Ready to smoke some chicken? We decided to roll out the smoker and get grilling! A fun family day in the pool, and smoking on the side.

For extra moisture, brin the chicken for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

source – Cooks Illustrated


  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 pounds bone-in chicken parts (breasts, thighs, and drumsticks), trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Pepper
  • Large disposable Aluminum roasting pan (if using charcoal) or disposable aluminum pie plate (if using gas)
  • 2 wood chunks soaked in water for 30 minutes and drained (if using charcoal) or 3 cups wood chips, half of chips soaked in water for 30 minutes and drained (if using gas)


1. Dissolve salt and sugar in 4 quarts cold water in large container. Submerge chicken in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Brush both sides of chicken with oil and season with pepper.

2a. For a Charcoal Grill: Open bottom vent halfway. Arrange disposable pan filled with 2 cups water on 1 side of grill and 2 quarts unlit charcoal briquettes against empty side of grill. Light large chimney starter filled halfway with charcoal briquettes (3 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour on top of unlit briquettes, keeping coals steeply banked against side of grill. Place wood chunks on top of coals. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent halfway. Heat grill until hot and wood chunks begin to smoke, about 5 minutes.

2b. For a Gas Grill: Use large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil to wrap soaked chips into foil packet and cut several vent holes in top. Wrap unsoaked chips in second foil packet and cut several vent holes in top. Place wood chip packets directly on primary burner. Place disposable pie plate with 2 cups water on other burner(s). Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot and wood chips begin to smoke, about 15 minutes. Turn primary burner to medium-high and turn off other burner(s).

3. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place chicken, skin side up, as far away from fire as possible with thighs closest to fire and breasts furthest away. Cover (positioning lid vent over chicken if using charcoal) and cook until breasts register 160 degrees and thighs/drumsticks register 175 degrees, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

4. Transfer chicken to cutting board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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