We have officially started our smoking adventure! Tonight we decided to start with something easy and smoke some chicken legs.
We are starting with hickory pellets, a wood that is labeled as good for most meats but can pack a good smoky punch. A 20 kg bag of wood pellets is around $23, they are all natural and there are many types to choose from. There is a great little guide on the back of each bag that tells you what each type of wood is best used for if you are not exactly sure what you are looking for.
I decided to divide the legs up for seasoning so that we could see how everything would come out. One set of legs was done in a simple rub with garlic olive oil, herbed salt, seasoned pepper and garlic powder. The other set was put in a wet La Grille rub. Both sets of legs were set to season at the same time about 3 hours prior to cook time.
When we purchased our first bag of wood pellets I decided to purchase the Traeger chicken leg and wing cooking rack just to see what it would produce and I also thought that it might give us the ability to add more chicken legs to the grill if we ever needed to do a large amount for a party. The instructions say that using the rack will allow the chicken legs to “baste” themselves while leaving the skin to crisp.
The only draw back I found to the rack is that it only holds 12 legs, although this is more than enough for the two of us (as I normally cook extra for my husband to take to work for lunches) the bulk package of chicken legs from the store has 13-16 legs in it depending on the size so regardless you will still have to put chicken on the main rack.
We fired up the smoker to 350 degrees farenheight and put the chicken in for 45 minutes as per the instructions that came with the chicken rack. The toughest part now was not to peek, this becomes especially hard if you are sitting out on the deck enjoying the sun and a beverage! We were a little surprised to not see a lot of smoke billowing from the smoker which left us wondering a bit as to what we were going to wind up with.
45 minutes later we revealed our bounty,
there were surprisingly little fat drippings on the drip tray or in the drip bucket on the side but the smell of the chicken was fabulous. A few of the chicken legs had fallen off the rack as they shrunk and cooked but there was still lots of juice dripping from the meat so a quick temperature check and off they came.
We excitedly dug in and found that they were very juicy and moist. There was a slight pink smoke ring in the meat and a fairly light smoke flavour.
Overall, I did like that the marinaded chicken legs cooked beautifully with the marinade cooking onto the legs and not burning at all. We didn’t find that the skin was overly crispy but the chicken was well cooked. Overall the plain oiled and seasoned legs were a bigger hit as they held more of the smoke flavour. With a finger licking and lip smacking dinner completed, I think that our first attempt at smoking was a success!
Looking forward to tweaking our smoking methods & smoking everything, I am Your Everyday Foodie.