From the Kitchen: Deboned Smoked Chicken

Smoked Poultry

Our very first Thanksgiving together, my husband and I established a tradition of making our meals non-traditional. That is to say, although we might make something that looks traditional, preparation and ingredients wouldn’t be.

Over the years we’ve also gone outside the American tradition, making an Italian meal, or improvising something more Middle-Eastern, and so on. No meal, however, ever turned out nearly as good as this one.

This one was special.

It’s our own recipe, and I’m recreating it here from memory, which means it may not be quite as successful in the remake as the original; still, it should turn out like nothing you’ve ever tasted before. We’ve since attempted it with turkey, but it didn’t quite capture the beauty of the original made with chicken. I bet you could do it with duck, too, though you’d want to compensate a little for the type of meat.

1 Large chicken (5+ pounds is good – anything smaller will be a pain to debone)
Moroccan Spice Mix
(to taste)
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup warm chicken stock or water
One 5.6oz box Near East toasted pine nut couscous, separated into its components
Prepare your grill for smoking, using a mix of mesquite and hickory chips: soak the chips in some warm water while you prepare everything else. Keep the grill at 350°.

Carefully debone your chicken, leaving only the wing bones intact. (If you have a really good butcher, you might ask him or her to do this for you).

Place the deboned chicken on a platter and rub the spice mix in the cavity.

Chop the apricots into cubes about the size of the raisin (half an inch).
In a bowl, combine the raisins, chopped apricots, water, couscous, and the pine nut packet. Leave out the spice mix, as the chicken juices and rub will flavor the stuffing enough already.

Stuff the chicken cavity with the couscous mix, and stitch closed with cooking twine (or a good quality, thick cotton thread if that’s all you have).

Place your pre-soaked chips in your grill according to your favorite method. We simply made an aluminum container in which we placed the chips, then laid those on the grill. Line the grill’s grate with aluminum foil. Now carefully lay the chicken on the lined grill, close the lid and don’t touch it for an hour or two (or until it’s golden brown and delicious, and the juices run clear), making sure the temperature remains steady.

Remove from grill and let settle for 15 minutes. Serve with a side of green beans and flat bread, if you like.

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