If you're not familiar with a kamado it's a derivation of an ancient Chinese clay cooking pot that was later adapted by the Japanese (who named it Mushikamado) and it finally made it to the western world in the middle of the last century. Nowadays the clay has been replaced by high performance ceramic, it still typically is fueled by charcoal but the versatility of the ceramic barbecue grill is pretty amazing. There's a variety of brands on the market such as the Primo kamado and the Big Green Egg but it has to be said that trying to find a kamado ceramic barbecue in Europe is still a thankless task.
The kamado is so versatile in that you can use it as a grill, smoker or even as an oven. The temperatures you can reach make it possible to cook pizza and I also like to use mine to mimic the tandoor and it's great for chicken tikka and naan bread. For today however I'm going to concentrate on the whole chicken and use my kamado as a smoker and a traditional oven.
A roast chicken dinner has to be one of my favorites and cooking the chicken in the kamado makes for a fantastically moist bird and what's more it could not be more simple. It's just a matter of heating the kamado up to the normal roasting temperature of 180 ° C and applying the rule of 20 minutes per pound plus 20 minutes and you'll get it right first time and every time. Put a drip tray under the bird with about an inch of water in it for added moisture and really tasty gravy.
Because you're cooking at a normal roasting temperature you can also do your roast potatoes at the same time and just one final tip for the chicken:
Sprinkle the bird with salt and pepper before cooking to give a simple flavor and the salt with crisp up the skin. Stuff the cavity with 10 cloves of garlic.
The kamado barbecue is the most economical smoker that I've ever used. Thinking back to the days of an offset bbq smoker and tending the coals every hour really does not excite me and thankfully since I bought my Big Green Egg it's now become a thing of the past. The kamado has to be the most economical outdoor cooker that I've ever used, load it up with charcoal and it will happily run at a "normal" smoking temperature for five or six hours without the need to tend it. Just keep your eye on the thermometer every hour or so and adjust the vents if appropriate.
All the flavor for smoked chicken has to come from the smoke because if you salt the bird then this will make it dry out. Feel free to season with a little pepper and as an option you can inject the bird with some olive oil and this will keep it super moist and add a little flavor. For smoke, try bbq wood chips from a citrus fruit such as lemon, a subtle flavour for a subtle meat.
The cooking process for smoked chicken is pretty simple, just work on 60 minutes per pound of meat at 120 ° C and you'll be about right. To test whether it's done you can ether use a barbecue thermometer or simply skewer the chicken in the thigh and check that the juices run clear. Once cooked, put the bird aside to rest for 30 minutes, it will still cook and as the chicken cools, the juices will be sealed into the meat and this means that any leftovers will be great cold. Leftover chicken breast can be dry but not if you follow this smoked chicken recipe.