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The Evil Genius Smoked Barbecue Chicken

Author Rebecca Lindamood


Ingredients needed:

  • bone-in skin-on chicken thighs or drumsticks, or a combination of both
  • seasoning salt
  • barbecue sauce

Equipment needed:

  • chimney style charcoal starter that does NOT have a meltable handle
  • lump charcoal or briquettes
  • grill basket top half or a small toaster oven rack
  • chunks of hickory be sure the chunks are large enough that they will not fall through the rack you use., mesquite, or apple wood, soaked in water for several minutes
  • a large gas or charcoal grill or both!


  • Sprinkle the chicken pieces moderately on all sides with seasoning salt. Set aside.

To Smoke the Chicken:

  • Set the charcoal starter to the side in an unheated grill and close the lid to be sure you can. If necessary, remove one grill rack from the grill so it can set down further into the grill and the lid can close completely. Fill the chimney starter half full with lump or briquette charcoal. Wad the underside of the chimney starter with a paper grocery bag and light it. Put it in the grill in the place you determined would be best. Let the charcoal turn glowing and white before placing the rack on top and positioning the soaked wood chunks over it.
  • Arrange the chicken pieces on the grill to the side of the chimney starter without touching it and close the grill. The smoke stack on the grill should be about 3/4 closed. Open the grill and rotate the chicken pieces every 20 minutes to ensure that each one receives equal smoke, smoking for a total of 2 hours. If you find your hardwood chunks deplete too quickly, you can add another in the process. We did not need to do so.
  • If you are lucky enough to have a separate grill, heat it to low now. If you only have the one grill, remove the chicken and heat it to low or build a bed of low coals in the grill. Place the chicken on the racks and grill for 20 minutes, flipping as necessary to stop flare-ups from the fat that rendered out while smoking. After 20 minutes,work in a sequence and brush with your favourite barbecue sauce. Immediately after brushing all the pieces, flip the chicken and begin your sequence again, brushing each piece. Continue the flip-and-brush sequence for 10 minutes, until you have a thick, sticky layer of caramelized sauce. When it reaches this stage, quickly transfer from the grill to a serving plate.