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BBQ Oolong Tea Smoked Chicken

Juicy and succulent whole chickens smoked with the essence of Teasenz oolong tea, anise, orange peel, brown sugar and rice and then glazed with a five spiced sticky and delicious honey soya glaze.
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 4
Calories: 274kcal
Author: HWC Magazine


Chicken Marinade

  • 8 drumsticks chicken legs
    (or can use chicken thighs, whole split chicken or chicken breasts on the bone)
  • ½ cup rice wine (shao xing)
    or dry cooking sherry
  • 2 tablespoon tamari (soy) sauce (if you are not gluten sensitive dark soya sauce is great to use)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
    1 tablespoon grated fresh (can also use 1 teaspoon dried ground)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
    (can also use canola oil or light flavored oil)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
    to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns (ground)
    (if you do not have just exchange with white or black peppers but I love the thumb numbing sensation of the Szechuan peppercorns)

Tea and Herb Smoking Packet

  • 2 sheets aluminium foil
    (I had to double mine as mine were thin)
  • 1.5 cups Oolong tea
    (½ cup Teasenz Red Robe Da Hong Pao and ½ cup Teasenz Anxi Tie Guan Yin) ½ cup extra of Red Robe Da Hong Pao to add midway of the smoking process.
  • ½ cup rice Jasmine long grain rice (or other rice as desired, do not use instant rice)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar (½ cup for initial packet- reserve ¼ cup for half way
  • 5 slices orange peel
  • 5 whole star anise (if do not have can exchange with 1 tablespoon of 5 spiced powder)
  • 4 sticks cinnamon
    or 1 tablespoon ground

Ginger Honey Soy Glaze

  • ½ cup honey (if diabetic exchange with ½ cup dietetic orange marmalade)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
    fresh or ¾ teaspoon ground
  • ½ cup tamari (soy) sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  • Marinate the chicken legs or (chicken thighs, chicken breasts on the bone or split whole chicken breast) in shaoxing (rice wine), tamari (soy) sauce, orange zest, ginger and garlic overnight or at least for 1 hour to allow the the flavours to penetrate.
  • Create the Tea and Herb Smoking Packet: Double layer your aluminium foil (about a 18 inches or 46 cm) on a flat surface and lay the following ingredients onto the center of the aluminium foil...oolong teas (set aside ½ cup for later) , rice, brown sugar (set aside ¼ cup for later), oranges peels, star anise and cinnamon. Fold in the 2 sides and leave a small vent at the top of the packet to allow the smoke to escape.
  • Place the tea and herb packet under the grill plates on the side of the grill that gets hottest and turn on medium heat and wait until the tea and herb packet to get hot and start smoking well. (about 10 minutes)
  • In the mean time, remove the chicken from the marinade. Dry the chicken well with a paper towels (this helps make the chicken crispy on the grill). Rub the chicken with olive oil all over and season with salt and Szechuan peppercorns (ground).
  • Place the prepared chicken on the grill. I put the chicken on one side of the grill that had more gentle heat and had the tea and herb packet on the side of the grill with stronger heat. Grill and smoke chicken, depending on size for about 30 to 45 minutes on medium heat. (About 20 minutes into the grilling/smoking of the chicken you will need to spoon the ½ cup reserved oolong tea and ¼ cup of brown sugar carefully into the opening of the tea and herb packet on the grill as the when the tea burns off it stopes smoking)
  • Make the Ginger Honey Soy Glaze: On the stove top in a small pan heat up the honey (or dietetic orange marmalade if diabetic), ginger, tamari (soy) sauce and sesame oil just until slightly thick (about 3-4 minutes). Remove from heat.
  • In the last 5-10 minutes of the grilling/smoking of the chicken, brush on the sticky honey ginger soy glaze.
  • Enjoy your finger licking aromatic BBQ Oolong Tea Smoked Chicken and serve with a delicious pot of Anxi Tie Guan Yin (oolong tea ) from Teasenz.


  • Marinating is best done overnight to allow the flavors to infuse, but if all you have is an hour or less, no worries.
  • You need to dry your chicken with paper towels really well before putting them on the grill so that the skin stays nice and crispy.
  • You can use a whole split chicken, chicken thigh, drumsticks, etc. It is best to use chicken on the bone as it has so much more flavor and takes longer to cook and this way it has more time to infuse with the tea and herb smoker.
  • You can try many different types of teas for smoking. All of them have subtle changes in the aroma and flavor of the chicken. You will need to change or add more tea and herbs to your smoking pack about every 20 minutes in the grilling process as the smoke reduces over time.
  • If you are diabetic, you can exchange honey with a little diabetic mandarin orange marmalade.
  • If you like a darker brown chicken and are not gluten intolerant, marinate your chicken in dark soya sauce. I marinated mine in tamari sauce to keep it gluten-free.
  • Leave a gap on the top of the aluminum foil packets to allow a place for the smoke to vent out. This gap also gives you a place to add some extra tea and brown sugar half way through the smoking/cooking process.
  • You can find the whole spices such as star anise at your local Asian grocery store or just use 1 tablespoon ground 5 spiced powder as a substitute. You can also use ground cinnamon 1 tablespoon, instead of whole cinnamon barks.
  • You could also smoke your chicken in a wok but you first have to steam it, then smoke it and your whole house becomes a smoker. Grilling and smoking your chicken on the grill takes half the time and half of the mess and it is the perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.


Serving: 4g | Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 2418mg | Potassium: 112mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg