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Craig Morgan’s Sweet-Spicy Smoked Chicken

Craig Morgan (right) and Jay Bush
photo courtesy EDELMAN PR
photo courtesy SUPERSTOCK


  • One 4–5 pound chicken, split in half along the backbone


  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary


  • 2 tbsp. thyme
  • 2 tbsp. oregano
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. granulated garlic
  • ¼ cup maple sugar or brown
  • sugar
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper


  1. Pour water, salt, sugar and herbs into a large bowl and add the chicken, making sure it’s under the surface. Brine overnight for a minimum of four hours.
  2. Drain, rinse and pat the chicken dry. Discard brine.
  3. Place rub ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  4. Preheat smoker or grill to between 225° and 240°.
  5. Brush chicken with oil or spray with cooking spray, then apply the rub.
  6. Place both halves on smoker or barbecue grill and cook for one hour. Turn over and rotate chicken halves 180° and continue cooking.

Chicken is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 150°. Cover chicken and let rest for 10–15 minutes. Cut in quarters and serve.

Serves 8