Hello and welcome to reading yours truly- which is me- and I have found out an ingenious method to smoke chicken without a smoker at home! Hows that for starters?
You know, I’ve been a lover of smoked chicken since the beginning of time methinks and I pay 500 INR each month for 1 kilo of smoked chicken. Honestly, I am cool with it as long as its available. The worst is, ‘lets-have-a-deli-mayo-smoked-chicken-sandwich-oh-i’ll-go-and-get-it’ and ‘damn, i just travelled 10 kilometers but its not available’. Seriously, I have been disappointed way too many times now and it was time I mastered the skill. When Star network was 6 bucks cheaper and the cable operators would give us- as if by generosity- Star network, I used to oggle at the way those masterchef contestants smoked chicken in a smoker. It’s been on my list for a while now but having found this method, I am not sure I’ll buy a smoker, ever! That’s one thing off my list.
One evening when the husband went out to catch some beers with his friend, I wore the renegade foodie’s robe and embarked upon this culinary journey, in the comforts of my kitchen. A couple of youtube videos later I was pretty sure of how the blueprint of the process would look like. I didn’t have a foil, I didn’t have a smoker, I didn’t have a rack- I had nothing but a vague idea and it still worked.Haha…point in telling all this is, you can gauge how effin easy it is. The idea is to have a surface that lets in the smoke without directly touching the chicken. Use a perforated dish or a momo stand or an oven rack is you please!
I’ll be honest, I sort of lost respect for smoked chicken thereof. In my mind smoked chicken was a delicacy, painstakingly created with choicest hickory blah blah. The truth is its nothing exotic or rocket science. It does take time, that is there, but with internet on the cell-phone do you have a scope for getting bored? 🙂
Okay, enough faff, let’s get to the tutorial quickly!
Here’s how to smoke chicken at home without a smoker
Supplies for Smoking Chicken
A pan/wok/kadhai which is slightly bigger than the steamer
Chicken pieces-500 gram
tea, Cinnamon, Star Anise, lemon rind and bay leaf, apple cubes: about 1/2 cup in total (Please note: This is the flavor I wanted, You can add your pref flavors. I’ve seen people smoke chicken with tea, with orange, with rosemary and garlic- the options are endless) Divide it in two portions.
A gas stove / burner
Salt- 1 teaspoon
1 cup water
How to make smoked chicken
Rub chicken with salt and rest on bamboo steamer
In the pan add 1/2 of the smoking mixture except apple, which will go in the steamer with the chicken.
Let it heat up for a minute before you place the steamer on it.
Give the pan a sturdy shake and bring all the smoking ingredients to the center of the pan. This is to ensure that the precious smoke is not escaping anywhere!
Place the steamer on the pan and cover the chicken with a lid. My steamer already had a lid, if you are using a rack, cover the whole thing with aluminium foil. Keep it on medium heat for about 5 minutes before tossing the chicken pieces. Give it another 5. Now leave it there in low heat for 10. Cool and refrigerate.
Do not wash the pan or throw the ingredients away.
Give yourself a good 2 hours of resting time. Keep everything as is, you’ll need the whole set up again.
It is important that you give the chicken some resting time. Once its rested and dry, it will be easier for you to get the golden colour. It is also to lock the flavors.
After 2 hours, take the chicken out, repeat the process with the other half of the smoking mixture and you’ll add water in the pan this time.
On low heat, place the pan and rest the steamer on top, and give it 30-45 minutes.
Check in between to see if its golden. Once it is, your smoked chicken is ready to be attacked.
Why water? Because the steam will make it moist and juicy, while evaporated colours and flavors from tea, star anise and cinnamon will directly stick on your chicken making it oh-so-delicious. Once you are done, check the pan. There should be a sticky brown residue in the pan. That sir is what you are looking for! If you wish an extra colour, just brush a bit of the remaining brown liquid in the pan onto your chicken pieces.
Enjoy deli style smoked chicken at home!