Last week I used the Smoker for the first time this season. It was incredible and I look forward to a summer of smoking. This weekend I will smoke a chicken. It reminded me of the first time smoking chickens:
My love for the smoker grows each time I use it. Traeger recommended this recipe for whole roasted chickens. I quickly fell in love when I found a whole chicken at the grocery store runs $5-$7, cooks in under 90 minutes, and feeds many.
Sous Chef Sam and I made 2 chickens along with Roasted Tomato Bisque and Herbed Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
Smoked Roasted Chicken with Herbed Butter
8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 scallion, white and green parts finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, sage or parsley, plus extra sprigs for roasting
2 1/2 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning
A few drops of fresh lemon juice
1 4-to-4 1/2 pound chicken
In a small bowl, combine the butter, scallion, garlic, minced fresh herbs, 1-1/2 teaspoon of the rub, and the lemon juice and blend well with a wooden spoon.
Remove any giblets from the cavity of the chicken. Wash the chicken inside and out with cold running water. Dry thoroughly with paper towels. Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon of the rub in the cavity of the chicken. Slip a few sprigs of fresh herbs (see list of options above) into the cavity as well. Smear the outside of the chicken with the butter-herb mixture. Tuck the chicken wings behind the back. Tie the legs together with butcher’s string.
|Ready for the Grill. Notice Sam’s fabulous knots?
When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 400 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Oil the grill grate with vegetable oil. Place the chicken on the grill grate, breast-side up, and close the lid. After 1 hour, lift the lid. If the chicken is browning too quickly, cover the breast
and legs with aluminum foil. Close the lid and continue to roast the chicken until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers a temperature of 165 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove the chicken to a platter and allow to rest for 3 minutes. Untie the legs and carve.
We used Rosemary, Basil, and Cilantro in the butter and Rosemary in the cavity of the chicken. Knowing that Sous Chef Sam has a knack for knot tying, I asked him to tie the wings and legs. He would have made the Mafia proud with his knots. I also love that Sam has a similar gift as myself-saying what’s on his mind before thinking about it. After tying the knots he said, “Wow, messing with chickens is kind of morbid. Do you think that most serial killers got their start as butchers?” Oh how I love my Sous Chefs.
As we opened the grill to check on the chickens, the crispiness of the herbed-butter crust was something that belonged in a museum. What a work of art. I stood there in awe, not wanting the ruin the perfection of the moment. “And I knew just as surely, just as clearly, that life is not a work of art, and that the moment could not last” (A River Runs Through It).
The chicken was moist, tender and perfectly crisp. Since it’s only on the smoker for 90 minutes, the flavor doesn’t incorporate as far, but it was delicious anyway.
The Grill can fit 6 chickens at a time. Any suggestions on recipes?