After writing some other instructables on making BBQ using a Water Smoker, I kept getting the same question "Can I do this using indirect grilling?" The answer is yes, you don't absolutely need a smoker, althoiugh I prefer it. I decided to do an instructable for BBQ Chicken breasts using a small Weber Kettle I usually use for the "hamburger, hot dog" crowd. Before you ask, yes you can use a water smoker to do this instructable.
Step 1: What You Will Need
You will need:
A Kettle type grill
A small pot that will fit in the grill and allow the grate to fit over
Thermometer which will read at least to 300 degrees
About 5 lbs charcoal
About 2 qts of boiling water
4 chicken breasts
A brining solution
A chicken spice rub
Step 2: The Evening Before, Brine the Chicken Breasts
This is a simple brine. Stir 1/4 Cup of Kosher salt, 1/4 Cup of White sugar into about 2 qts of cold water, and stir until disolved. If you want to add an additional flavor, such as bay leaf, now is the time. .I say about, because if the solution isn't enough to cover the chicken breasts in whatever bowl or bag you chose, you can add water without harming the brine (within limits) I add a pretty heavy duty spice rub the next day, so I just want to get some juice into the breasts. Put the breasts into the brine the evening before, cover and refrigerate overnight (8 hrs to 24 hrs). I know some of you will want to skip this step, but it really does insure a tender juicy chicken breast. If you do chose to skip this step, I am making a notation in the next step "getting the chicken red rub together"
Step 3: Getting the Chicken Red Rub Together
This is my usual chicken rub for a brined chicken:
2 Tablespoons paprika
2 Tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
(If you chose NOT to brine the chicken, up the Kosher salt to 1 Tablespoon)
You can make this rub way ahead and keep it in a jar. If you do chicken often, up the quantities.
Step 4: The Next Day, Spice the Chicken
Remove the chicken from the brine, remove the skin, and pat dry. Dispose of the brine. Roll the chicken in the spice mix untill well coated. Put on plate, cover and refrigerate while you get the grill set up.
Step 5: I Add a Pot to My Kettle Grill to Get the Effect of a Water Smoker
I have a small pot which fits under the grill grate in my Weber. Since my grill is small, I feel it gives me more room to put charcoal than using an aluminum pan. Put the pot in, and fill with boiling water. If you use cold water you will have to wait a long time for your kettle to come up to temp, and you'll use a lot of charcoal. I use about 1/2 of a 5 LB bag to begin. The first charcoal I start right in the kettle an leave the bottom vent wide open. When the charcoals are covered with white ash, I put the cover on and wait for the grill to come to between 220F-250F.
Step 6: Adding the Chicken to the Grill
When the grill hits 220F, I take my chicken from the refrigerator, put it on a sheet of aluminum foil and make a "pan" of the foil. This actually reflects the direct heat away from the chicken. Put a few holes in the foil toward the middle for any drips to drain into the pot. Even without the skin, there will be some. In the picture I have added a few sweet potatoes. They will cook in the same amount of time, but I won't mention again in this instructable. Put the cover on the grill, and put your termometer into one of the top vents(see picture). After the grill hits the 220 mark, start closing the bottom vent until the grill maintains the proper temperature. 220- 250 is fine,
Step 7: The Chicken Will Take Between 3 to 4 Hours
Maintain the low temperature by adjusting the vent. When your temperature begins to drop and the bottom vent is wide open you will have to start more charcoal to add to the kettle. This will happen about an hour and a half into the cooking. You can either use my "Cinderblock" method which in this case I set up on top of my Water smoker because I wasn't using it, or a chimney starter. Start checking the temperature of the chicken after 3 hours. With brined chicken I shoot for 160 degrees before I direct grill (will explain in next step). If you chose NOT to brine, I would aim for 150 degrees before direct grilling
Step 8: Direct Grill the Chicken Just to Add Some Color
When the chicken hits the magic temperature, remove the water "pot" from the grill and spread the coals over the grill. Open the bottom vent. Direct grill the chicken for about 5 minutes on each side just to give it some color. Move to a plate and cover with foil to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 9: After Resting, Slice the Chicken and Serve.
The chicken I used was bone in half chicken. I remove the bone after the chicken rests, and slice it thin. It comes out flavorful and juicy. Give it a try.