The meat is smoking. One chicken is already done; the second will be done in a half hour; the third awaits. I am utterly fragranced with hickory smoke.
I have tried something new this year: jerk chicken. It's Jamaican -- basically, spiced, smoked chicken. I've been smoking it at a temperature somewhat higher than I'm using for the pork and beef (about 225F for the chicken, and about 190F for the pork and beef), and it seems to achieve a happy medium between "done enough" and "not too dry". I pretty much used the recipe in the link above, except that I couldn't get Scotch bonnet chillis, which apparently do make a difference (so I just used what was in the supermarket), and I couldn't smoke over pimento (allspice) wood or over allspice berries, because the wood is unobtainable and the berries are a tad too expensive and hard to find for that sort of thing. The hickory is working fine.
Oh! I also recently found hickory chunks, as opposed to just little chips, and boy does it make a difference! The smoke is nicer and more subtle, the chunks contribute to keeping the heat more even, and each chunk lasts for hours! Boo, chips; yay, chunks!
So at this point I have most of the side dishes made and in the freezer (macaroni and cheese, baked beans, stewed apples, and coconut vegetable curry). I have two amazing chickens, with a third about to hit the heat, so at least my guests will get SOME smoked food, even if the pork and beef don't work out. The house is not very messy, so we won't have all that much cleaning to do tomorrow. I'll need to make the cornbread and salad, and set up the steam tray with the meat and sauces. The beer is stored under the house, and the weather has been fairly cool recently so it should be in good shape to drink.
The signs are favorable for another excellent homage to the alchemical art of barbecue!