We Got a Smoker and Made Smoked Chicken Minestrone!

We finally bought a smoker which brings us one step closer to being able to make our own sausages using our own gear. The only missing piece now is a sausage stuffer and some know-how. If you have any recommendations on those fronts, hit me up.

Bradely Digital Smart Smoker
Bradley Digital Smart Smoker

So far we have smoked a couple of venison roasts and a whole chicken. The roasts were only ok but the chicken was fantastic. I’ll describe what we did with the chicken below.

The smoker works really well and produces a lot of steady smoke. The smoker has what appears to be a kind of gimmicky feature; Bluetooth. That’s not what sold me on this particular smoker but I have to say now that I’ve tried it, it’s a game changer. I can set the smoker up and forget about it until I get an alert on my phone that whatever I’m smoking has reached the target temperature, or change the oven temperature from my phone etc. It’s pretty slick.

I brined the chicken overnight in a simple water, salt and brown sugar brine. As this was my first time brining anything I decided to keep it really simple so that I will be better able to see how jazzing up the brine makes a difference in the future.

Brining Chicken
Brining Chicken

Next up, the cavity was stuffed with chopped up onions, apples, lemons, garlic and some rosemary.

Chicken Stuffing
Chicken Stuffing

Then the exterior was rubbed with honey and a lemon-garlic seasoning that we picked up from the Savory Spice Shop in Palm Springs and then it was placed in the smoker which was being fuelled by apple wood briquettes.

Venison and Chicken Ready for the Smoker
Venison and Chicken Ready for the Smoker

It was a 6 pound bird so I figured a maximum of 6 hours at 250F, with the stuffing. I’m not sure if elevation is a factor (we are pretty high up here in Calgary at 3300 feet above sea level), or if maybe the smoker’s thermometer needs to be calibrated because it took 10 hours to get the chicken up to temperature (and I even raised the temperature to 300F half way through)! I have also experienced inordinately long cook times on the two venison roasts that I smoked. A little investigation seems to be warranted but I’ll get to that another time.

Smoked Chicken
Smoked Chicken (the cutting board is pink because of beet juice)

Instead of having smoked chicken for dinner it ended up being more of a midnight snack but it was delicious none-the-less. While I didn’t put much rosemary in the stuffing it really came through in the chicken as did the lemon. The onion and garlic were present but less prominent and the apple was very very subtle. The honey rub definitely added a nice dimension.

Naturally I wasn’t about to let that delicious smoked chicken carcass go to waste so we made a smoked chicken stock from it with some carrots, onions, garlic, celery, fennel, and bay leaves.

While looking for some tips on how to make the best stock I stumbled across this post in which the author describes a series of stock experiments. It’s mostly about chicken stock but portions apply to stock in general. If you make stock, give it a read.

Smoked Chicken Stock
Smoked Chicken Stock

Then I turned that stock into a smoked chicken minestrone with the left over smoked chicken. Just the thing to help Janet get over her terrible cold.

mise en place
mise en place
Smoked Chicken Minestrone
Smoked Chicken Minestrone (garnished with celery leaves, parmesan and crispy chicken skin)

Author: Kyle Maclean

IT Guy during the week, hunter, mountain biker, and snowboarder on the weekends. I was born and raised in Calgary and attended the U of C where I completed a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science. Shortly after graduating I got a job with Calgary Alternative Support Services as a Systems Analyst and I've been there ever since.

2 thoughts on “We Got a Smoker and Made Smoked Chicken Minestrone!”

  1. What a great looking smoker Kyle! Hopefully we can nab a few fish this summer and you can practice doing some smoked salmon!

    1. Absolutely! I can’t wait to get back out there to fill some coolers and eventually try my hand at replicating Jim’s killer smoked salmon.

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