Brining and cooking the chicken on the bone takes extra time, but it’s worth it.






Skill level

Average: 4.7 (9 votes)


  • 8 cups (1.9 L) water
  • 5 tbsp (70 g) plus ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme or
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary or
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 bone-in split chicken breasts
  • 8 tbsp (112 g) salted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup (15 g) parsley leaves, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp Wicked Good Chicken Rub
  • ½ cup of your favourite barbecue sauce (or your favourite chicken rub), divided

Wicked Good Chicken Rub

  • ¼ cup (60 g) packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp (14 g) paprika
  • 1 tbsp (8 g) chili powder
  • 1 tbsp (6 g) ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp (14 g) kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp (9 g) garlic powder
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary leaves


Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make the brine: in a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the water and 5 tbsp of kosher salt. Bring to a simmer. Add the thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Remove from the heat and cool to 5°C. Rinse the chicken breasts in cold water and then submerge in the brine for 24 hours. Once the chicken is brined, remove and pat dry with a paper towel. Preheat the smoker to 150°C with apple or maple hardwood.

Whisk the Wicked Good Chicken rub ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Working in batches if necessary, pulse the mixture in a spice grinder for 30 seconds to ensure even blending. Transfer to an airtight container.

To make the butter: In a small bowl, combine the butter, garlic, olive oil, parsley, lemon zest, 1 tbsp of rub, and the remaining ½ tsp of kosher salt. Mix well.

Separate some of the skin from the chicken breast and slide the butter between the skin and the meat without ripping the skin. Use about 2 tbsp per breast.

Place the buttered chicken breasts in an ovenproof baking dish with any leftover butter. Dust the chicken skin with the remaining 2 tbsp of rub.

Place the pan in your preheated smoker. Every 20 minutes, use a spoon to baste the chicken with the melted butter on the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over low heat, start to warm the barbecue sauce. Once the chicken has hit an internal temperature of 60°C—about 45 minutes—brush the chicken with the hot barbecue sauce. Continue to cook to an internal temperature of 70°C.

Remove the pan from the smoker and set the chicken breast on a rack to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

The remaining butter in the pan can be used on corn, peas, or mashed potatoes or even as a dipping sauce for some toasted French bread.


Wrap room temperature leftover chicken tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.


Recipe from Pitmaster - Recipes, Techniques & Barbecue Wisdom by Andy Husbands and Chris Hart. Photography by Ken Goodman. RRP $29.99 (Murdoch Books)