Paddy Goes To The Big Smoke. It’s Smoked Chicken in "Hot Irish" Brine.

Smoked Chicken (1 of 1)When I was a kid, some of our country cousins used to refer to Dublin (the grand metropolis that it was and continues to be) as the Big Smoke (Pronounced more like “de big shmoke”).  In our company, they would speak about it with mock reverence; “Oh, your from de big shmoke, are ye? Isn’t it well for ye after all.” Time has passed and those from outside the Pale have their own smoke while Dublin, having banned the burning of smokey fuel is now the Big No Smoke. (Say it as “noo shmoke”, if you want to sound like country Irish). This reversal of fortunes has gone on long enough. Our government is about to ban smokey coal throughout the land. So it is time to re-claim the title of Big Smoke for the capital. 

Now, if one is planning to use a big Bradley smoker for the first time, one needs to take precautions. I decided that I should have a fireman on hand. So, I may as well do my first smoking in the big Bradley smoker (also the Big Smoke) to celebrate my nice Laura’s fiancée, Paddy becoming a fully fledged fireman. What’s even better is that he and Laura had to come from County Waterford to supervise the proceedings. A fireman up to “de big shmoke”, to supervise a big smoking of two big chickens.

Keeping this very Irish, I concocted a “Hot Irish” brine. The ingredients for Smoked Chicken in Hot Irish Brine were as follows:

  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
  • A dozen or so cloves
  • 2 lemons
  • 250cl of good Irish whiskey
  • 4 litres of water
  • 1 teaspoon of hot paprika
    That Waterford lad has a big appetite. Two chickens it is!

    That Waterford lad has a big appetite. Two chickens it is!

You will notice that apart from the paprika and salt, the rest would make up a pretty decent hot whiskey.

Don't go shy when pouring the whiskey.

Don’t go shy when pouring the whiskey.

I added the salt, sugar and whiskey to a saucepan and heated it until the sugar and salt dissolved and the alcohol evaporated.

This is a glorious mixture. I nearly drank it there and then.

This is a glorious mixture. I nearly drank it there and then.

I placed the water and cloves in a large pot and added the mixture. I then squeezed the lemons in and added the skins too.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. This is a fine brining mixture. 100% Irish too!

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. This is a fine brining mixture. 100% Irish too!

The chickens were placed in and this was left to brine for 24 hours.

The chickens get to spend 24 hours absorbing the whiskey, cloves, lemon and sugar flavours.

The chickens get to spend 24 hours absorbing the whiskey, cloves, lemon and sugar flavours.

I then removed the chickens from the brine and patted them dry. Just before placing them in the smoker, I sprinkled them with paprika.

The cup of tea will never taste the same again! Better not let the Wife see this one.

The cup of tea will never taste the same again! Better not let the Wife see this one.

They were hot smoked in a 100ºC (220°F) atmosphere for 4 hours, until the internal temperature of the chicken meat reached 65°C (150ºF).

It was had to leave them rest. The aromas were strong and delicious.

It was had to leave them rest. The aromas were strong and delicious.

I let them rest for 10 minutes before serving with a nice green salad.

Lovely chicken, salad and baby potatoes. "Smokin!" as they say somewhere else.

Lovely chicken, salad and baby potatoes. “Smokin!” as they say somewhere else.

Thankfully, Paddy’s only observations were about how good the chicken tasted. It was good to have him on hand for the big smoke in the big smoker in “de big shmoke”. Congratulations Paddy.

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  • I hope you kept some of the whiskey back for a hot toddy to go with it. I have fond memories of downing a few while shivering in the drizzle at the Curragh. The chicken looks delicious, it’s making my nose quiver from here. Lx

    • Thanks Linda,
      It seems to be always drizzling in County Kildare. Of course I kept some back. It would be madness to do otherwise. Glad to be quivering your nose.

  • They look fabulous and I love the idea of sprinkling with paprika before smoking 😉

    • It added an extra dimension to the flavours. No doubt about it.

  • I dearly love smoked chicken, and this looks like an excellent recipe. Now all I need to do is find the nearest bush fire and hang a bird or two in a nearby tree… Sadly, all our firemen are very, very busy at this time of year, we are under an Extreme Fire Risk warning, and they have given up tackling the fires that aren’t endangering lives or homes.

    • Hi Kate,
      The prospect of an Extreme Fire Risk warning does not appeal to me. Our family home burned many, many years ago. I can still smell the wet smoke aroma of the aftermath. I think I should concentrate on the chicken. I hope all goes well. I saw from a recent post that you are turning out cakes like the Demon Baker of Chiconia. Don’t over-do it.
      Best,
      C

      • Perhaps I could smoke a cake or two… Hmm… Apple, Smoky Bacon and Maple cake. It would make a nice change from Lemon Polenta cake or Pear Upside Down cake.

        • It’s the smokey bit that gets me Kate.

  • Oh my, I bet this is amazing!

  • This looks delicious! I love smoked chicken and duck. Dunno if I’d be brave enough to chance it myself though.

    • Hi Donna,
      My friend James Lawlor of Lawlor’s Butchers fame is letting me use his big Bradley smoker. It is stinking up my shed but is great fun. I do plan to do some duck and I really want to cure and smoke my own salmon and bacon. Lots to do!

  • Looks great, Conor. Didn’t know lemons, cloves, and paprika are produced in Ireland 😉 I’ve never smoked a whole chicken. Must be great with the gentle heat and long moist cooking.

    • Hi Stefan,
      Next time you risk the trip to these shores, I will show you where we mine the paprika and the factory where cloves and lemons are manufactured. The chickens lasted about 20 minutes (including resting time) once they came out of the smoker. They were delicious. I am really looking forward to doing more and more in it. I must cogitate some smoked / sous vide dishes. Any suggestions welcomed, as always.

      • I have had good results with first smoking with high heat for 10-15 minutes, and then cooking sous-vide. During the low and slow cook, the smoky aromas penetrate all the way through the meat (also because in the vacuum sealed bag, they have nowhere else to go). An interesting phenomenon is that the smoke will leak a bit through the bag. I’ve had great results this way with brisket, leg of lamb, and pork hock. The sous-vide cook is the same time and temperature as without the smoking step, which basically replaces the searing that would otherwise happen before or afterwards.

  • Gorgeous recipe – what colour! How was the ride? I enjoyed seeing your updates on Facebook! And are you enjoying the rugby? The Wales/England match was particularly good…

    • Thanks Nick,
      The Paris2Nice gig was great. Though Ventoux nearly did me in. It is not often we like to see Wales win. Saturday was sweet. I know you would be sad to see the host nation go out (not). The Australia game should be interesting.
      Best,
      Conor

  • Aww the poor wife and her tea strainer! Now you MUST try smoked salmon! I have a post of my husband’s recipe out on my blog, if you care to have a looky-loo. He smokes a mighty-fine salmon! https://anotherfoodieblogger.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/if-you-cant-smoke-a-salmon/

  • Nice indeed!

    • Thanks Mr. F. Tastiest chicken in a long time.

  • I am agog. Brining and smoking. It’s not that it’s not impressive – for it is – but being a culchie myself, I’m a little intimidated by the fanciness and the sheer sophistication of the zeitgeisty retro cooking methods. Then again, I’m not from anywhere as ‘modren’ (not a typo) as Waterford…

    • Ahh get up the yard. We both know just how sophisticated you can be, when you choose to leave the wellingtons outside the back door.

      • How can I get up the yard if my wellies are left outside the door though, Conor? Honestly. Sometimes it’s like you just don’t think.

  • Oh yum…if I didn’t know it, I might think you had some Texas relatives hiding somewhere. Your chicken looks absolutely delicious. Lucky you to have a friend that shares his smoker. 🙂

    • He expects big things of me Karen. Watch out for plenty of smoked treats over the coming weeks.

  • Definitely smokin’ Conor! Looks beautiful!

    • Thanks Mimi, I’m looking forward to doing a lot more with it.

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