How to Smoke Chicken on a Paleo Diet
If you want to treat your guests with a delicacy that is sure to impress them, smoking chicken is an excellent option.
Smoking is not a complicated process, and it can be done by anyone. The key to successful smoking is controlling the heat and rubbing your preferred seasonings well.
Step 1: Brine
Brined chicken is a great way to add flavor and moisture to your meal. Brining also helps the chicken become tender and juicy.
Whether you’re cooking a whole chicken or just a couple of breasts, brining your meat will help it stay tender and juicy, making it easier to eat. The process is simple — just fill a large pot with water and stir in salt to create the brine.
Once the brine is ready, add your chicken to the mix and let it soak for at least 15 minutes. The longer you brine your chicken, the more tender it will be.
If you have time, you can make the brine ahead of time and refrigerate it. Just be sure to remove the chicken from the brine when you’re ready to cook it and rinse it well with cold water before you serve it to prevent any unwanted bacteria growth.
The Paleo diet is a popular weight-loss program that promotes eating foods that our ancestors likely ate – such as fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grass-fed meats. Though it does have some restrictions, the Paleo diet is a very healthy way to lose weight and improve your health.
Step 2: Smoke
Smoking is one of the easiest ways to create moist and flavorful chicken without adding a lot of calories or fat. The smokey flavor infuses the meat while it cooks, giving you a delicious meal with minimal effort.
To get started, remove the backbone from the chicken with kitchen shears, then season the breast side first. Flip over and spray the other side with oil, then insert the internal thermometer into the thickest part of the breast.
Place the bird on the smoker and let it smoke until the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the chicken periodically to ensure it doesn’t dry out too much or burn.
When the chicken is done, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes. This allows the juices to fully absorb back into the meat and makes for a juicy and tender dish.
You can also serve the chicken with a simple barbecue sauce for dipping. For extra smoky flavor, use a smoky spice rub recipe for the chicken.
The Paleo diet is a popular eating plan that excludes grains, dairy, legumes and processed foods. It aims to reduce inflammation and other symptoms of autoimmune conditions.
Step 3: Finish
If you’re looking to add a little extra flavor to your smoked chicken, try adding BBQ sauce towards the end of cooking. This will give it a nice glazed look and a great taste.
Besides adding flavor, a barbecue rub will also help keep your chicken tender and moist. You can also try brining your chicken. This is a popular method for smokers because it helps add moisture and flavor to the meat, as well as making it more tender.
Before smoking your chicken, make sure to buy a fresh one that hasn’t been frozen. Frozen meat will not cook properly and you won’t get the same results.
To smoke your chicken, put it in the smoker and set the temperature to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. You should let it smoke for about 3 1/2 to 4 hours until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
You can serve your smoked chicken with many different dishes, including salads and kale salads. Smoked chicken also makes a great base for pasta bakes and smoky chicken enchiladas.
If you’re following a Paleo diet, remember that you should eat healthy and make sure to cut back on saturated fat. This is important because an increased focus on meats and protein can negatively impact your health.
How to Smoke Chicken on a Paleo Diet Step By Step
Smoking chicken on a Paleo diet is a great way to enjoy flavorful, protein-rich meals without the need for sugary sauces or processed ingredients. Here’s a basic guide on how to smoke chicken while adhering to a Paleo diet:
- Whole chicken or chicken parts (e.g., thighs, drumsticks, breasts, wings)
- Paleo-friendly dry rub (see below)
- Hardwood chips or chunks for smoking (e.g., apple, hickory, mesquite)
- Olive oil or other Paleo-friendly cooking fat
- Sea salt and black pepper (optional)
Paleo-Friendly Dry Rub
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Prepare the Chicken
- If using a whole chicken, remove any giblets and excess fat.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
Apply the Dry Rub
- In a small bowl, combine all the dry rub ingredients.
- Drizzle the chicken with a small amount of olive oil or another Paleo-friendly cooking fat to help the rub adhere to the meat.
- Generously rub the seasoning mixture all over the chicken, ensuring it’s well-coated. You can also season the chicken with sea salt and black pepper if desired.
Prepare the Smoker
- Soak the hardwood chips or chunks in water for at least 30 minutes before smoking.
- Preheat your smoker to a temperature of around 225-250°F (107-121°C).
Smoke the Chicken
- Place the seasoned chicken in the smoker, skin side up.
- Add the soaked hardwood chips or chunks to the smoker box or over the coals to generate smoke.
- Smoke the chicken at the recommended temperature until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safety, and the skin is crispy and browned. This typically takes 2-4 hours, depending on the size of the chicken and your smoker.
Rest and Serve
- Once the chicken is done, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute and keeps the chicken moist.
- Carve and serve the smoked chicken with your favorite Paleo-friendly side dishes, such as roasted vegetables or a fresh salad.
By using a Paleo-friendly dry rub and avoiding sugary or processed ingredients, you can enjoy delicious smoked chicken while following a Paleo diet. Experiment with different wood flavors and spice combinations to suit your taste preferences.
Read more great BBQ articles at Bob’s BBQ Secrets