- 3 to 4 oak, hickory, or pecan wood chunks
- 1 cup firmly packed piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar) (about 1 [8-ounce] cone)*
- 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
- 1 tablespoon table salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 (3 3⁄4- to 4-pound) whole chickens
Hands-on 15 minutes - Total time about 4 hours
1. Soak the wood chunks in water to cover 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, combine the piloncillo and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Rub the chickens with the piloncillo mixture, and let stand 30 minutes.
3. Prepare the smoker according to manufacturer’s directions. Place water pan in smoker; add water to depth of fill line. Bring internal temperature to 225° to 250°F, and maintain temperature 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Drain the wood chunks, and place on coals. Place the chickens on cooking grate; cover with smoker lid. Smoke 2 1⁄2 to 3 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of thighs registers 165°F.
5. Remove the chickens from smoker, and let stand 20 minutes before slicing.
*Piloncillo is a raw sugar made from reduced cane juice. It’s sold molded into cone shapes and is sometimes labeled panela. To measure, place the cone in a zip-top plastic freezer bag, and pound it with a meat mallet to break it apart. Dark brown sugar may be substituted for piloncillo.
NOTE: Excerpted from Texas BBQ by the Editors of Southern Living. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved