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Unread 08-18-2008, 03:07 PM   #1
Jeff_in_KC
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Default Smoking Whole Chickens

Got a small catering job this weekend to deliver 15 slabs of spares and 13 whole chickens for a birthday party of 50 people.

I've yet to smoke a whole chicken. So at around 260 to 270 degrees, any estimate how long the birds will take to get done? Delivery time is 2:30 PM and it's a 20 minute drive to the delivery location so we need to be ready to roll at 2pm. I plan to get the spares on around 7 am but wasn't sure what time to try to have birds on by. Any advice? Also, in cooking the birds, I thought I'd baste the breasts with butter like I would a turkey. Is there any need of covering with cheesecloth like turkey? We're going to brine the birds overnight in the coffin cooler.
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Unread 08-18-2008, 03:11 PM   #2
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Spatch `Em! They'll take about 2hrs.
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Unread 08-18-2008, 03:15 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by jiarby View Post
Spatch `Em! They'll take about 2hrs.
I thought of that but there are a couple of issues... one, it will make space more tight in the smoker (13 spatchcocked birds and 15 full spares) plus I gave him a choice - whole birds or spatched/half birds for $2.00 more for the extra work. I think he's going to choose the whole birds anyway.
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Unread 08-18-2008, 03:19 PM   #4
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2.5 to 3 hours should do the trick. I'd probably allow for an extra half hour if possible.
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Unread 08-18-2008, 03:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butts View Post
2.5 to 3 hours should do the trick. I'd probably allow for an extra half hour if possible.
That's cool. I should be able to get the ribs to wrapping stage before even having to get the birds on then.
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Unread 08-18-2008, 04:15 PM   #6
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Default Smoking Chicken

It's good you are planning to brine. It definitely is key to keep the meat moist. I like to use honey in the brine, not sure if it really makes a difference but I believe it makes the skin more golden.

I use the beer can technique and smoke a 4 pound bird for about 5.5 hours at 225.
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Unread 08-18-2008, 04:31 PM   #7
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I cook mine upright using these:

http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/044...ken_cooker.htm

I can fit seven 4-5lb whole chickens in my drum and they usually are done in 3-3.5 hours.
Something to consider if you like to do whole birds and maximize cooking space.
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Unread 08-18-2008, 04:36 PM   #8
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I think brineing also help them cook faster
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Unread 08-18-2008, 05:23 PM   #9
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Jeff are they going to pull them once you get themto them? We did did a part of 50 this past weekend and did 8 whole chickens (3 - 3.5 hours at 250*) until the breast temp was 165. Made for great pulling.
Have fun!
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Unread 08-18-2008, 06:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamprb View Post
I cook mine upright using these:

http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/044...ken_cooker.htm

I can fit seven 4-5lb whole chickens in my drum and they usually are done in 3-3.5 hours.
Something to consider if you like to do whole birds and maximize cooking space.

Same here.

edit - Rub them real good with butter or EVOO before you put your rub on. Helps the skin crisp up
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Unread 08-18-2008, 06:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_in_KC View Post
Got a small catering job this weekend to deliver 15 slabs of spares and 13 whole chickens for a birthday party of 50 people.

I've yet to smoke a whole chicken. So at around 260 to 270 degrees, any estimate how long the birds will take to get done? Delivery time is 2:30 PM and it's a 20 minute drive to the delivery location so we need to be ready to roll at 2pm. I plan to get the spares on around 7 am but wasn't sure what time to try to have birds on by. Any advice? Also, in cooking the birds, I thought I'd baste the breasts with butter like I would a turkey. Is there any need of covering with cheesecloth like turkey? We're going to brine the birds overnight in the coffin cooler.
At 260 to 270 I guess 3 hours based on the spicewine. Breast at 164 degrees works too.

But, my question to you, 50 people and 15 slabs PLUS all that chicken??? wow.
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Unread 08-18-2008, 10:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G$ View Post
At 260 to 270 I guess 3 hours based on the spicewine. Breast at 164 degrees works too.

But, my question to you, 50 people and 15 slabs PLUS all that chicken??? wow.
You think I'm over-shooting it? I used the catering spreadsheet and that's what I came up with. In May, I did 14 slabs of St. Louis spares and three briskets for 40 people. I don't want to have them run out of food. They're all going to be adults as it's a "party" party.
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Unread 08-19-2008, 01:30 AM   #13
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Left overs are always good, as long as they're paid for. I'm sure people wouldn't mind taking some food home with them.
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Unread 08-19-2008, 07:25 AM   #14
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Walmart has those bird racks for $4 each
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Unread 08-19-2008, 12:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_in_KC View Post
You think I'm over-shooting it? I used the catering spreadsheet and that's what I came up with. In May, I did 14 slabs of St. Louis spares and three briskets for 40 people. I don't want to have them run out of food. They're all going to be adults as it's a "party" party.
Yeah, maybe you will be good Jeff. If, like you said there is nobody sitting at a 'kids table' maybe this is the right amount. I get used to cooking for larger groups that are close to a 50/50 mix.

Off the record, I will admit I never really understood that catering spreadsheet (if it is the one I am thinking of). And I am pretty good with excel and it's output mystifies me.
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