Tuscan Rosemary-Smoked Whole Chickens
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup clover honey
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 8 large sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 4 cups ice cubes
- One 4-pound chicken, excess fat trimmed
- Canola oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Special equipment: Pecan wood chips and 8 sprigs fresh rosemary, soaked in water for 2 hours
For the brine, bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the broth, salt, honey, sugar, peppercorns, rosemary and garlic, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and add the ice cubes to cool quickly to room temperature. Place the chicken in the bucket, breast-side down, cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse well with cold water. Pat dry, place on a baking rack and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours. This will allow the skin to dry out which will produce a crisper skin while cooking.
Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees F and up to 325 degrees F if your smoker can do it. Add the soaked wood chips and rosemary sprigs.
Brush the entire chicken with canola oil and sprinkle with pepper. Put the chicken in the smoker and place a drip pan underneath. Smoke until the breast temperature reaches 160 degrees F and the thigh reaches 170 degrees F, depending on the size of the chicken, 1 1/2 to 3 hours.