Sous-B-Q™: Smoked Half Chickens

This simple preparation demonstrates the superiority and versatility of vacuum processed chicken. Smoking will enhance the experience.



This recipe utilizes chickens that were cut in half along the backbone. They are frequently marketed in this form, you can ask your butcher. The chickens can be cut up into smaller pieces before processing without altering the procedure or results; Leaving the bone in and the skin intact retains the rustic feel of the dish.

Chicken, 2 halves each, intact. For instructions on how to cut a whole chicken in half for this recipe, click HERE.
Powdered egg white, as needed, or fresh if preferred, 1 each.
Desired seasonings, or one ours from HERE.



Equipment requirements
Immersion circulator, portable or stationary.
Heat rated container, minimum of 2 gallons/8 liters.
Heat rated sous vide bags, 2 each.
Hot smoker or barbecue.
Kitchen tongs, metal.
Infrared or probe thermometer.


Above: Lipavi C15 container, N15 polycarbonate racks. Lipavi C15L-UNIR lid.

Actual prep time, 1 hour
Serves 4-6
Level of difficulty: 2.75


Preheat the sous vide bath to 135 F/57 C. Load the chicken into heat rated vacuum bags.

Process the chicken fully submerged as shown in the slide above for 6 hours.

When the interval has elapsed, shock the packages in iced water until they achieve 70 F/21 C. Refrigerate at 40 F/4 C until day of service. The sealed packages can be safely refrigerated in this state for at least two weeks.

Day of service

Remove the packages from the refrigerator and submerge in hot tap water (or an operating sous vide bath) for five minutes to loosen the gel. Cut a hole in the plastic pouch(es) and drain the juices into a microwaveable container or small sauce pan. Add 0.5 cups/125 ml water and clarify the juices according to the procedure explained HERE. Set the juices aside.

Pat the chicken dry and lay out on parchment, skin side down.

Dust with powdered egg white (or fresh if preferred, sparingly). This creates a sticky surface for seasonings to cling to.

Mist with water to liquify the egg whites (not necessary if you use fresh).

When I am planning to bbq/smoke, I add a pinch of sugar and paprika to whatever seasoning blend I am using.

Turn the chickens skin side up.

Dust with powdered egg white.

Mist with water to create the sticky surface. Fresh egg white can also be used.

Sprinkle again with the seasonings.

Mist with oil and let rest for five minutes.

Arrange the chicken on a metal Lipavi rack so that smoke can circulate freely. Stage into a smoker set to 180 F/82 C or thereabouts.

These were smoked for 4.5 hours/until the desired color was achieved.

Cut into desired sizes and serve. Try our Dark Side sauce as a zesty accompaniment.

Norm King

Be sure to visit us on Facebook at (1) SVR–Sous Vide Resources; Low Temperature Pasteurization, Sous-B-Q™, | Facebook


It's almost impossible to find anyone who doesn't like chicken cooked "outside." Whether we call it barbecuing, grilling or smoking, everybody's eyes light up in the summer months as the weekend approaches.

As much as we love the idea of barbecued chicken, we are all familiar with the all too common end product--scorched skin, dry meat, and blood on the bone. Sous vide processing solves all three of these problems in one fell swoop. The chicken is pasteurized before encountering the smoker, so we needn't concern ourselves with the delicate balance between palatability and safety. The color of the skin finally becomes a fairly accurate indicator of degree of doneness!


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