Oh….my….goodness!!! I’ve eaten a lot of chicken in my life and tried many recipes. This might be the best chicken I’ve ever eaten and that’s not an exaggeration. The flavor was spot on and the chicken was insanely moist and tender. This is an absolute must try recipe and deserves a category of it’s own the website titled “make this and you can die happy”
The sweetness of the honey and sugar in the rub countered with the heat in the cayenne and a kiss of smoke from the smoker and smoked paprika made this absolutely to die for!.
If you like Spatchcock Chicken, be sure to check these other recipes:
Category: Poultry - Chicken
Weight: 3.5 Pounds
Heat Source: Wood Pellets
Type of Wood: Traeger Signature Blend
Estimated Cook Time: 4 hours
Actual Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes (it was 110 degrees outside in Arizona on this day which may have contributed to the faster cook time)
Time of Cook: 2:00 PM
Estimated Cooking Temperature: 225 degrees
Actual Cooking Temperature: 225 degrees
Location of Purchase: Costco
Cook Date: July 28, 2020
3 Cups water
2 Additional cups of water for later
¾ Cup kosher salt
1 Tablespoon peppercorns
4 Cups apple juice
1 Orange juiced (a lemon works as well if needed)
3 Cloves garlic, lightly crushed
Thyme – Small bunch
Additional water to cover if needed
3-4 Pound whole fryer chicken
Sweet Rub for Poultry and Pork (recipe linked) to taste preference
Honey to taste for glazing
Thermometer - These are critical tools to have there are two main types. First, instant read thermometer like this one or this one. The Thermapen is worth it's weight in gold and one I use almost every day. I know the price tag seems excessive but it's the best in the business for a reason. If you're looking for a dual temperature thermometer for both grill temperature and meat, this is the way to go. I use my Smoke for longer more specific cooks such as this.
Prep and Brining
Step 1: Make the brine. In a saucepan, bring water, salt and peppercorns to a simmer and stir to dissolve the salt. Once dissolved, set aside to cool.
Step 2: Once brine has cooled, stir in the apple juice and juice of an orange.
Step 3: Place your chicken breast side down on a cutting board. Using kitchen shears, cut the backbone out of the chicken. Trim off any remaining ribs.
Tip: You can keep the backbone to make chicken stock…or you can discard, your call.
Step 4: Place the chickens breast-side up, then firmly press down with your hands to flatten. Trim off any excess skin. You want to ensure your chicken lays nice and flat.
Step 5: Place the flattened chicken in a pot or baking dish where the chicken can be covered with the brine. You can also use a large Ziploc bag if needed. Add the brine, crushed garlic and bunch of thyme. Add additional cups of water to cover the chicken. If this isn’t enough to cover, add additional water. Refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours but overnight is preferred.
Seasoning and Cook
Step 1: Fire up your smoker and bring to 225 degrees.
Step 2: Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Allow some time to let the chicken come to room temperature. Season the chicken with the sweet rub to preference.
Tip: If you have a digital meat probe, I highly suggest inserting it to keep an eye on the temperature because you are cooking the chicken to a specific temperature. You are also basting/glazing at a specific temperature.
Step 3: Place the chicken on the smoker and cook to temperature (this can vary based on outside elements), typically lasts a few hours. At 150 degrees in both the thigh and breast, drizzle some honey on the chicken and smear all over with a brush.
Note: The more honey you use, the sweeter it’ll be. There is already sugar in the rub so a lot is not needed. I just applied a very light glaze to help with the coloring.
Step 4: Cook to 165 degrees in both the thigh and breast. Remove from the grill and let rest 10-15.
Final step: Dig into the best chicken you’ve ever had!!!
Lessons Learned (Note: I will update this section to include your lessons learned from the comment section)