Smoking meat is so hot right now! Want to try it? You don’t need a fancy smoker – you can do it with a portable burner, a rack, bricks and a box! If you don’t already have them, buy everything you need for about $15 at a hardware store.
1.8kg whole chicken
1 cup fine salt
1⁄2 cup caster sugar
1 Tbsp black peppercorns
1 bunch thyme
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried sage
2 cups aromatic woodchips, soaked in water for 1 hour (try hickory)
Coleslaw, soft bread rolls and gravy, to serve
Use sharp scissors to remove chicken’s backbone, then pat all sides dry with paper towel. Prick all over with a metal skewer, then set aside. In a large bowl, combine salt, sugar, peppercorns and thyme with 2 cups boiling water. Stir until dissolved, then add 2L cold water and 2 cups ice cubes. Put chicken in a non-reactive glass container (see Cook’s
tips, opposite), cover with brine mixture and refrigerate overnight.
Drain chicken and pat dry. Mix oil, Cajun seasoning, paprika and herbs, then rub onto chicken.
To smoke chicken, drain woodchips and put in a metal bowl set over a small portable burner. Arrange 3 house bricks on either side of burner and set a wire rack between bricks, directly over woodchips. Put chicken, bone side down, on rack. Once woodchips begin to smoke, put a large cardboard box (with two 5cm holes in sides near the top) over burner and chicken. Smoke for 2–21⁄2 hours over a low-medium heat or until chicken is firm and cooked. Top up woodchips as needed.
Allow to cool slightly. Serve with coleslaw, rolls and gravy.