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Simple Hickory Smoked Chicken

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Hickory Smoked Chicken

This is one of my favorite recipes because it’s so easy. The taste of natural wood smoke is what makes this recipe work. The seasoning is simple. I really don’t like to overpower the chicken with anything too spicy. But hey, if you’re into it, add some spicy paprika, chili pepper, or even chipotle to the seasoning. 

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  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 4-6Servings


  • One chicken, cut into eighths 
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated garlic
  • Touch of cinnamon
  • Honey
  • Hickory wood chunks (or your favorite hardwood)


1. I start with a low-temp fire. This is a low and slow dish. If you try to hurry it, it won’t be the same. The chicken needs at least an hour or two to luxuriate in the bath of hardwood smoke in order to get its flavor profile properly set.

2. You want the fire to be on one side of the grill. If you have a big grill then you can divide the fire and have two hot sides. However, it is very important that you have an area where there is no fire. The chicken will go over this part of your grill. You will be cooking with indirect heat.

3. If you’ve opted for a gas grill, then simply leave one or two burners off. Your chicken will go over these. I place my wood chunks directly over one of the lit burners. They should be on their lowest setting.

4. Once the barbecue is set, season your chicken. I go simple. Kosher salt and granulated garlic go over all of the bird. Add any other optional spices at this time as well.

5. Now place the chicken parts skin-side down over the non-fire part of the barbecue. Close the cover to the grill and sit back.

6. It’s important to let the fire smolder. You want heat and smoke, not flames. Fire smolders by controlling its airflow, so keep the hood shut. Opening it up and constantly checking the chicken will feed air to the fire and cause flames, thus stifling the smoke.

7. After a half-hour, quickly open the lid and flip the chicken. Close the lid and let the chicken go for at least another half hour to an hour.

8. The skin will get brown and crisp up. Don’t worry. In order to determine if it’s done, check the temp with an instant-read thermometer. USDA recommends that the fattest part of the thigh should read 165 ̊F.

9. Once done, I drizzle pure honey or a honey infusion on top of the skin, then let the chicken rest for five to ten minutes to let the juices recirculate.

10. Serve with mashed potatoes, grilled veggies, and a cold beer.

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