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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 04-22-2009, 02:25 PM   #1
volkanator
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Default Smoking Poultry

I haven't done it that many times but I've tried BBQ'ing via charcoal and hickory a whole turkey once and a whole chicken and chicken parts several times and I have to say.....I don't really like it that much.

Now I definitely chalk this up 100% to user error. It often comes out dry which I'm confident I can remedy either by brining or curing and maybe wrapping in foil at some point as well.

But when it comes to the smoke factor I feel like it tastes TOO smokey. Almost at times like it was dipped in an ash tray. Could I be over-smoking it? I thought so but at the competition the other day I saw people using WAY more smoke then I would even be capable of generating. Could it be that the dryness somehow exacerbated the smoke taste?

Or maybe I just don't like the smoke taste as much as I thought I did? I don't think that's the case because I love a smokey brisket and smokey ribs.

I'm confident I'm doing it wrong. How do you guys cook your chicken on the smoker?
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Unread 04-22-2009, 02:29 PM   #2
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This weekend past I marinaded Whole Chix in Italian Dressing overnight then Smoked with Pecan and Hickory @ 325* for 2.5 hours...
Mighty Tasty....
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Unread 04-22-2009, 02:31 PM   #3
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I think that there may be two problems. My first question is what kind of smoker are you using? I think we need to know that much before anyone can give any thoughtful advice. My suspicion is that you aren't venting the smoker properly and you are getting too much of the "same" smoke - if that makes sence. You also may need to let your fire burn hotter. If it's burning at too low a temp you'll get too much smoke. My $.02.
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Unread 04-22-2009, 02:34 PM   #4
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If it tastes like an ash tray it's over smoked. Now how do we help you correct that problem?

Need more information about what you are smoking it on and how you went about doing it.
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Unread 04-22-2009, 02:36 PM   #5
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I am smoking some boneless thighs right now with cherry at 225. Gonna pull them for taco salad later on this evening.

Right now they are sitting a hot bath of some Pace picante sauce on the Big Green Egg getting up to temp to pull.

Smoking is better than grilling in my opinion.
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Unread 04-22-2009, 02:38 PM   #6
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Boneless thighs + smoker = happy wife and kids!
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Unread 04-22-2009, 02:39 PM   #7
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Apple, pecan, cherry, or another mild fruit wood is better for smoking poultry (IMHO) If you brine and smoke low and slow it is difficult to dry out chicken or turkey especially if we are talking about whole birds.
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Unread 04-22-2009, 03:03 PM   #8
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I don't add much smoke to my poultry either. For the most part, I go with 100% lump coal.
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Unread 04-22-2009, 03:16 PM   #9
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Maybe I'm using the wrong lingo. Technically I don't own a smoker but rather a Weber Ranch Kettle. Even though it's just a charcoal grill it's so big that I feel I can use it as a smoker.
Also the venting thing might also be a good point. I think when I last did it I left the bottom vents wide open and the top vents only 1/4 open which is what I normally do for my ribs and it usually gives me a temp of about 225. In retrospect maybe that's too low? When cooking a turkey in the oven I think I go closer to like 325 so maybe I should be leaving all the vents wide open? I could definitely see that helping the smoke issue.

I also usually use lump charcoal.

OK so next time brine/marinade, and keep the flame hotter.

What about foil? Do you guys ever wrap your poultry and if so when?
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Unread 04-22-2009, 03:31 PM   #10
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I'll put in my 2 cents.
First, here is a post I created where I did a step by step method for smoking turkey breasts:
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ighlight=Saiko

Some other comments:
1) Never use the top vents for heat control, keep them wide open and use the bottom vents. Creep your way up to temp instead of overshooting and fighting your way back down.

2) Brine your birds. Brining will allow you more error room before drying out the bird. Simple brine would be 3/4 cup kosher salt and 1 cup brown sugar per gallon of water. Others go higher on the salt, but I find it too salty.

3) Use mild woods. You will get smokey flavor from the lump on it's own, but stick to fruit woods like apple and cherry if you are going to use wood chunks.

4) If you keep the skin on, you will want to try higher temps so you can get a crispy skin. Most peeps prefer 275-300 for birds if they are shooting for a crispy skin. You can always just pull the skin off and smoke at lower temps. Lower temps really aren't necessary for birds, there isn't a lot of connective tissue you have to worry about.

5) I never use foil. However, if your wing tips or other part of the bird are getting too dark, you could always foil those.

That's all I can think of for now.
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Unread 04-22-2009, 05:01 PM   #11
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Oak and especially hickory can be too harsh for poultry. Saiko's right on with the vents. Top open 100%. Control temp with lower vents.

Try it with just coal/lump and see how it goes. Put the chicken as far away from the heat source.
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Unread 04-22-2009, 06:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saiko View Post
I'll put in my 2 cents.
First, here is a post I created where I did a step by step method for smoking turkey breasts:
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ighlight=Saiko

Some other comments:
1) Never use the top vents for heat control, keep them wide open and use the bottom vents. Creep your way up to temp instead of overshooting and fighting your way back down.

2) Brine your birds. Brining will allow you more error room before drying out the bird. Simple brine would be 3/4 cup kosher salt and 1 cup brown sugar per gallon of water. Others go higher on the salt, but I find it too salty.

3) Use mild woods. You will get smokey flavor from the lump on it's own, but stick to fruit woods like apple and cherry if you are going to use wood chunks.

4) If you keep the skin on, you will want to try higher temps so you can get a crispy skin. Most peeps prefer 275-300 for birds if they are shooting for a crispy skin. You can always just pull the skin off and smoke at lower temps. Lower temps really aren't necessary for birds, there isn't a lot of connective tissue you have to worry about.

5) I never use foil. However, if your wing tips or other part of the bird are getting too dark, you could always foil those.

That's all I can think of for now.
+1 Completely agree here!
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Unread 04-22-2009, 06:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBarry View Post
Oak and especially hickory can be too harsh for poultry.
I have had great results using dried corn cobs for chicken. Mild, yet adds a robustness to the chicken.
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Unread 04-22-2009, 06:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saiko View Post
I'll put in my 2 cents.
First, here is a post I created where I did a step by step method for smoking turkey breasts:
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ighlight=Saiko

Some other comments:
1) Never use the top vents for heat control, keep them wide open and use the bottom vents. Creep your way up to temp instead of overshooting and fighting your way back down.

2) Brine your birds. Brining will allow you more error room before drying out the bird. Simple brine would be 3/4 cup kosher salt and 1 cup brown sugar per gallon of water. Others go higher on the salt, but I find it too salty.

3) Use mild woods. You will get smokey flavor from the lump on it's own, but stick to fruit woods like apple and cherry if you are going to use wood chunks.

4) If you keep the skin on, you will want to try higher temps so you can get a crispy skin. Most peeps prefer 275-300 for birds if they are shooting for a crispy skin. You can always just pull the skin off and smoke at lower temps. Lower temps really aren't necessary for birds, there isn't a lot of connective tissue you have to worry about.

5) I never use foil. However, if your wing tips or other part of the bird are getting too dark, you could always foil those.

That's all I can think of for now.
good advice here,,makes alot of sense.
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Unread 04-23-2009, 09:26 AM   #15
volkanator
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hmmm interesting. I never thought to control temp with the bottom vents. Maybe just because they are harder to get to ;-)

Makes sense though now that I think of it. I'll definitely do it that way from now on. Is that just for poultry or for anything temp should be controlled from the bottom?
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