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View Full Version : WSM full of broilers: Beer can stand or not?


Dave Russell
08-26-2011, 09:46 AM
Got a 18.5" wsm that I'm gonna smoke 5-6 3.5lb-ish broilers in for supper, plus some for chicken salad. (Most of the family doesn't eat chicken skin unless it's on wings, so that's not an issue, by the way.)

Gonna dry-brine and season lightly with some Yardbird; smoke with cherry. Should I just lay 'em on the grate or put on beer can stands? How many of you guys would skip the can if doing it that way? I'm thinking simply layed on the grate with necks to the center and legs pointed out, but I've never smoked this many on the cooker at once. Don't think I've ever done beer can yardbird on the wsm yet, but if I go that route, is breast to the center ok for the entire cook, or would I need to rotate?

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. :-D

Phubar
08-26-2011, 09:51 AM
I would just lay them on the grill...but...either way will get you good chicken.

bover
08-26-2011, 09:53 AM
If you're concerned about the evenness of the cook, spatchcock 'em.

wildflower
08-26-2011, 10:03 AM
I would put the chicken on the grill and drink the beer :bow:

Dave Russell
08-26-2011, 10:58 AM
Thanks, guys. Simply layed on the grate with legs pointed out is how I'm leaning, but I was wondering if many folks would insist that vertical is better, with or without the can, especially in a vertical smoker. I've only done the beer butt birds on the kettle and my old offsets, and never tried without the can.

NS Mike D
08-26-2011, 11:17 AM
I just did two birds on the larger WSM vertical, out of convenience and wanting to put my weber vertical bird racks to use.


They came out just fine, but I prefer to cut out the backs and split them open on the grill. I think by havig the breast facing to the center of the grill and the legs towards the hotter perimeter, you are going to get a better cook.

What I really want to do is get the ring so I can use my rotisserie on the WSM

MG_NorCal
08-26-2011, 12:32 PM
In a WSM, I've been happy with cutting them in half (through spine and breast) then stacking the pieces in a large rib rack, breast up.
Get pretty good capacity that way with even heat and circulation.

Dave Russell
08-26-2011, 04:39 PM
Well, I went with something I've done before that's really simple: Jamie Purvience's smoked chicken for the Weber wsm, only this time with water in the pan at around 250* (measured at the dome vent), not 300; because I have FIVE birds on, not just two.

I dry brined with a heavy blanket of kosher for a couple of hours, and then rinsed and dried. Then you brush or smear melted butter all over the birds and smoke. Three 3.5lb birds just fit on the top grate, and I put the two that were a little smaller on the bottom grate; all five birds with legs tied tight and pointed toward the heat zone.

Any guesses how long these 3.5lb birds will take on the wsm at about 250* (dome vent)? I've got 3-3.5hrs to be on the safe side.

Any guesses

Dave Russell
08-26-2011, 08:50 PM
All were more juicy than any beer butt chicken I've ever done, and were pulled off by about 3hr and fifteen minutes, dome vent temp running 245-265* for the cook. The skin was definately on the rubbery side, but the Missus was pleased, and doesn't eat the skin anyway. Mother-in-law washed dishes and pulled the leftover two or so chickens for chicken salad, so she must've been happy, too. :thumb:

I went over a year cooking on the wsm before I ever cooked chicken with water in the pan, and I continue to be convinced that it slows evaporation enough to make a very significant difference in juicyness. I'm convinced it's the way to go with leg quarters especially, but I think I prefer butterflied birds at a much higher temp for truly crisp skin.....probably on the kettle. Besides, butterflied/split birds dry out faster than whole birds on the smoker.

bbqbull
08-26-2011, 09:32 PM
Glad your birds came out juicy. I like to cook my birds at around 375 grate temperature for more crispy skin.
When I do spatchcocked birds on my BGE, I do them with a dome temp around 400.
Figuring the grate temp is 375 and skin turns out perfectly.

Dave Russell
08-27-2011, 09:44 PM
Glad your birds came out juicy. I like to cook my birds at around 375 grate temperature for more crispy skin.
When I do spatchcocked birds on my BGE, I do them with a dome temp around 400.
Figuring the grate temp is 375 and skin turns out perfectly.

Juicy as all get out, but I LOVE some crisp chicken skin, too. Only there's not a way to get FIVE broilers done evenly in the 18.5" wsm and still get crispy skin.

The Missus, who doesn't eat skin unless eating wings, wanted smoked chicken with leftovers for a chicken salad so that's what she got. However, I was THIS close to firing up both my kettles and butterflying two birds on each between piles of Stubbs.

realspaazz
08-27-2011, 10:04 PM
I like the looks of the birds that come off of the vertical racks. Without the grill marks they just seem prettier. I have never used a can of liquid with my racks. I have done 4 vertical birds on the top rack of my 18.5 wsm with two pork butts on the bottom ( and some eggs in-between the birds and some sweet potatoes around the butts) so there is plenty of room. I have not noticed any flavor or texture differences when i have done birds both horizontal and vertical in the same cook.

Dave Russell
08-28-2011, 07:42 AM
I like the looks of the birds that come off of the vertical racks. Without the grill marks they just seem prettier. I have never used a can of liquid with my racks. I have done 4 vertical birds on the top rack of my 18.5 wsm with two pork butts on the bottom ( and some eggs in-between the birds and some sweet potatoes around the butts) so there is plenty of room. I have not noticed any flavor or texture differences when i have done birds both horizontal and vertical in the same cook.

Thanks for the tip, man. Sounds like a better use of space, too. Did you just leave 'em with their back side to the heat zone and breast to the center, or did you rotate mid cook?