This delicious, classic barbecue sandwich is easy to make. All you need is a simple Weber kettle grill and a little bit of preparation to make some of the best barbecue you have ever eaten.
Smoked pulled chicken is great by itself. What makes this the ultimate pulled chicken sandwich is the combination of the smokey meat with the bright and tangy Alabama White Sauce.
If you are looking for a spectacular, simple and affordable barbecue recipe then you have found the right Instructable!
Step 1: Brine Some Chicken Quarters
We will use the meat from smoked chicken quarters for these incredible sandwiches. You will need to cook one chicken quarter for each sandwich.
To make sure the chicken stays juicy throughout the smoking process we are going to brine the chicken quarters for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
- 1 quart water
- 1/3 cup Morton kosher salt
- 1/3 cup Turbinado sugar
Mix the brine until the salt and sugar has dissolved. Put the chicken quarters in a bowl or plastic bag and cover the chicken with the brine. Place the chicken in the refrigerator while the brine works its magic!
After the chicken has brined (I like to brine overnight when possible) rinse it off and pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
Step 2: Prepare a Standard Charcoal Kettle Grill for Indirect Smoking.
Place about 40 unlit charcoal briquettes on one side of the grill.
Distribute 5 or 6 lit charcoal briquettes across the charcoal pile using a pair of metal barbecue tongs.
Add 1 cup of wood chips to the charcoal pile. I prefer to use hickory or pecan.
Leave the bottom air vents completely open.
Place the chicken quarters on the side of the grill opposite of the charcoal.
Once you see smoke coming from the charcoal pile close the lid of the grill making sure that the top air vent is completely open.
Do not be concerned about the temperature of the grill. The temperature will start out low, ~200F, but will eventually get up to 350-400F.
We do not need to maintain a steady "Low and Slow" temperature profile.
Step 3: Smoke the Chicken Quarters
This is the easiest step because all you have to do is wait!
After you close the lid on the charcoal grill do not open it for 90 minutes.
After 90 minutes raise the lid and insert a digital thermometer into the thigh portion of the chicken quarter.
The chicken is ready when it reaches an internal temperature of at least 185F.
If the chicken is not ready then close the lid, wait another 15 minutes then check again.
The chicken will be safe to eat at much lower temperatures (165-170F). However we want the temperature to be much higher to make sure the chicken meat will fall apart and easily shred.
The reason we brined the chicken was to keep it from drying out while we "over-cooked" it on the grill.
Step 4: Remove, Cool and Shred
After the chicken quarters have been smoked they will look and smell amazing! There is a cruel trick here though. That beautiful chicken skin is going to be rubbery tough and inedible! Don't worry, it makes an excellent snack your your dogs :)
When the chicken is cool enough to handle remove and discard the skin.
Pull the chicken meat off of the bone and shred it with your fingers.
There are pockets of fat as well as a small vein in the thigh section of the chicken quarter. Be on the lookout for these and discard as they are not fun to eat.
Step 5: Make the Alabama White Sauce
You can make this sauce the day before to give the flavors extra time to blend.
Alabama White Sauce
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup cider vinegar
- 2 Tbls white sugar
- 1 Tbls black pepper
- 1 Tbls granulated garlic
- 2 tsp prepared horseradish
Whisk ingredients together until incorporated and sauce is no longer lumpy.
Don't worry if you were not able to make this a day in advance. The sauce is pretty incredible freshly prepared.
This flavor of this sauce is best described as a bright and smooth Ranch dressing with serious bite. It is a classic regional barbecue sauce for chicken.
Step 6: Put It All Together!
Get yourself a large hamburger bun.
Load on a big pile of the shredded smoked chicken.
Pour about three tablespoons of the Alabama White Sauce over the shredded chicken.
Grab a pile of napkins and dig in!
The flavor of the sweet and salty brine, wood smoke and tangy Alabama White Sauce all come together to create the Ultimate Pulled Chicken sandwich!
I hope you try this soon and love it!