Smoking a chicken on a BBQ

Anyone able to advise on the best way to do this please. I've never done it before. I have a bog standard BBQ with a hood - not a mega fancy one. Plan on using a smallish chicken and some apple wood chips i'm currently soaking. Will post photo of BBQ in a sec to give some idea of my "tools".

Cant add phot from existing post from my phone. Here is my bbq, about 60x60 cm across. Top grill removed for cleaning.

Sent from my iPhone using ARRSE


You need to soak the chx in salt and sugar water for 4-6 hours. Add any herbs and spices yoy like to the brine. Piri piri or cajun blends work well.

Smoke for 1.5 to 2 hours first unwrapped then cover well with foil halfway to avoid charring and drying out.

Go easy on the charcoal or it will be dry and or burnt. Normal rules apply for lighting and using the charcoal before adding soaked wood and the bird.
Charcoal barbie, good work that man, not one of those gas fired shite!
Bloody difficult with the setup you've got there but not impossible. If you're going to genuinely smoke it (as opposed to just bbqing it with a few woodchips biffed on for smoky flavour), it'll take hours longer than you can imagine and you have to eliminate any hint of direct heat, which means having the coals and woodchips down one end and the chicken as far away as possible at the other. Standard practice would be: Light shitloads of coals/briquettes/whatever, get 'em going, leave them for about an hour to get to that stage where the inside of the coal is red but they still hold their shape and there's an undisturbed layer of white ash on the outsides of them. Getting them to this stage is a nightmare, there is a thing called a chimney starter that may help. During this period leave 'em alone and either either marinate the chicken, or get pissed.

Once the coals are hot, bank them up at the far end of the bbq, add woodchips, stick the chicken up the other end as far away as possible. Close the lid and pray like **** that the bloody coals don't go out. This is harder than it sounds because you do NOT want to be lifting the lid - you lose all the heat - so you can't get a look at how it's cooking and how the coals are faring. Holding your hand close to the lid to see if the temp is dropping is about all you can do unless you've got a thermometer.

Leave for an's hard to overdo it tbh unless you've got direct heat on the skin.

Go look at The Virtual Weber Bullet - For the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker smoker enthusiast for more in depth advice. The first one you do will probably be inedible but keep at it.
Ok, I need to soak in salt & sugar... and assorted spices. No probs there. How do I arrange the coals? I've done a bit of googling but most results are geared towards mahoosive custom smoker bbqs etc. One thing I read was a small pile of 10 - 15 coals either side of the chicken with a dish of water underneath??
Cheers Seb Weetabix, will check that link. Will probably end up finishing off in the oven if I think the coals don't last long enough (which I don't think they will on a bbq this size).
No worries. The oven idea is a good one. I've heard conflicting stories about the pan of water thing...some people say it acts as a sort of heatsink and keeps the temp level, and the evaporation stops burning. Some say it makes no odds. Some use it as a drip tray. Trust me when I tell you that the cleanup is a mess, either way. Good luck mate.
Alternatively you can do beer can chicken. Place and open can of your favourite beer inside the chicken and stand it upright over indrect heat for 1 1/2 to two hours cook with lid on , lovely succulent chicken, yum yum
Yeah, I've done beer can chicken before - bloody lovely it is too! Just I've got a day off today and since the bbq was pulled out of the garage in June we've had only 3 opportunities to use it when good weather and days off miraculously combined. Thought I'd expand my horizons. Chicken is currently soaking in a 1/2 salt 1/2 sugar (totally guessed ratio) solution with some reggae reggae sauce stirred in.
Has been in for 90 minutes now. The smoke stopped about half an hour ago but I can still feel the heat coming through the vent. Oven in kitchen is on standby and preheating to 190.
A lovely looking bird and no mistake!

Another little tip, smoking is all about using 'indirect' heat as previously posted. Ideally try and baffle the heat from the meat. Have a look at Home - Smokenator 1000 on the wonderweb to give you an idea. Use a simple metal sheet (not a light alloy 'cause 'twill melt!) to stop the direct heat. It'll take many hours but 'tis well worth it. Advisable to get a simple but reliable cooking thermometer to ensure your smoker is at the right temp too.

Happy eating!
Cheers for all the tips fellas. I'm declaring this a success, although I gave it 20 mins in the oven on 190 just to make sure. It is tender, falls apart and tastes nice and smokey. I think I used a too little amount of coals though, although I suspect I didnt really need to blast it in the oven afterwards but the lack of smoke from the BBQ played tricks on my mind.

Nothing fancy planned for it - we are now having chicken mayo frenchbread sarnies!

Cheers for the tips & links.
We do Beercan Chicken in the oven - far more reliable and less effort than all that basting nonsense.

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