Smoked Lemon-Chipotle Chickens

1 small sweet onion, quartered
8 large garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons white vinegar
3 chicken bouillon cubes
3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 tablespoons adobo sauce from can
2 teaspoons salt, divided
3 (4 1/2-lb.) whole chickens
Kitchen string
2 1/2 cups hickory or oak wood chips

Process sweet onion, next 7 ingredients, and 3/4 tsp. salt in a food processor or blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Set mixture aside.

Remove excess skin from necks and cavities of chickens, if desired. Starting at large cavities, loosen skin from breasts and legs by inserting fingers and gently pushing between skin and meat. (Do not completely detach skin.)

Place chickens in a large roasting pan. Using a bulb baster, squeeze lemon-chipotle mixture evenly into chicken cavities and under skin on breasts and legs.

Sprinkle chickens evenly with remaining 1 1/4 tsp. salt. Tuck wings under, if desired. Position the center of a 3-foot piece of kitchen string under back of one chicken near tail. Wrap string around legs and around body of chicken. Tie securely at neck. Repeat with remaining chickens.

Soak wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes. Set aside.

Prepare smoker according to manufacturer’s directions. Bring internal temperature to 225° to 250°, and maintain temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. Place chickens on upper cooking grate; cover with smoker lid.

Cook chickens, maintaining the temperature inside the smoker between 225° and 250°, for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Drain reserved wood chips, and place on coals. Cover with smoker lid; smoke chickens 2 hours to 2 hours and 30 minutes more or until a meat thermometer inserted into thighs registers 175°. Remove chickens from smoker; cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let stand 10 minutes or until thermometer registers 180° before slicing.

Yield: Makes 12 servings

this looks so good too. would there be a way of converting this to a bbq recipe?

thanks so much,


ps…i love your tag line. i have one of my grandmothers cast iron frying pans and her wicker laundry basket. i still use it.

Rho, sorry it’s taken me awhile to respond but it has been quite busy around here and I just got around to looking at my threads.

Before my husband got his smoker this is how we smoked our meats. It may be the “redneck way” but it works on either gas or charcoal grills.

Charcoal Grill:

If you’ve a barbecue grill that has a hood, so that it can be completely sealed, you can easily adapt it so that you can smoke your ribs, or other food. The principle of smoking is indirect heat and that’s what you’re trying to create in your barbecue grill. With a charcoal grill, wait until the coals have reached the correct temperature, that’s when they’ve a coating of grey ash. Separate the coals so that there’s a gap in the center. In the gap place a pan of water. Any metal container that can cope with the heat will do. The water turns to steam during the cooking, helping to distribute the smoke better and it helps to keep the ribs really moist. Place the lightly dampened wood chips that you’re using for the smoking onto some aluminium foil and fold up the edges to create parcels. Pierce some holes in the top of the parcels to allow the smoke to escape and place the parcels directly onto the hot coals. Place the ribs above the pan of water and close the hood. Occasionally check the amount of water in the pan and refill as required.

Gas Grill:

The same principal applies. Remove your cooking grates and place wood wrapped in foil directly above your flame, or on your lava rocks, etc. Replace the cooking grates. Place a large and fairly deep (at least 1/2 inch deep) rectangular shaped oven pan (preferable almost as big as the cooking surface on your grill), like a deep cookie pan, on the grates and fill almost up to the top with water. Place your meat on the warming rack. If you have two warming racks, place the meat on the rack immediately above the water. Light the fire and go for it!!! The desired temperature is hot enough to create good steam from the H2O, but cool enough to prevent boiling. On my grill, I turn on all burners, but at the lowest possible setting.

***Do not place any holes in the top of the foil - this will cause the wood to flame (we don’t want flames here, we want slow smoke).

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of smoking the chicken, use chicken breast instead then just make the marinade, add a little bit of hickory liquid smoke and marinade overnight. Next day bbq as usual.

I’ve never made it any other way except for smoking but let me know how it turns out.

that looks so good. thanks so much for taking the time to respond.