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Unread 10-04-2012, 08:10 AM   #1
pull_my_butt
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Default My first chicken.....F-

I smoked my first chicken last night and it was terrible. I don't think a pack of coyotes would have eaten it. What a waste of charcoal last night. Here's what I did and maybe you guys can help me out. Also, a few other questions too.

I had a 4.5 lb. bird and tried to keep heat at around 350 but it was hard to do on the cheap off-set smoker so it varied from 250-350 but again, I did try to keep it as best I could at 350.

I just used salt and pepper, just to get a baseline taste of how a smoked bird is supposed to be, and there was no flavor but in the skin. The skin itself, was terrible. It looked wrinkly and the skin didn't appear to be "one with the chicken." It kinda just cooked and didn't crisp but got hard and leathery. The skin looked and felt more like it was just a casing and there was no flavor to the chicken that came from the skin. I hope that makes sense.

What would you do to improve? Also, I usually use the Royal Oak natural charcoal but this time, I used the Kingsford briquettes. Now, do you guys think these charcoal briquettes leave more ash? I noticed a lot more ash than I usually get when I use the lump charcoal, like Royal Oak. Just curious to what you think. I ask this because I noticed the skin had a lot of ash. I would run a spoon over it and would scrape up dark tar like gunk. It almost looked like a Castrol commercial. I don't know how the ash would have gotten over to the chicken from the fire box.

Also, is the heat fluctuation just for the sake of getting a better estimate on cook time or does the up/down heat actually affect taste and appearance of the food?

Thanks to all how reply. Cheers.
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Unread 10-04-2012, 08:15 AM   #2
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I usually brine the bird then rince and let it dry uncovered in the fridge overnight then herbed butter inside and out with a touch of dry rub or some type of chix seasoning. I usually don't smoke a bird I grill or use my rotisserie and add a chunk of wood to the coals if I'm looking for a smoke flavor. Yes briqs leave much more ash.
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Unread 10-04-2012, 08:18 AM   #3
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I do the same thing that Skidder does. I brine, then let dry in the fridge. Then season the chicken (either with rub, herb butter, or whatever you want) then throw it on my OTG at 350ish w/ some wood in the coals as opposed to my Mini WSM.

Comes out great each time.
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Unread 10-04-2012, 08:43 AM   #4
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I dont smoke chicken very often anymore and when I do I go skinless. Been spatchcocken them lately with alot of success and still get that smoke flavor. Way better then beer can which had been a mainstay for a long time.

That said, I dont think you were at 350 very often or very long because the skin should have crisped up at that temp. Below 275 makes a nasty chicken skin in my opinion. So how were you measuring the temp of the cooking chamber?
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Unread 10-04-2012, 08:50 AM   #5
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Here's my (family and friends famous) chicken recipe:

First: Brine and marinade. I used to do this in 2 step process, but now I combine. I like to brine overnight, so I get enough sleep, so I reduce the salt content. 1/4cup of kosher, diluted with about a cup of hot water. Divy up into 2 1gal ziplocks for 2 birds, fill the rest with Orange Juice. That substitutes for water, and sugar. Plus, the acid tenderizes, and sugar will caramelize later. You can add some rosemary, thyme or whatever you feel will compliment your chicken. Keep it simple first though.

Next day, take chicken out, pour marinade into a small pot and simmer reduce to make as glazing sauce while chix r cooking.

Spatchcock the chicken (look it up. Use kitchen shear to cut backbone out, that way you don't have to flip chicken, and rub will stay on)

Pat chix dry with paper towels, slather with canola or whatever oil u got, motor oil works the least best then rub a dub dub with your preferred rub. I use 50-50 mix of McCormick rotisserie chicken and McCormick Original chicken seasoning.

Get grate to 275, throw it on skin side up. Probe the breast with a remote therm, watch till it gets to 150F

Meanwhile, reduce your marinade on the stove (by cooking it off, not by throwing some away :) ... Just making sure .. Don't mean to offend anyone's intelligence), and add honey and your rub. Taste till it's to your liking. Honey is optional.

then high heat sear it. While brushing the glaze on it.

Take it off when nice and sticky and seared to your liking.

Guaronteeeee!!
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Last edited by htrisna; 10-04-2012 at 09:36 AM..
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Unread 10-04-2012, 08:59 AM   #6
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I was using an oven thermometer on the grill grate right in front of the opening were the coal box attaches to the cooking area. The thermometer that came w/ the grill reads approx. 50 degrees cooler than the oven thermometer I put right inside the grill. I probably wasn't at 350 very often. I sure of it.
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Unread 10-04-2012, 09:08 AM   #7
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Door thermo is almost always cooler than grate cause it's farther away from heat source unless you have a jambo (which works a little differently). Get a stoker, guru, or even a Maverick. They'll make your life a lot easier.

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Originally Posted by pull_my_butt View Post
I was using an oven thermometer on the grill grate right in front of the opening were the coal box attaches to the cooking area. The thermometer that came w/ the grill reads approx. 50 degrees cooler than the oven thermometer I put right inside the grill. I probably wasn't at 350 very often. I sure of it.
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Unread 10-04-2012, 09:31 AM   #8
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I don't brine or marinate. Get the pit to 325, remove the back none from the bird( Spatchcock) liberally season all over; my rub consists of Mccormicks season all. Put the chicken on skin down put a few chunks of wood on the fire, close the pit. walk away for 45 min. Flip the bird walk away for 30 min. Brush on some sauce.walk away for 15 min. Remove to a plater tent with foil for 20 min before serving.
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Unread 10-04-2012, 09:34 AM   #9
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Was your exhaust vent all the way open? I like to keep mine all the way open - I also leave intakes open and control the heat by the size of the fire. I'm wondering how a lot of ash got on your chix. How clean is your cooker? Having tar like gunk your food makes me wonder what's going on in there.

If you're trying to get higher heat, lump is a better way to go than briqs, and yes, briqs leave more ash than lump.

Don't be discouraged - it's your first time out on chix - you'll get where you want to be if you keep at it.
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Unread 10-04-2012, 09:39 AM   #10
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It did not have any smoke flavor because you did not have any flavor woods on the fire. You need some Cherry or Apple typical. But Hickory and Pecan have been used by many of the brethren. If it had a ash taste that could have come from the charcoal or bad smoke. Did you have the vents open enough to get good smoke. True Blue smoke!!!
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Unread 10-04-2012, 09:47 AM   #11
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The vent was all the way opened indeed. I guess I should just clean it out. I thought the greasier the better...well. You know how all those good bbq joints don't ever clean their grill, or so I think.
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Unread 10-04-2012, 09:50 AM   #12
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A newbie questions but is the smoke supposed to literally have a blueish color to it?
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Unread 10-04-2012, 09:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pull_my_butt View Post
The vent was all the way opened indeed. I guess I should just clean it out. I thought the greasier the better...well. You know how all those good bbq joints don't ever clean their grill, or so I think.
That dirty cooker thing is a myth, not to mention kind of nasty and also a fire hazard - you can burn up a load of food like that if you let it go too far. I don't clean my cooker out with soap and water, but I do wipe it down good. Once in a while I'll hit it with the scour pad side of those yellow sponge thingees. Some guys will get their cookers really hot & get a little water in there to steam off the gunk. Some folks will use "Simple Green" or you can blast it with a weed burner and wipe it down after - whatever you do, the gunk has got to go or you will continue to have the same problem.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pull_my_butt View Post
A newbie questions but is the smoke supposed to literally have a blueish color to it?
Yup. Thick white smoke is laden with nasty chit. Once a fire is burning cleanly and efficiently, the smoke will be more translucent and blue, sometimes not visible at all. Lake Dogs has a good side by side example photo around here somewhere.

Here is one of many threads on fire management. Fire management is a big deal, IMO more so at this stage than brining or not, spatchcocking or not, etc. If your fire isn't right, it isn't gonna matter what you do in any other part of preparing food.
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Unread 10-08-2012, 03:11 PM   #14
htrisna
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Here's the chicken I did with the recipe above this past weekend.

I've just cleaned Meatbot, so Mater got some action with some sawdust I saved when cutting my chunks.






I've cooked on Mater long before I got Meatbot, so I swear my chickens taste better on it for whatever reason.
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Unread 10-08-2012, 04:32 PM   #15
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I've never found a need to brine or marinate a chicken, unless I want to
add a different flavor to it, so it's very rare that I will brine or marinate one.

They come out so juicy and tasty by just butterflying them and cooking
them indirect at about 350°. Buy if your method gets you the results you
like best, then stay with it.



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