With crispy, amber-hued skin and penetrating smoky flavor, this barbecued bird is the go-to dish you’ve been waiting for all your chicken-loving life. And you don’t even need a smoker to make it—all you need, in fact, is a basic oven. So whether you’re keeping it tight in a tiny urban studio or spreading out in some Nashville mansion, we think the technique will find a recurring role in your repertoire of favorite recipes.
There are three challenges to achieving a great smoked chicken indoors. First—and this is true whenever you’re working with a whole bird—it’s tricky to get the dark meat cooked through without overcooking the white meat. Second, you want to get that crackly, golden skin without drying out the interior meat. And third, you want to achieve smoky flavor, but you don’t have the benefit of a smoker.
Our chefs conquered the first issue by cutting the bird in half, then laying the halves flat out on a baking tray. This helps the chicken’s legs and thighs get done faster, so the breasts won’t end up overdone. They took on the second challenge through a brine-and-glazing method, and cooked the chicken at a low temperature in a traditional oven, applying a simple glaze several times to really develop the texture, color, and flavor of the skin while ensuring that the meat stayed nice and juicy. Both the brine and the glaze contain liquid smoke which, used in the proper proportion, gives the chicken a deep, smoky flavor without overpowering the dish. We think you’re going to love the results as much as we do. So give it a go, and then tell us all about it in the comments.
PSST: Need more dinner ideas? Looking to up your indoor-cooking game? Check out ChefSteps.com for tons of meaty tips, low-and-slow techniques, and delectable side dish ideas.
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