The key to holding in moisture while roasting a chicken on the smoker comes in the preparation and that means a salt brine.

Cooking anything on the grill or smoker for the 4th of July weekend has become a tradition for me. And it may be part of your holiday too. If so, then let the rubbing and bringing begin.

Just the thought of the apple and hickory smoke makes my mouth start to gush. But, there's work to be done before your choice of meatheads to the grates.

This weekend my choice is skinless-boneless chicken thighs. I have about a dozen to prepare and my first step will be to put them in a salt brine. One-half cup of kosher salt will be enough in a gallon of water. Then into the cooler overnight.

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Next, I'll be using a 2-1 mix of applewood and hickory chips. Covering with water to sit overnight then drained before smoking time.

If you will be seasoning your chicken, drain the brine, pat dry, and give it a good massage with your secret rub.

After a good 4-5 hours on the smoker, you can crisp up the outside even more by placing your smoked bird in a 400-degree oven uncovered for 20 minutes. Though for this weekend the chicken thighs shouldn't take as long.

I'll be relaxing alongside the smoker in the shade with a tall glass or two of . . . .

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