12 chicken hearts*
Whole milk, as needed
1 gallon water, plus more for rinsing
¾ cup salt
1 cup brown sugar
• Soak the chicken hearts in enough milk to cover. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
• Remove the hearts from the milk and discard the milk. Rinse the hearts under cold water.
• In a large bowl, combine 1 gallon of water with the salt and brown sugar. Whisk until all of the salt and sugar has been dissolved. Transfer the brine to a large container with a tight-fitting lid. Add the chicken hearts to the brine and refrigerate, covered, for 12 hours.
• Remove the hearts from the brine, rinse under cold water and pat dry with a towel.
• Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.
• To smoke the chicken hearts, you will need two pans: one perforated and one not. Place the chicken hearts directly atop the perforated pan and set it aside. Fill the other pan, which should be twice as deep as the perforated pan, with wood chips and just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan but not enough so that the chips get soaked through. Set the perforated pan atop the pan with the wood chips and water and cover the entire structure with foil.
• Place the pans in the oven and let cook for 1 hour. When removing the pans from the oven, step outside to take the foil off, as it will be very smoky.
• Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
*Available at area grocery stores