We’re eating succulent smoked chicken halves marinated in a mixture of tequila, chipotle in adobo, lime and orange juice and spices.
I was totally planning on making Memorial Day a work day – but for me, a work day means cooking and writing. Fortunately, past Amanda hooked up future Amanda by buying all of the ingredients for this chicken so that I could spend the day playing instead of shopping. I put the chicken in the marinade first thing in the morning then I went off to play outside on a several-hour bike ride. When we got back, we turned on the grill and started the smoking process. In a couple of hours we were feasting on some of the best chicken I have made/eaten in years. All in a hard days work, right?
As a side note, if you don’t like chicken, this marinade would work well for pork or shrimp. Only marinate shrimp for 30 minute or the acid will start to change the texture of the shrimp in a undesirable way.
For the Marinade:
1/4 cup tequila
juice from 2 limes
juice from 1 orange
2 (packed) tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp granulated onion
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 can chipotle in adobo (including half of the adobo sauce) -(use less chipotle if you don't like spicy foods - this marinade is HOT)
1 whole chicken, innards discarded, or 3 to 4 lbs of chicken parts
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Place all ingredients for the marinade into a blender. Blend until smooth.
Using kitchen shears, halve the chicken by first cutting along both sides of the back bone. Once the back bone has been removed, flip the chicken over so what used to be the inner cavity is face down on a flat surface. Using your hands, press down on the chicken until you hear the breast bone crack and the chicken lays flat on the work surface. Finally, cut the chicken down the middle, just to one side of the breast bone using kitchen shears. Once the chicken is halved trim any excess fat.
Place the chicken halves into a large bowl or extra-large resealable plastic bag. Gently run your fingers underneath the skin covering the breast meat to loosen. Pour some of the marinade into the pocket between the loosened skin and the breast meat on each half. Rub to coat. Pour the rest of the marinade over the chicken halves, making sure that all surfaces are coated in marinade. If using a resealable bag, seal the bag removing as much air as possible to emulate a vacuum seal. Place marinating chicken into the fridge. Marinate, chilled, for 6 to 24 hours.
Prepare a grill for indirect cooking at 250 degrees. Place wood chips into a foil packet with several large holes poked into the top.
Remove chicken from marinade, reserving marinade. Season all surfaces of the chicken with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, making sure to season the breast meat beneath the skin.
Place chicken skin-side down over the direct heat of the grill to sear. Grill for about 3 to 5 minutes until grill marks appear. This step is not completely necessary but will help ensure a good texture on the skin.
Move the chicken to the section of the grill for indirect heat and flip so that the skin-side is now facing up. Baste the chicken liberally with the reserved marinade. Insert a digital meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, away from any bones. If the thermometer has an alarm, set it to go off once the thigh reaches an internal temperature of 175 degrees F.
Place the packet of wood chips over the direct heat with the holes facing up. Close the dome of the grill and let the chicken cook over indirect 250 degree heat until the internal temperature of the thigh meat is 175 degrees, about 2 to 4 hours depending on the thickness of the bird. Once the desired internal temperature is reached , remove from heat and let rest for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.