Smoked Chicken Stock

This rich, smoky stock made from the carcass of a smoked chicken (or two) might be my favorite recipe in my latest cookbook, “Thank You For Smoking.” The deeply flavored results are so satisfying and elevate countless meals, including gumbo, tortilla soup, chicken and dumplings, and need I mention gravy?

When I smoke chickens with the intention of making stock, I put the drip pan to work. Since it catches the delicious seasoned drippings and heats for about an hour, I infuse that liquid with additional aromatics, just as I would when simmering stock. (Whenever I ask a butcher to spatchcock or split chickens for me, I save and freeze the backbones for these occasions.) I also take extra care to keep the drip pan mixture free of ash. I clean the grates before I place the drip pan on the grate, and use a light hand when moving hot embers or adding more fuel, so I don’t kick up a flurry of ashes.

Seasoning chickens or turkey (I often smoke extra necks or backbone for stock) with The Usual, our blend that’s great with everything and smells rich and comforting, like the holidays, will result in an exceptionally flavorful broth.

Smoked Chicken Stock

Makes about 2 quarts

  • 1 smoked chicken carcass, plus additional chicken parts from drip pan (such as smoked chicken or turkey backs or necks) that have been seasoned with The Usual
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 white or yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 or 4 stems fresh flat-leaf parsley, to taste
  • 3 or 4 fresh bay leaves, torn
  • 10 to 12 black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 8 to 10 cups water

Place the carcass in a large stockpot. Spear the cloves into 2 of the onion quarters and add them to the pot along with the remaining onion quarters, the carrot, celery, garlic, parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt, and enough water so the carcass is floating and mostly submerged. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then immediately turn the heat to low and simmer very gently for 4 hours, skimming as necessary.

Once the stock has reached your desired concentration, remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool briefly. Discard the solids and strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass container. Refrigerate the stock for at least 2 hours or overnight, and then skim the fat from the top. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 4 months.


Grill-side banter provided by food writer, cookbook author and grilling enthusiast, Paula Disbrowe.

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