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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 09-18-2010, 01:55 AM   #1
PhilB
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Default First time pulled chicken.

Time for another new cook for this newbie. Once again, on the kettle.

Two new things this time. Got some firebricks to create a poor-man's Smokenator, and am using the minion method for the coals:



Two fryers, rubbed with the same rub (sugar-based) I did ribs with last time (the Memphis Dust off Meathead's site). I tried to get a fair bit of rub under the skin too:


Some milder wood this time, since this is chicken and I don't want to overpower it:


On they go:


After 2 hours:


After a bit over 3 hours:


Pulled everything by hand. That was rather time-consuming. Here's a picture without flash, so you can see the smoke ring:


And one with flash, so you can see the moisture:



Lessons learned: I still can't reiterate how much I need proper thermometers. That crappy Weber bi-metal kept telling me the meat was at roughly 160 even after 3 hours (I wanted it at 170 or so to be sure I didn't kill anyone). I finally had to take a peek to realize it was fully cooked, with clear juices throughout. Gotta get one of those instant ThermoWorks jobbies. Too bad I can't find one locally (so far. No idea where to look).

Also gotta get a proper thermometer for the smoker temperature. I don't trust the crappy bimetal oven thermometer I have either. Who knows how much I've been overcooking/overheating?

The missus' verdict: "Wow, that's moist. Eew, it tastes smoked." I have come to the conclusion that BBQ is not for her, as she hates the taste of smoke. She wants me to do it the way another friend does, in a crockpot with a sauce containing Coca-Cola

A neighbour's verdict: "Could use a little more smoke". I try to smoke very lightly so as not to overpower the meat. I threw a small handful of chips at first, then another small handful about 45 minutes in. I could do a little more, as I also think it could have used a bit more smoke flavour.

Still learning...

Phil

Last edited by PhilB; 09-18-2010 at 01:57 AM.. Reason: Typo.
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Unread 09-18-2010, 03:00 AM   #2
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Nice job on the kettle smoke! Does it hold temp pretty well? Is it difficult to keep the temp down where you want it? What temp did you smoke at?

I would recommend checking the left overs for the amount of smoke because spending 3 hours in and out of the smoke will reduce your ability to notice the smoke as much :) The reason I mentioned it was because I was very disappointed after my first (loong) pork butt smoke I was wishing it had some more smoke but the next say, after some sleep, I was amazed at how much smoke the meat had actually absorbed and I really liked it :)
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Unread 09-18-2010, 04:49 AM   #3
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as for the missus-try just charcoal without wood or chips and see how she likes it - here is a link for a thermo,not as fast as a thermapen but a lot cheaper, and it works for me until I can justify the thermapen
http://www.amazon.com/Taylor-806E4L-...4802929&sr=8-4
and by the way great looking chicken
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Unread 09-18-2010, 05:11 AM   #4
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Try wood chunks next time. One or two will go a long way.
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Unread 09-18-2010, 10:31 AM   #5
PhilB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeTRON View Post
Nice job on the kettle smoke! Does it hold temp pretty well? Is it difficult to keep the temp down where you want it? What temp did you smoke at?
It's not bad at holding temp now that I'm getting better at managing the vents. I now know where to set them at first, and what adjustments will most likely be needed after an hour or so, etc... This is my 3rd cook on it for low and slow. Keep in mind I've never used a proper smoker, so I have no idea how much easier those are or aren't.

I smoked at about 250-275 or so. I'm using a cheap bimetal oven thermometer right on the grill, so who knows how accurate it is. The Weber bimetal that I put through the dome actually reads a little higher (closer to 275 when the grill one is at just below 250).

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeTRON View Post
I would recommend checking the left overs for the amount of smoke because spending 3 hours in and out of the smoke will reduce your ability to notice the smoke as much :) The reason I mentioned it was because I was very disappointed after my first (loong) pork butt smoke I was wishing it had some more smoke but the next say, after some sleep, I was amazed at how much smoke the meat had actually absorbed and I really liked it :)
Heh...I smoked everything very little (only for the first 45 minutes or so, and with only one small handful of chips at first, and another few chips at roughly 30 minutes). The kettle also seems to leak a little smoke around the lid. I try to set it and push it down for minimum leakage, but I still see some coming out the left side (meat and top vent are on the right side)

Phil
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Unread 09-18-2010, 10:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokestack View Post
as for the missus-try just charcoal without wood or chips and see how she likes it
I think even the smoke from just the charcoal may be too much for her. Maybe I'll try that next time, though. I have no shortage of other people lining up for my BBQ otherwise

Quote:
Originally Posted by smokestack View Post
here is a link for a thermo,not as fast as a thermapen but a lot cheaper, and it works for me until I can justify the thermapen
http://www.amazon.com/Taylor-806E4L-...4802929&sr=8-4
That looks good. Actually, I was looking at this one:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B002GE2XF8

(got the link of Meathead's site). Also done by ThermoWorks, but way cheaper than the ThermaPen.

What I really need is a good thermometer for the grill temp (and possibly the meat temp). The ThermoWorks mini handheld shown in Meathead's Buyer's Guide:

http://amazingribs.com/BBQ_buyers_gu...ing_guide.html

looks fantastic, but not cheap (well, the thermometer is, but the probes aren't). I was also looking at the Maverick ET-73, but the reviews have been rather...mixed.

My problem is that I'm in Canada, and shipping from most US destinations is rather prohibitive. I'd love to find a local source where I could at least see these in person. Barring that, I'd like to at least find a Canadian distributor. Haven't looked very hard for either of these yet, but may have to soon. It's becoming very apparent to me that low and slow is all about maintaining the temperature steady!

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Originally Posted by smokestack View Post
and by the way great looking chicken
Thanks!

Phil
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Unread 09-18-2010, 10:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Dave View Post
Try wood chunks next time. One or two will go a long way.
Didn't see any at my local Home Hardware (which is otherwise fairly well stocked in BBQ supplies), but will see what I can come up with locally.

Thanks,

Phil
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Unread 09-18-2010, 10:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Dave View Post
Try wood chunks next time. One or two will go a long way.
Listen to da Capn!
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Unread 09-18-2010, 11:10 AM   #9
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Phil, I doubt Kinsford smoke is too much for "the missus", but you could use some lump or natural briquettes. Charcoal burning in a chimney can be quite strong, especially K, but once it settles down to a slow burn in a cooker, it's really quite subtle.
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Unread 09-18-2010, 11:30 AM   #10
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how did u like the rub on those chicks??
have got some of it left, love it on ribs!!

the chicks look really good btw!
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Unread 09-18-2010, 06:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willie View Post
how did u like the rub on those chicks??
have got some of it left, love it on ribs!!!
I really like that rub. It may be my generic go-to for pork/chicken. I tend to go more cumin/paprika/salt/pepper with beef, since I think the sugar doesn't work that well with it.

I will try cooking the last chicken without smoke and see what she says. I bought a 3-pack, so I have one left in the freezer.


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Unread 09-18-2010, 07:04 PM   #12
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Maybe try to use lump next time and see if the misses likes that better. I myself use K all the time and have tried lump a bunch of times. I can smell the difference when the lump burns vs k coals. Some claim that K gives food a bad flavor and that might be what she tastes. Myself I like it all! Nice looking birds btw. Vince
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Unread 09-18-2010, 07:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilB View Post


looks fantastic, but not cheap (well, the thermometer is, but the probes aren't). I was also looking at the Maverick ET-73, but the reviews have been rather...mixed.


Phil
I think the ET-73 would be fine. I have a maverick ET-71 I got at Canadian Tire and it works great - only one probe - but with the overnight cooks on the egg I find it works... You should give it a shot and its easy to get in Canada
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Unread 09-18-2010, 07:48 PM   #14
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Phil nice looking chicken, good job. I would try lump charcoal and foil the lower grate and the air flow would be directed under the coals and give you beter control of your temperature control. Briquette charcoal has some what of a stronger charcoal flavor (fuel) that some people don't care for (me). Can't please everyone but you better pease you wife!
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Unread 09-18-2010, 08:47 PM   #15
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Good lookin' chix there man!
Looks like you're doin' just FINE on that there kettle.
You got it set up just right. If you can get consistent with that, things will only get easier with other smokers. The kettle is a GREAT weapon. Nothing that can't be done on one.
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