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Classic Barbecue-Marinated Pulled Chicken

Entree, Recipes

Crooked River BBQ + Beer, which has two northeast locations, originally started out as two Old Carolina BBQ franchises. After nearly four years, owner Todd Schafer relaunched to focus instead on the Buckeye State, sourcing nearly everything — even the beer — from within Ohio. The restaurant offers more than a dozen smoked meats and hot dogs, as well as fresh takes on standard barbecue sides. But one of the most popular items is the pulled chicken, which Schafer says is a safe bet to try smoking at home. “What’s nice about poultry is that [it], of course, absorbs everything, especially a marinade that has a saltier base to it.” 

Classic Barbecue-Marinated Pulled Chicken
| Serves 8
Adapted from a recipe courtesy of Crooked River BBQ + Beer  

Gas grill
Hardwood chips for grill
Smoker box or foil tray 
Meat thermometer

1 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4–6 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breast and thighs 
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons ground mustard
1/4 cup black pepper
1/3 cup chili powder
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 cup salt
1 teaspoon cayenne 
2 tablespoons cumin

Combine the liquid ingredients in a large bowl or zip-top bag and mix thoroughly. Submerge chicken and marinate at least 4 hours or overnight. Soak 5 cups hardwood chips in water at least 1 hour. Remove chicken from marinade and discard liquid. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Combine dry ingredients and generously coat the chicken. Light just one grill burner to medium and place soaked wood chips directly over the heat source, either in a smoker box or foil tray. Place chicken, skin side up, onto grill, avoiding direct heat. Cover and cook at 290 F, checking infrequently until internal temperature is at least 165 F and meat begins to separate from the bone (60 to 90 minutes). Cool until chicken can be easily handled and shred with two forks or your fingers. Serve with your favorite sauce on a bun, use it to fill tacos or just enjoy plain.