Chickens Smoked in a Homemade Smoker
- 1/2 cup Essence, recipe follows
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 2 (3 1/2 pound) whole roasting chickens
- 1 cup, hickory, mesquite, pecan or apple wood chips
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Using your hands, spread the Essence and kosher salt evenly all over the chickens, rubbing well on all areas both inside and out. Wrap the chickens in a double layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to 1 day.
When ready to smoke, make a homemade smoker in a large roasting pan about 11 1/2 by 15 inches. Place 2 pieces of dampened paper towel at both ends of the roasting pan. Wrap 4 small 1/2-ounce heatproof bowls (or 4 empty tuna cans, inverted) in aluminum foil and place 1 in each corner of the roasting pan on top of the paper towel in each of the 4 corners. Be sure that the bowls are inverted. Lay the wood chips in the center of the roasting pan. Place a second, smaller, 10 by 13 1/2-inch roasting pan or deep baking dish inside the larger pan. Lay 2 more pieces of moistened paper towels at both ends of the smaller roasting pan. Place 4 additional small bowls or tuna cans wrapped in aluminum foil at each corner of the smaller roasting pan, as before, and lay a small wire rack on top of the glass bowls.
Place the chickens on the wire rack and place over 2 burners, each set at medium-low heat (or over an indoor grill set at medium heat). Once the wood begins to smoke, wrap the chickens and makeshift smoker tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Cook the chickens on the stovetop for 1/2 hour. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Transfer the smoker to the oven and bake the roasters until the chicken is fall-from-the-bone tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Remove the chickens from the oven and uncover. Serve the chickens either hot, warm, or at room temperature. This chicken is delicious served as is and also makes excellent chicken salads and sandwiches.
Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2006