How to keep it simple and why?
While travelling in woods of Norway, I met a friendly guy who gave me a handful of plum wood chunks for my BBQ experiences. Plum wood I had never tried before so I got excited about this opportunity.
I figured there were not enough chunks for smoking red meat for ten hours so I decided to cook chicken. Salmon (Norwegian) would have be my second option but I have smoked that already hundreds of times and chicken never.
Weber Master Touch 22” kettle is just chicken size cooker. Equipped with the Smokenator2000 it makes a perfect buddy to work with. Before setting it up, I decided to flavorize my chicken.
Doing this for the first time, I was not too sure what spices to use. I happened to have some commercial BBQ rub left so I just rubbed it all over and under the chicken skin. Then left the bird on room temperature to warm and spice up.
Grilling with briquettes for almost six years, I am still quite fresh on cooking with lump charcoal. However, after trying Black Ranch Marabu charcoal for the first time, I think there is no turning back. They just have so great BBQ smoke aroma.
I filled about half of the Smokenator space with charcoal, ignited it with two lighter cubes and set up my iGrill for monitoring cooker temperature progress. In about an hour, it was on 200°F (93°C).
Smokenator comes with an integrated water cup which helps keeping the cooker temp on desired level. I filled the cup with water and put two plum wood chunks on top of charcoal.
Once plum wood started to generate nice smoke, I placed my chicken on a cooking grate. Stick the iGrill probe in and closed the lid.
This part of cooking I just love. Sitting on a garden chair, watching smoke pushing out from the cooker, checking temperature progress from my iPad and enjoying a cold drink (or two).
It took 2 ½ hours to hit the target temperature of 167°F (75°C). Meat temp is quite strict with chicken. You should not leave it under 165°F (74°C) in order to keep it safe to eat and not go much over 170°F (77°C) to keep the meat juicy.
So, how did plum wood smoked chicken taste like?
It tasted like a chicken with a freaking BBQ rub!
Very good, smokey yes, but not even a hint of elegant plum wood flavor.
I wouldn't call this a failure though. I guess I just got too excited and forgot to keep my BBQ simple.
Next time I will limit spices to salt and pepper only.
Well, I guess I am off to Norway again!