Slow-cooked smoked chicken has a tendency to dry out during the long cooking process. Marinating the chicken before smoking it will keep the meat tender and juicy, as well as add another dimension of flavor to the meat. A marinade of butter and herbs will tenderize the meat and load it with fresh flavor. Marinate the chicken for up to 24 hours before smoking, and continue to baste the meat with more marinade as it slow cooks in the smoker.
Remove the chicken from its packaging and wash it thoroughly. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
Add a 1/2 cup of butter to a medium-sized saucepan. Squeeze the juice from one lemon into the pan with the butter. Gently melt the butter and lemon mixture over medium high heat.
Add a 1/4 tsp. each of salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder, dry mustard, basil and thyme to the saucepan.
Mix in a 1/2 tbsp. each of Worcestershire sauce and apple cider vinegar, along with a 1/2 tsp. of sugar and a clove of minced garlic.
Remove the marinade from the heat when the butter has melted and all of the ingredients are mixed together. Allow the marinade to cool completely before putting it on the chicken. If the marinade is too hot, it will prematurely cook the meat.
Place the chicken in a large plastic bag or bowl. Pour the cooled marinade over the chicken and toss to cover. Seal the bag or cover the bowl.
Put the chicken in the refrigerator and allow it to marinate for 2 to 24 hours before smoking it. The longer the meat marinates, the more tender and flavorful it will be.
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator when it is finished marinating. Rest the chicken in the marinade at room temperature for 20 minutes, allowing the temperature of the meat to equalize. Placing very cold chicken into your smoker can result in tough meat.
Shake excess marinade off of the chicken before placing it inside the smoker.