This marinated chicken is easy to prepare and only takes about 1 hour to cook.
Unlike the Basic Barbecue Chicken recipe in which you don't pay any attention to cooker temperature, this time you'll make a vent adjustment part way through the cooking process to become familiar with how vent settings affect the cooker's temperature.
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Choose The Smoke Wood
Each smoke wood chunk should be small, for example 3" x 2" x 2" or similar.
Use three chunks of oak, apple, cherry, or other mild fruit wood. As an alternative, you can use two chunks of any of these and one chunk of hickory.
If fruit wood is not available, use only two chunks of hickory, but be aware that some people find it overpowering when used alone.
Do not use mesquite for this recipe.
There is no need to soak the wood or remove the bark before use.
Learn More Later: All About Smoke Woods
Prepare The Chicken
Remove the backbone from each chicken and split into two halves:
Place two chicken halves into a 1-gallon Ziploc bag and add 1/2 bottle of Italian dressing. Repeat with the other two chicken halves. If you have a 2-gallon Ziploc bag, all the chicken and Italian dressing can go into a single bag.
Squeeze excess air from the bag, seal, and marinate in the refrigerator for 6 hours, turning twice.
Remove chicken from the marinade, pat dry with paper towels, and season on both sides with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Fire The Cooker
Light a full Weber chimney starter of Kingsford charcoal briquettes:
Spread the hot coals evenly over the charcoal grate (Photo 7).
Measure another 1/2 chimney of unlit briquettes and spread them evenly over the hot coals (Photo 8).
When all the briquettes are covered with gray ash, place the smoke wood chunks on top of the coals (Photo 9).
Now assemble the cooker:
You're now ready to cook!
Barbecue The Chicken
Arrange the chicken skin-side up on the grate and put the lid in place.
Start with the lid vent 100% open and the 3 bottom vents 100% open.
Monitor the temperature readings throughout the cooking session*.
Cook the chicken for 45 minutes. No peeking allowed!
You'll see a lot of smoke coming out of the lid vent and maybe from around the lid and access door. This is completely normal and will subside after 10-15 minutes.
After 45 minutes, close each of the 3 bottom vents 50%, but leave the lid vent 100% open.
Cook for another 15 minutes.
After 60 minutes, check the internal meat temperature using an instant-read thermometer. The chicken is done when it measures about 160°F in the thickest part of the breast and about 170°F in the thigh.
* You may wish to write down a few notes about the cooker temperature. How high is the initial temperature reading? After the chicken is added, does the temperature go up, go down, or stay the same? Does the temperature fluctuate a lot over time, or does it settle into a steady reading? Did the cooker temperature go up or down when you partially closed the bottom vents? How many degrees did the temperature change over 15 minutes?
Your specific results are not important for this chicken recipe—the point is for you to become familiar with how changing the bottom vents affect cooker temperature.
Crisp The Skin
As a final step, crisp the chicken skin directly over the hot coals:
Serve the chicken immediately.
More Chicken Links On TVWB