Update: The Giveaway and Coupon from this post has ended — but the recipe is still awesome so scroll to the end to find out how to make the BEST Crazy Good Smoked Chicken Ever!
Just in time for Father’s Day, Matt reviews an AWESOME & EASY TO USE smoker we highly recommend you check out. We’ve included our review, a CRAZY GOOD recipe and a don’t miss the end of the post for the GIVEAWAY and a DISCOUNT CODE for you to use on the dad in your life that would want one as much as Matt… or get it for yourself, we won’t tell!
A while ago, one evening while sorting through our inbox, Stacy asked me if I wanted to review a gas-powered smoker. I think my reply went something like, “YES!” After months and months of reviewing cookbooks and beauty products and soaps and candles, someone finally asked themselves, “What can we do for Matt?”
And at my doorstep not long after arrived the Camp Chef Smoke Vault from OutdoorCooking.com. Of course, at the time I was in the middle of the toughest part of writing the book and I knew I didn’t have the time to really investigate the tool and recipes the way I wanted. So I (impatiently) waited before I opened the box. When we finally turned in the first draft last week, I was overjoyed to make this review happen.
I assembled it in less than an hour was very excited to smoke my first meal with it. It was huge, so we wanted to make sure to use it to it’s maximum potential on our official review run. The boys decided it was big enough that we should smoke Wesley.
No, we didn’t eat smoked 4 year old, but we certainly could have! This thing is really big inside. Enough room to try multiple things! It would be awesome to smoke several of batches of bacon all at the same time to stock up for months. Instead we went with your standard assortment of 20 pounds of meat. Brisket on the top, chicken in the middle, and pork on the bottom. What better way to truly test it than to try all the things?
And because it was such a beautiful day and we had so much to share, we invited Stacy’s StrongMan training buddies to eat with us after their Sunday workout. Because if anyone can devour 20 pounds of meat, it’s them. As you can see, it turned out beautifully! They brought the sides (melon wrapped prosciutto, chips and guacamole, hard cider) and we provided the meat and plethora of Steve’s and Tessemae’s sauces as well as fermented sauerkraut and pickles. We also finally met Jennifer’s family from Predominantly Paleo. Stacy met Jennifer at a couple of events last year and has been oogling her food photos for months (remember her guest post not long ago). She brought perogies made with a yuca dough filled with bacon that did NOT disappoint!
Let me tell you: gas smoking is so much easier than charcoal smoking in ways I hadn’t even considered. With my old charcoal smoker, I was spending so much time adjusting the coals and working on keeping the air vents adjusted just right for the right amount of heat. Not only does the Smoke Vault have a large thermometer on the front so that I know what temperature I’m getting, but because the gas is adjustable, I could zero in on the exact temperature I wanted. Also, because the cabinet is one piece, I knew my smoke was getting where it needed and not sneaking out the cracks.
I knew it was working when I could still smell my meat cooking one street over.
Want to get one for the special father in your life (or yourself?) We snagged you a coupon!
The brisket is a work in progress – lesson learned there, don’t used a trimmed brisket and expect a short smoking time (3 hours was far too long). I didn’t achieve the La Barbecue result I wanted to, but we’ll continue to perfect that recipe this summer and hopefully share eventually! The pork recipe was just as fantastic (and much easier with the Vault) as the recipe we perfected for Beyond Bacon (lots of smoke recipes in it). But let me tell you about the chicken. I didn’t even want to do chicken because all the smoked poultry I’ve ever had was dried out and unappealing. But this stuff was the bomb, baby. Tender and moist inside, crispy skin and incredible flavor – you have GOT to try it!
- 4 lbs. whole chicken
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1/2 Tbsp rosemary
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp dried lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- Cut chicken in half along the breast bone and spine. Sharp kitchen scissors and a cleaver work best for this.
- In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients into a rub.
- Rub in spice mixture on the skin by hand.
- Place chicken cut side down on the middle rack of your Smoke Vault.
- Smoke for two hours at 300 degrees. To serve, let rest at least 15 minutes to ensure juice remains in chicken. Then, chop in half again into quarters. Serve with your favorite sauce.