Smoked Chicken Halves

Prep 8 hrs Cook 3 hrs


Brine Ingredients

    • 1 gallon water
    • 3/4 c kosher salt (not regular table salt)
    • 1/2 c sugar
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 T cumin
    • 1 T black pepper

Memphis Style Spice Blend

Mop/Spray Ingredients

  • 1 c Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 c Beer
  • 1/2 c BBQ sauce
  • 1 oz Tabasco sauce
  • 1.5 t finely ground pepper
  • 1.5 t ground kosher salt


Ask your butcher to cut the birds in half (or do it yourself like I do, removing the backbone entirely). Soak in the brine mixture for 4-8 hours. When ready to start cooking, remove from the brine and rinse the chicken well.


Rub the chicken halves with the Memphis Style spice blend. Don’t be bashful you need an even coat on the entire surface of the chicken


Place the 1/2 birds on a smoker or grill on indirect heat at 250f. If you are using a Bulldog BBQ just fire it up and when you are at temperature place the chicken on the grill racks. If you’re using a grill, put the hot coals to one side, place a foil pan with liquid (apple juice, water, chicken broth, etc) on the other side and place the chicken over the pan. For this cook, I used cherry wood mixed with lump coal because chicken is very vulnerable to smoke flavors. Baste the chicken with the mop sauce.

The original recipe called for mopping or basting the chicken with the “mop sauce” which is messy. An easier way is to spray the mop on using a cheap squirt bottle. Mop (or spray) the chicken every 30 minutes as it cooks to keep the skin moist. Pull the chicken off of the cooker when it hits 160f in the breast or 175f in the thigh. This is usually about 3 hours. Let rest for 10-15 minutes. Make at least one extra bird so you can make the Smoked Chicken Salad the next day!