Thanksgiving… why turkey?
It’s that time of the year… all the grocery stores have their open freezers jam-packed full of frozen turkeys and butchers are promoting free range fresh turkeys. Personally, I think it’s awesome! I love turkey! As a matter-of-fact, I like a good turkey dinner with all the fixings, any time of the year. It’s always my first choice when we eat at a diner (which I just realized we don’t do often enough).
My family doesn’t love turkey
Apparently I’m the only one at our home that loves turkey, the rest of my family likes it just fine, but they don’t have the same love for it that I do. We still want to have a special dinner for thanksgiving though, and I want all of us to enjoy it. …enter Thanksgiving chicken! I mean, who doesn’t love chicken? I’ve lost count of how many ways I’ve prepared chicken over the years… roasted, fried, boiled, stewed, grilled, seared, in soups etc. I needed to try something new for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner!
Sage flavoured wood bisquettes
I think I’m really getting the hang of this smoking food thing! Food is coming out flavourful, juicy and with that characteristic smokey flavour you can only get from a real smoker. I find myself constantly asking… “can I smoke that?” (food of course). I was thrilled to receive a care package last week from our friends at Bradley Smoker — two new types of premium bisquettes. These are chef inspired flavoured wood bisquettes. Score!
The first bisquettes we tried from our care package were the beer bisquettes. We made some delicious smoked burgers with balsamic glaze. They were so good! I was also very excited to try the second flavour! Sage flavoured wood bisquettes. This was it… I finally knew how I wanted to prepare the chicken for our Thanksgiving dinner.
Thanksgiving’s next weekend in Canada
I thought I’d test the new bisquettes this week to make sure the flavours were right. Let me tell you, no regrets! I made two large chickens on one rack, with a portuguese-style sauce and smoked with the new Sage flavoured wood bisquettes. Wow… the concept of smoking still surprises me every time. The chickens cooked for a little over 4 hours and came out super juicy! It’s almost counter-intuitive… after that long, I kind of expected dried out chicken, but that wasn’t the case at all. What? I know, right!
I’m so thankful
Like a lot of people out there, I sometimes get frustrated or I complain. But then I take a step back and remind myself that I’m very lucky and have been blessed with a great life. I have two good hearted amazing children who put a smile on my face everyday. I love them so much! I have a wonderful wife who puts up with me and loves me despite my faults. I have good health, I have a job that I enjoy, I have food to eat and a roof over my head. In the grand scheme of things, why would I ever complain? I am very thankful for so many great things in my life.
Remember the good things in your life, surround yourself with friends and family, make some delicious food, and have a happy Thanksgiving, friends.
- 2 large whole chickens, around 1.9 kg or 4.2 Lbs each
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3½ tsp coarse salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice + 1 whole lemon
- ¾ cups original Frank's RedHot Sauce
- I used the Original Bradley Smoker for this recipe, so I'll be explaining the process for our smoker. For other smokers, just bring the temperature up to 225 ºF and prepare the wood for smoking as per your smoker instructions.
- Remove all the trays from the smoker.
- Fill the water bowl to half with water.
- Load the feeder with enough bisquettes for about 2 hour of smoking (3 bisquettes per hour plus 2 to push the last few). For this recipe we used Bradley's premium sage bisquettes.
- Open the damper at the top about ¾ of the way to release smoke.
- Turn on the smoke generator and preheat the bisquette burner for 20 minutes.
- Turn on the smoker and bring the temperature up to 225 ºF.
- Spray one smoker rack with non-stick cooking spray.
- Place the rack on a baking sheet with edges.
- Remove your chicken from the fridge and remove the giblets from inside.
- Place the chickens on the greased smoker rack, side by side.
- Using your (clean) hands, rub both chickens inside and out with the olive oil.
- Sprinkle the salt, pepper and garlic evenly over and inside the chickens.
- Rub the salt, pepper and garlic into the skin and meat, both inside and out.
- Slowly pour the lemon juice inside and over the chickens evenly.
- Pour the Frank's hot sauce over and inside the chickens and rub it all around to make sure you coat everything, including the wings.
- Open the smoker quickly and place the smoker rack with the chickens on the second level from the bottom.
- Run the thermometer prong through the top damper and insert the prong into the thickest part of the meat, preferable the middle of the breast meat.
- Close the door quickly to avoid loosing a lot of heat.
- Let the chicken cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reads 180 ºF. In our case, this took 4 hours and 15 minutes, but this can vary depending on your smoker and how many times you open the door. You best bet is to rely on the thermometer reading.
- Remove the smoker rack with the chickens onto a clean baking sheet (to reduce dripping mess).
- Cut the whole lemon in half and squeeze the lemon over the chickens.
- Tent the chickens with aluminum foil for about 10 minutes (to help keep the juices inside the chicken).
- Carve the chickens and serve with your favourite sides. Enjoy!
To cook only one chicken, half the remaining ingredients.
You can smoke chicken and other meats without a meat thermometer, but it'll be hard to know when your meat is full cooked. Plus, every time you open the smoker door, you'll loose a lot of heat and increase the cooking time. The thermometer gives you an accurate reading of the meat's internal temperature, so you know exactly when to take it out.
Cheryl Avrich says
I don’t have a smoker, but your chickens look gorgeous! Makes me want to dig it. And get a smoker.
Nelson Cardoso says
Hi Cheryl, I hope everything’s good with you. Yes, it’s a worth-while purchase. I had been eyeing a few smokers in the past, but the ease of use and work free smoking of Bradley’s smokers really appealed to me. Take care.