Did you know that all the meat chickens we raise are female?

We purchase all of our day-old baby chicks from Moyers Hatchery in Quakertown, Pennsylvania and have them shipped to us via the US Post Office. When the COVID pandemic began just over two years ago, I had a hard time placing my chick orders. Amid the panic, I guess, was a lot of people planning to raise and slaughter their own chickens and day-old chicks were in short supply!

It seemed, however, that all these panicked buyers were opting for male chicks. True, males grow much larger and at a faster rate. I was accustomed to buying “straight run” chicks, meaning a mix of males and females. If I were to get any chicks at all, I had to order all females.

The forced experiment turned out to be rather pleasant, giving us slightly slower growing birds. Slower growth generally coincides with more flavor and healthier animals—and we’ve been hooked ever since!

Eldest daughter Harper makes smoking a chicken look easy!

Smoke Our Chicken, Please!

You may recall that hubby Peter has been cooking one of our chickens every week to replace his deli meat habit after a high blood pressure diagnosis. Our daughters have taken to gobbling up his chicken, much to his dismay.

But in our house, if you eat it, you can learn how to make it! With the hot, humid days we’ve been experiencing, eldest daughter Harper has taken to cooking chicken outside, on our gas grill.

Her latest is a modified verson of America’s Test Kitchen Smoked Chicken. You can smoke a whole chicken (best if you spatchcock it), halves (as she did for the picture above), or your favorite variety of cuts.

Smoked Chicken
1 C salt
1 C sugar
4 quarts plus 2 cups cold water
6 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken parts
3 T vegetable oil
Cracked black pepper
3 C wood chips, soaked in water for 15 minutes & drained
2 large pieces heavy duty aluminum foil
1 disposable aluminum roasting pan or disposable aluminum pie plate

Dissolve salt & sugar in 4 quarts cold water in large container. Submerge chicken, cover, and refrigerate for one hour. Remove from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Brush chicken evenly with oil and season with pepper.

Make two packets out of aluminum foil and divide wood chips between them, sealing tight. Cut vent holes in tops of foil packets.

FOR CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent halfway; arrange 2 quarts unlit charcoal on one side, and disposable pan filled with 2 cups water on other side. Light chimney starter half filled with charcoal and when top coals are partially covered with ash, pour on top of unlit charcoals. Set wood chip packets on top of coals. Replace cooking grate, cover, and open lid vent halfway. Heat until hot and wood chips begin to smoke, about 5 minutes.

FOR GAS GRILL: Place wood chip packets directly on primary burner. Place disposable pie plate filled with 2 cups water on other burners. Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat until hot and wood chips begin to smoke, about 10 minutes. Turn primary burner to medium-high and turn off other burners, maintaining grill temperature around 325*.

Clean and oil cooking grate. Place chicken on cool side of grill, skin side up, as far away from heat as possible with thighs closest to heat and breasts farthest away. Cover and cook until breasts register 160* and thighs 175*, approximately 75-90 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Trouble Sleeping?

Youngest daughter Margaret found herself wide awake at 5am the other day, earlier than she wanted to be up. I don’t know about you, but I typically roll over and somehow manage to get back asleep when this happens. Not Margaret. She decided to climb our 60-foot-tall Harvestor silo to watch the sun rise. She snapped this picture with a view of the valley below:

This Week

The “egg situation” (as we’ve been calling it) has been slowly improving! We continue to have lots of fresh chicken, feta for your salads, and a fresh batch of goat’s milk gelato (Peanut Butter Chip, Cardamom, and Orange Creamsicle to name a few.)

Order HERE or catch us at the Clinton Farmer’s Market on Thursdays, 10am-4pm. Our farm store is open every day, 10am-6pm, where we have even more goodies from many of our farmer friends.

Can’t make it to the market? The online farmer’s market Local Foods Mohawk Valley has you covered!

Thank you, as always. If there is anything we can do for you, please let us know!

Suzie & Peter