If you don’t have a smoker, you can still make this recipe if you:
A) Are fortunate enough to know of a grocer who sells whole smoked chickens with no artificial ingredients or flavorings.
B) Have a friend or acquaintance who smokes chickens but normally throws the carcass away. (Just don’t ever let them taste your broth or they’ll start keeping their carcasses to make their own, and you’ll be back to square one!)
For more great recipes and all of the grocery shopping tips you need to ensure that you select the most additive-free versions of all ingredients needed to make this recipe (and all of my recipes), check out my book “Eating Additive-Free“!
MAKES ~ 12 cups
- Cooked carcass and skin from 1 whole, smoked chicken (if there are a few meat scraps still dangling from the bones, that’s all the better)
- 1 large onion (skin on), chopped into large chunks
- 2 or 3 large carrots, cut into large chunks
- 1/2 bunch celery, cut into large chunks (I usually use the inner stalks/leaves)
- 1 head/bulb of garlic (skin on), cut in half so all cloves are cut in half
- 1 heaping TBSP sea salt
- 1/2 TBSP whole peppercorns
- 2 TBSP Bragg brand apple cider vinegar (optional)
- about 4 quarts water
Place all ingredients in a large crock pot. Cook on low 8-12 hours. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. (Make sure your strainer is fine mesh, so no bone slivers slip through!) Discard all bones, skin and veggies. To remove excess fat from the strained broth, allow it to cool completely in the fridge. The fat will settle to the top and harden a bit, so you can scrape/skim it off if you’d like. Use right away, or can/freeze in the portion sizes you most often use!
I’ve tried all sorts of recipes, rubs, etc. for smoking chicken. Honestly, I found it to be a pain, so I decided one day to just throw the chickens into the smoker plain – I’m talkin’ absolutely no oil, butter, seasoning or anything. And they tasted just fine to us (especially given the labor savings). So that’s the way we always smoke them now!
We’ve also grown fond of stuffing our smoker to the max – after all, if you’ve gotta clean it, might as well make it worth your time. In our smoker, that means smoking 4 birds at a time.
We eat the meat warm (as quarters) for dinner on the day we smoke them. Then I take all the meat and skin off the carcasses and make 4 batches of broth over the following 48 hours. (Of course, if you don’t have time/desire to make the broth immediately, you can also throw the carcasses/skin in the freezer for later use.) I cut or rip apart all of the meat, and we eat some of it in salads over the next few days. The rest is thrown into the freezer for future use! I just LOVE to cook once, and eat a bunch of times!
I’m not including smoking instructions here because every smoker is different. Ours happens to take about 4 hours to get to the point that the meat is falling off the bones 🙂