There are about 15 species of hickories in North America and eastern Asia. Hickories are valuable for their tough, hard wood. Some of the common uses are for handles of tools, especially axes, hammers, and picks as well as for baseball bats and furniture. As a result, hickory burns slowly and produces a great deal of heat.
The best use for hickory, as we see it, is for smoking and curing meats in hickory smoke. And that is what we have for you today! BTW, hickories belong to the walnut family.
Make sure you have access to chips of wood made from hickory to be used in creating the smoke. For variety, you may also select pecan, oak, apple or cherry. Avoid strong woods such as mesquite. Start with:
4 chicken breasts w/bone in
Next, in a glass bowl, mix the following dry ingredients:
4 tsp olive oil (classic)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp lemon zest
1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
Soak the chips in water, beer or wine at least one hour. Coat the chicken with the oil and then rub in the dry ingredient mixture. Refrigerate for several hours before using. Heat the grill with the fire on one side. Take the wood chips, drained and place them in a cast iron smoker box or enclosed in heavy duty aluminum foil. Place this on the hot fire and cover with the lid.
When the chips begin smoking, open the lid and place the chicken on the side of the grill away from the heat and re-cover. Cook at 325 degrees until the chicken's internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove and taste the pleasure of Hickory Smoked Chicken!