between 275-300 degrees. The chicken will be done within a couple of hours at this temperature. Check often, moving the pieces around as needed to prevent burning or overcooking.
Plate the smoked chicken onto a platter, and drizzle on half of the citrus sauce. Serve the chicken, with the remaining sauce for dipping. Smokey citrus chicken is a bird I'm sure you'll enjoy.
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Smokey Citrus Chicken