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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.

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Old 03-04-2018, 09:23 AM   #1
Got Wood.

KenC52's Avatar
Join Date: 04-15-14
Location: Pittsburg Texas
Name/Nickname : KenC
Default Beer Can-Less Chicken

OK I tried a comparison cook between beer can-less chicken and spatchcocked chicken. Having heard from various web sites about the advantages of each I wanted to run my own side by side test and learn more about my Bandera cooker at the same time (this was only my 3rd cook on it).

I began with two chickens that were less than 1 ounce different in weight. I opened one and spatchcocked it (removed the backbone, keel bone, and flattened it out) and placed in on a rack over a half sheet pan. The other chicken was placed on the pan, but left whole. Both were placed in the refrigerator for about 3 hours, uncovered, to dry out the skin in search of that perfectly crispy skin we all love. After 3 hours I removed the chickens from the fridge and while the Bandera was heating up I prepped them.
I made an injection of ½ cup lemon juice, ½ cup lime juice, ¼ cup Jose Cuervo Gold tequila, about 1/8 teaspoon of both garlic and onion powder, 2 tablespoons of white sugar, and a tiny pinch of dried habanera pepper flakes. I injected this mixture into both breasts and the thighs of each bird. Then I gave them a generous coating of John Henry’s Texas Chicken Tickler rub. The whole bird was placed on a standing wire rack made for the purpose of cooking “beer can chicken” I just skipped the part about putting a can in the center of the rack. This left the interior of the chicken open to the air as it cooked. I placed both birds on the same rack near the center of the cooker. On the rack below them I put some cubed potatoes that had been marinated in Italian salad dressing. Above them I put a pan of pinto beans that had been cooked ¾ of the way to done in a pressure cooker and a second pan with some barbecue sauce that my son, Adam, had made for us. I just wanted to add a little smoke to the beans and sauce. I filled the water pan with water, closed the door, and added several wood splits to the firebox along with the charcoal already burning there. Then the trouble began!
No matter what I did I couldn’t get the temperature in the cooking chamber over 210 degrees or so. I tried charcoal, pecan splits, oak chunks, and mixes of them all. At one point I used my infra red thermometer and found the top of the fire box to be just under 600 degrees! Got enough flame in there that it burned through my nomex gasket in one spot! Then I remembered my college physics. While it only takes one kilocalorie of heat to raise a CC of water 1 degree Celsius up to the boiling point it takes a great deal more heat to make the jump from water to steam. The water was a giant heat sink and as it “evaporated” (boiled) it was taking tremendous amounts of heat from the surrounding area (like sweating on a hot day cools you off). So, after more than 2 ½ hours of cooking, I emptied the water pan and within ½ hour we were just over 300 degrees. Maintained 300-325 for another hour or so till the breast in both chickens read approximately 165 (one was 163). Then pulled them and gave them a rest.
First I was surprised that both chickens got done at the same time. I thought that the spatchcocked one would get done much faster due to the greater exposed surface area. Initially it did begin the temperature climb faster but around 80 degrees the beer can-less chicken caught up and they were never more than a couple degrees apart after that.
Next the skin was absolutely inedible. Think thin shoe leather or some kind of plastic. You could barely cut it, much less chew it. I assume that the protracted initial cook time cured it like drying leather. Surprisingly however, the meat underneath the skin was extremely moist and tender, especially on the beer can-less chicken. I believe that the skin had dried in such a way that it protected the meat underneath from moisture loss. The skin really was like some kind of shrink wrap surrounding the birds.
The potatoes were also inedible. Like the chicken skin they had dried out to the consistency of pea gravel! The beans however were great. They were already pretty tasty before they went into the cooker, but the addition of the smoke along with a bit more cooking time made them truly special. They might have been a bit too smoky for some palates, but I thought they were great. And the additional smoke on my son’s barbecue sauce really amped up that flavor as well. Again it was a great flavor that was enhanced by time in the smoker.
Finally the beer can-less chicken was far more moist, tender, and tasty than the spatchcocked one. If I had been able to get the temps up sooner and had a faster cook that might not have happened, but I’ll never know because the beer can-less chicken was so good that it will be my go to method of cooking yard bird from now on. I will probably return to my Weber performer and my Smokenator if I am cooking just one or maybe two chickens from now on, but they will definitely be cooked beer can-less.
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File Type: jpg 18-03-02 Chicken 8.jpg (71.4 KB, 131 views)
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Old 03-04-2018, 10:39 AM   #2
somebody shut me the fark up.

Stingerhook's Avatar
Join Date: 02-13-12
Location: SE Florida
Name/Nickname : Marty

Those are some fine looking birds. Thanks.

UDS now resurrected, Square Chicken Cooker, Green 22" Kettle, Stok Tower Grill & Barrel Grill, Stealth WSM 18", Char Broil Kamander
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Old 03-04-2018, 03:22 PM   #3
Knows what a fatty is.
Join Date: 06-10-15
Location: Deland, FL

The skin is why I primarily do the chicken using the big easy, in the smoker I have yet to master making chicken or turkey with great skin. Both taste amazing but the skin is always inedible.
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barbecue sauce, Beans, beer can chicken, chicken, Spatchcock chicken

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