Pulled chicken is one of the most delicious smoked meats you’re going to get your taste buds on. It’s also one of the healthiest. It is far superior to grilling chicken. It requires more patience as it takes on average 3-4 hours to do, not counting prep time. The end product is the most juicy, succulent, and tasty chicken you will ever eat. It is well worth the wait. Today, I am going to demonstrate just how easy it is to make pulled chicken from a whole chicken (using techniques bestowed upon me by the Chicken King of the Midwest, pitmaster Matt Frampton, a fellow author on this site.
The first thing you need to do is butterfly the chicken. For this, go to Matt’s Post entitled “how to butterfly a chicken.” You will be doing yourself a disservice not to start here:
Rig: The Weber Silver One Touch Kettle Grill.
-1 whole chicken
-1 cup apple juice
-4 tbsp salted butter
-Your favorite chicken rub
First, you’ll need to set the kettle grill to operate in smoke mode. To do this, use charcoal separates to hold charcoal one a small portion of 1 side of the grill. Add a small bed of coals ant then add a few chunks of your favorite wood on top (apple and/or hickory are good choices). Use a charcoal starter to get a few coals lit and place them un top off the unlit coals. Now we’re smoking!
Note: chicken can be smoked at a wide range of temperatures (225 to 350). For this cook, I will cook around 250-275.
Step 1: Butterfly the chicken.
Step 2. Melt the 4 tbsp of butter and combine with the 1 cup of apple juice. This will be our injection. Pump the bird full if this injection. Just get the needle under the skin, you will see the bird swell up as the skin holds in the inject.
Step 3: Add your rub to the chicken. Season both sides of chicken. For this cook, I am using garlic salt and McCormick’s Smoke house pepper seasoning. Cover the skin in the rub.
Step 4: Add your bird to the smoker. Do not place any part of the bird directly over the coals. If you do, you are not going to smoke your chicken, you’re going to be grilling it.
Step 5. Every hour into the cook spray the bird with apple juice. This will help retain moisture as well as add some sweetener to flavor.
Step 6. Once the bird is cooked to 175 (in the breast area), remove the bird and let it rest for 15 minutes. You can also take the temp in the drum/leg area, where the meat is also thick.
step 7. Carefully remove the skin. Use can use a knife and cut out the skin. Try to keep the skin in as few pieces as possibe. This chunks of skin will become your “dirty rags” in step 9.
Step 8. Grab the legs and pull off the body. Repeat on the wings. Pull the meat off the chicken bones into bite size chucks. You can separate the dark meat (leg area) and white meat (breast area) if desired. The picture in step 9 shows the dark meat on the left and white on the right.
step 9. Time to use the dirty rag technique. Remember the skin that you seasoned at the beginning of the cook and subsequently removed in step 7? That’s your “dirty rag.” Our chicken expert Matt coined this soon to be buzz word on the BBQ circuit. Take the skin you removed, mix it and the chicken together repeatedly . You will see that the chicken meat now looks freckled with the seasoning from the skin. Continue this until you have ragged all the meat. Make sure to remove the rags(skin) from the pulled chicken.
Step 10: Enjoy the feast!!!