Don't have a lot of time for cooking? Then one of these smoked chicken recipes would be a good way to go. Chicken can be smoked in less time than many other meats and it goes well with many types of seasonings, from basic and simple to bold and spicy. No wonder chicken is so popular!
There so many options when buying chicken it can be difficult to choose. Boneless, skinless, free-range, organic, industrially raised, breasts, thighs, drumsticks, leg quarters, or whole chickens - each requires a little different technique, but all can taste great.
If you want to save a few bucks, whole fryers and baking hens are often the least expensive way to buy chicken. They can be seasoned and smoked whole or separated into the individual parts with a sharp knife and the right technique.
Preferred by many, the white breast meat is lower in both fat and calories than the dark meat. For more flavor and moistness it helps to baste the chicken a couple times as it's cooking, especially when smoking boneless, skinless breasts. Oil added to the basting liquid gives the chicken a nice sheen.
Whole bone-in breasts will have a richer flavor, plus the rib bones and skin will help prevent the meat from drying.
Chicken thighs and legs are more forgiving and can be cooked to a higher temperature without becoming dry. All chicken parts are safely cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, but I prefer the flavor and texture of dark meat when it's cooked to 175 degrees.
It's helpful to brine chicken before it's cooked. Beside adding flavor, brining causes changes to the meat fibers that help hold in the moisture. And a good rub seasoning on the chicken is always a good idea.