Get ready for a crowd!Aurora Catering's

Chuck-Wagon Style BBQ Chicken
Yield - 48 Dinner Servings

12 LARGE WHOLE CHICKENS (See Chef's Notes)
1 PINT HOUSE SEASONINGS (See Recipe)  OR Choose one from our Pantry of Dry Rubs

Cut the whole chickens in half and place in a 60 quart stock pot.  In a separate 8 quart stock pot, bring about a gallon of water to boil.  Add salt and liquid smoke, whisk to dissolve salt.  Add a half gallon of ice to quickly chill the water.  This process will make a super saturated brine solution.  Add the saline solution to the 60 quart, fill with cold water just enough to cover chicken. Cover chicken stock pot with film and marinade in the refrigerator for 24 hours, turning occasionally. See Chef's Notes.

Use a bar-b-que pit that has a cover and uses coals.  The pit should have a surface area of a minimum of 1,200 square inches of cooking surface area. Once the pit is hot spread the coals evenly below the grill, make sure there are no open flames, clean grating with a wire brush and coat with peanut oil.

Remove the chicken halves from brine solution, liberally sprinkle both sides of the halves with the dry rub, and place bone side down on grill.  IMMEDIATELY, cover the grill with the lid and CLOSE any air dampers to ensure an oxygen starved pit.  Allow the chickens to cook undisturbed for 25 - 30 minutes.  Check occasionally for open flames.

Open lid and turn chicken halves (with tongs not a fork) breast side down. During the turning, look for hot spots and move lesser done chickens to the hot spots and move the more cooked chickens to the cooler areas.  Cover the grill quickly and allow the chickens to grill another 25 -30 minutes.

Open the lid and turn the chickens, again look for hot and cool spots and move the chickens accordingly.  This is the best way to make sure that all of the meat is cooked evenly.  Close lid and roast for an additional 15 minutes.

Alternate Method
After the last turning, brush the chickens with your favorite BBQ Sauce. The last cooking time will warm the sauce and much will soak into the grilled skin.

Chuch-Wagon Chicken HalvesPlate Presentation
These chickens are beautiful like they are, just coming off of the pit.

Chef's Notes:
Whole chickens are cheaper than pre-cut ones AND it is important to grill the inside of the chicken first.  This is because there is less fat on the inside of the chicken then on the skin.  The coals are at their hottest during the first grilling, and therefore it is most likely to have a flare up of an open flame during this grilling.

A brine solution is one that will literally add salt to the meat, which in turn keeps the molecules of meat moist while cooking.

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Chef Emile L. Stieffel, Aurora Catering, Inc. email address:
Copyright 1995 Aurora Catering, Inc. All rights reserved.
Revised: August 22, 2011.