View Full Version : Okay, can or can't chicken be successfully smoked at 225-250?

08-24-2011, 03:02 PM
A buddy of mine works at a local Q restaurant that also does catering. He said they just starting offering (on their catering menu) a 1/2 chicken with two sides as one of their catering menu selections. I asked him how were they cooking them and he said smoking them between temps of 225-250. I asked him were the skins "rubbery" and he said "no way".

I have to "smoke" chicken at higher heats but have a hard time getting tenderness all the way through. But when I smoke at low temps the skin turns out rubbery.

How do people smoke chicken at temps normally used for other meats and not have the same problems many of us on here do?

08-24-2011, 03:19 PM
I like grilled chicken a lot better at high temps.

You could try to do them at low heat and then put them hot on the grill to get the skin crisp.

08-24-2011, 03:43 PM
I think it has something to do with the smoker you use. Shelly and Cowboy Bill at Desperado's BBQ do their chicken at 225* and it was some of the best I've had.


08-24-2011, 03:46 PM
Corse it can! i do it all the time! im usually around 250 tho, not 225. i have to check but i think i smoke em for 3.5 hrs. comes out nice and juicy!

08-24-2011, 03:55 PM
Unless other prep work is involved, you are almost guaranteed to get rubbery skin smoking at those temps.

El Lobo
08-24-2011, 03:56 PM
250 no prob here. I brine, so I don't find the chicken dry by the time the skin gets nice.

Oh and here's another plug for Plowboys Yardbird.


08-24-2011, 03:57 PM
Sure can. Smoked 4 big uns at 250 on Sunday. Great tasting and very moist.

Dave Russell
08-24-2011, 04:05 PM
Sure can, but as already stated, it depends on the smoker. More pit moisture means moister chicken when smoking yardbird, so I often smoke 10-20lbs. of leg quarters on my wsm with water in the pan for great results. I open the vents up and would prefer 250 or a little higher. However, if I smoke with a dry pan and even shoot for 275-300, the skin might be better, but I can guarantee that the bone side will be dryer.

Jason TQ
08-24-2011, 04:06 PM
A lot of times bbq places that do half chicken or quarters grill it right at the end with sauce to crisp up the skin. I actually really like it that way.

08-24-2011, 04:07 PM
Yep, do it all the time, I think you have to give it all the time you can on the smoker to get good skin.

NorCal Q Man
08-24-2011, 04:08 PM
For those who have success at this. Do you smoke to a certain IT, a certain time, or just keep checking until it's crispy?

08-24-2011, 04:17 PM
i usually just do it to time. im talking about whole chickens tho. ive never done just thighs. my skin comes out crispy. and the meat is juicy/

08-24-2011, 04:21 PM
I read something about dry brining in the fridge, uncovered. I have not tried it, but I read that it helps with the skin. Maybe someone with more experience with this technique can add in. My only concern, would be is it safe to place in your fridge uncovered?

Chef Jim
08-24-2011, 04:27 PM
I smoke mine at that temp and don't brine or inject. Granted I'm not a big fan of skin but I find mine to be right tasty. I know some judges just toss the skin without ever tasting. If it's there I'll take a bite.

08-24-2011, 04:41 PM
A judge should never toss the skin if it is in the box. If it is turned in, it should be tasted. JMO.

As for getting the skin to be non-rubbery, it has to do with rendering and denaturing the proteins. As does all of what we do with meat in a smoker. I like to dry brine and it can get to a softer skin, crispy less so in leg quarters. If I am going for a smoky chicken, then I really don't look for crispy skin, I want soft skin, which I can get by dry brining and cooking at a low temperature for a long time.

We used to do thousands of chicken halves for church cooking and they had soft bite through skin despite being marinaded in a salt heavy teriyaki sauce, it just took time.

Chef Jim
08-24-2011, 04:57 PM
A judge should never toss the skin if it is in the box. If it is turned in, it should be tasted. JMO.

Landarc, I agree 100%, but just sayin that some do.

08-24-2011, 04:57 PM
I was on a search for crispy skin for some time. I finally tried a dry brine uncovered in the fridge, then spray with Pam, then cook at 375. Great skin and juicy meat.
I'm going to try just the dry brine and cook at 250, just to find out what exactly makes the skin crispy. I was told that the Pam, at 350, begins to fry the skin, making it crispy. Bite thru is another thing, so I'll try the dry brine alone.