In this post, we'll be discussing some of the best wood smoking chicken you can get your hands on. Wood smoke is a natural and delicious way to flavor your food and it allows you to get that delicious BBQ taste without using barbecue sauce which is loaded with sugar and other preservatives.
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There are a lot of different factors that you need to consider when looking for your wood-smoking chicken. You might already know what the best wood for smoking chicken is, but I will outline a few of the features that a good wood-smoked chicken should have.
Types of wood
The type of wood you use will help to determine what the exact flavors will be like. Different types of wood give off different flavors, usually smoke in different ways. Be careful not to use too much of a certain type of wood too close to the chicken because this may overpower the flavor and make it taste bitter instead.
The strength or flavor difference between weak and strong wood smoking chips is very small. It's recommended that you stay with a milder wood to keep things balanced but even then these differences are very slight. It really doesn't matter if you end up using an expensive brand as long as it won't overpower your food's natural flavors like seasoning and other spices do.
The size of the wood chunks
Starting off with the smallest you can find that can still get the job done. It's a good idea to use a chunk rather than a block of wood because it will burn longer and provide more surface area for smoke to adhere to. You can also use bigger chunks if you want, just keep an eye out on how much you smoking as it will take longer and you may find that they burn down quicker than smaller chips.
The size of the wood chips
The size of the wood chunks will determine how much smoke you need. A lot of people actually suggest getting a piece of a chunk rather than buying pre-cut strips from the store because they burn longer and provide more surface area for smoke to adhere to. You can also use bigger chunks if you want, just keep an eye out on how much you smoking as it will take longer and you may find that they burn down quicker than smaller chips.
The way of preparing the smoker
The size of the smoker will have an effect on the time it takes for your food to cook. If you have a small smoker it may take longer than necessary and if you have a large smoker it will burn through the food a lot faster than you anticipated. You should aim for 2-3 hours to get your chicken as tender as possible without it being too dry or tough too. It is best not to leave out the smoker after half an hour if you want things to stay in one piece, but some people like to get their chicken done in one sitting so they can enjoy it with their family and friends.
When it comes to lighting your smoker, you can use different types of heat sources. It's recommended that you use a charcoal or electric smoker because they don't give off an unpleasant smoke that can ruin the taste of the food when it's lit with propane.
You need to make sure you get your fire started before you put your food into the smoker, this is important because if you don't light a fire in time then you could catch your food on fire and ruin everything, so remember to light up at least 30 minutes before if not more just for extra safety precautions.
If you end up going to a store that has a wood smoker, they may give you the wood to use in your smoker as a type of service. Although this seems like a great idea, it is not recommended that you do this as the wood chunks can catch fire and ruin your meat or spoil the smoke flavor. Many people have done this without any bad effects but it's still better not to take the risk.
Tips for cooking smoked chicken
One of the first things to remember when cooking smoked chicken is to try and get the best wood smoking chicken you can find. A lot of people will try to cut corners and save some money by using cheap brand wood chips but you really should be aiming for the best quality that you can afford such as:
Mesquite – this is one of the strongest tasting woods available today.
Oak – this is pretty mild in terms of smoke and flavor but it does give off a good color for your chicken that isn't too strong.
Hickory – this is a great wood to use at any time but it is especially good when cooking smoked chicken.
Apple – this is really mild in terms of smoke and flavor, but it does give off a good color for your chicken that isn't too strong.
I put the strength or flavor of each of the woods in order of how strong they are, as opposed to how well they are known to taste tasting with other meats and vegetables. It's hard to tell which will taste better than another because everybody has different tastes so just try different woods until you find one you like best, then adjust accordingly if you want a stronger or milder flavor with the chicken.
The best ways to serve smoked chicken
Smoked chicken can be served in so many different ways, but let's take a look at some of the most popular ways to serve it.
Let's say you have your wood smoking chicken ready to go and you've already made the BBQ sauce that goes with it. Chopping up the meat is a great way of serving it and I personally love it but you can also serve it as is or grill some vegetables on the side for those meat lovers who are watching their fat intake and want to enjoy their meal.
Smoked chicken can't really be enjoyed just by itself, you have to serve it with some side dishes and that is where the barbecue sauce comes into play. Well, you could have your own homemade BBQ sauce made from scratch if you know how but don't get the chance to or even if you try to make it, then it may not taste as good as the store-bought kind that comes in a bottle.
Recipes that use smoked chicken
There are tons of great recipes that you can use with your smoked chicken and here are just a few of the most commonly asked for ones:
Spicy chicken salad
This is a really good recipe to get started on if you want to try out smoked chicken because it's not too strong with spices or heat so you don't have to worry about ruining it. The best part is that it still tastes great even though it doesn't have a strong smoke flavor.
This is a classic dish and is perfect for those who don't want to make too many side dishes but want to enjoy the main dish instead. It's also one of those recipes where you can get creative with the sauce by using your favorite theme or maybe try some different flavors instead of just chicken, such as using pasta shells or even replacing the chicken with some steak if you prefer instead.
BBQ chicken sandwiches
This recipe is great because it's simple to follow and easy to make, yet it still gives off a really good flavor that you can take as far as you want to make it. You can also get some really good homemade sauces for this dish if you want to make things a little easier for yourself.
BBQ chicken pizza
Just like the sandwich option, this is another recipe that has loads of options for you to enjoy the barbecue chicken with and make the meal your own. This recipe is also quite simple and doesn't require too much effort so you don't have to worry about messing up your first try at making smoked chicken.
Is Hickory smoke good for chicken?
Hickory is a good wood to use for smoking chicken and it's one of the most commonly used woods today, but it isn't the only one. There are several other kinds of wood out there that you can use, so if you want to try something different then go ahead and give it a shot.
Where can I buy smoked chicken?
There are plenty of places where you can find smoked chicken but one of the best places is at your local butcher shop. You might have to go to more than one place though because they may all be limited on stock sometimes or they may just not be that well known in your area.
If you can't find smoked chicken at any stores then you can try looking for it online and buying a big pack of it, although it might be more expensive than regular that's because the price goes up in larger quantities. If you want to make your own smoked chicken, then there are plenty of tips for that as well that I've already discussed in this blog post.
What should I marinate my chicken in?
It doesn't really matter if your smoked chicken has not been marinated or not, because the taste isn't really greatly affected by anything, but if you don't have time to wait on something else, then using some type of liquid is a really good idea.
The liquid can be anything you want it to be, but to keep the flavor of your chicken going then you should definitely use barbecue sauce. You can make your own, but there are plenty of good recipes that I'll have you look up here. The best thing about using the barbecue and other sauces is that they will give you a really strong smoke flavor and they can sometimes even be as flavorful as the wood chips used in the smoking process itself if used correctly.
If you want to know how to smoke chicken at home then look no further. There are plenty of ways to get the job done and if you want some really great tasting smoked chicken then all you need is the best wood smoking chicken and some good recipes.
Smoking causes a lot of flavors, even on good pieces of meat, so if you aren't sure as to what direction to go in with it or just want something simple then I have all the options that I have already discussed here for you. So go ahead and give them a shot and let me know how it turns out for you. Feel free to ask me any questions about smoking your own chicken too. Good luck!