For at least the last couple of years, I've been pondering getting a smoker. It's always been hard to justify, partially because of the price and partially because I'm not sure how often I'd actually use just a smoker. As I did some research, the Big Green Egg looked like it might be a serious contender. It can cook at low enough temperatures for smoking, but it can also get hot enough for searing steaks and even grilling pizza with great results. The problem is, it's really expensive. Recently, I got the bug again and started researching it more. As I looked around the internet, I found an interesting alternative at about 1/3 the price of the Big Green Egg. For an early Father's Day/Anniversary/Birthday present, I got myself a Char-Griller Akorn Kamado grill. Other than being insulated steel instead of ceramic, it's extremely similar at a MUCH nicer price point. Here's the grill:
After getting it assembled and doing an initial burn-in to cook off any residue from manufacturing/shipping, my first test with it today was a smoked chicken. The end result was one of the best chickens I've ever made (agreed upon by all four members of our house) with a very minimal amount of active cooking time. Can't wait to try more things!
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Brine the chicken in a salt/brown sugar mixture for 2 hours, making sure it's completely covered in water. I also like to add a little bit of apple cider vinegar to the brine.
- Combine dry ingredients and cover the chicken with the rub.
- Bring smoker up to 350F. Place chicken on smoker over indirect heat and cover.
- Cook until internal temperature is 165F, about 20 minutes per pound.
I used lump charcoal and a couple chunks of hickory. I also used the chicken stand from my vertical rotisserie, but you can put it straight on the grill if needed.