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View Full Version : Smoked a few whole chickens in the past couple of months.


ClintHTX
05-15-2012, 08:49 PM
Almost all of them were very fatty and unpleasent. I have bought different brands and still the same thing. Is there any way of choosing a bird with less fat? Sorry im still new to this.

Slasher
05-15-2012, 09:16 PM
My rule for smoking birds... BRINE FIRST ALWAYS!!! The best smoked/grilled birds have always been some organic free range bird we got from a local farm... But the others aren't too bad... except when I had the steam propane smoker... (rubbery skin)

fingerlickin'
05-15-2012, 11:22 PM
I've had really good luck with the purdue "extra meaty" birds in the green and yellow wrapper if you can find them.

landarc
05-16-2012, 12:08 AM
I wonder about your process. All chickens have a fair amount of fat. Even the pasture raised ones that I buy. You have to cook them at either a high enough heat, or long enough cook, to get them done right. Brining is a good technique to insure a moist bird.

retired trucker
05-16-2012, 12:57 AM
Sounds like you are not cooking them hot enough. I cook mine at around 300 degrees until the thigh is about 165 or so. Most chickens are fatty, so you need to cook them hot and fast to render the fat and get that good crusty skin.

JazzyBadger
05-16-2012, 06:00 AM
Yep, like others have said. High heat is key with chicken fryers. I'm talking 325-350 degrees here, at least that's what I cook mine at.

Then I might even towards the end of the cook move them down closer to the coals, allowing the skin to crisp up even more.

You can cook them low and slow, but it takes longer, when I cook mine high heat we're talking like an hour and a half, two hours maybe, and they're generally done. I haven't done any in about a year now, but I just got four from Sam's Club I'm actually gonna do in an hour or so.

When it's low and slow, the "rubber chicken" skin might be there, but you can also get around this by searing the skin closer to the coals towards the end of the cook.

I do highly suggest high heat cooking on the fryers though, definitely my favorite.

DaChief
05-16-2012, 08:26 AM
Sounds like you are not cooking them hot enough. I cook mine at around 300 degrees until the thigh is about 165 or so. Most chickens are fatty, so you need to cook them hot and fast to render the fat and get that good crusty skin.


:thumb: Completely agree!

Vision
05-16-2012, 08:32 AM
I'm starting to believe chickens don't smoke well. The skin restricts the smoke from flavoring the meat- unless cooked high the skin will be rubbery. Even with beer can chicken the meat is moist but mostly flavorless. The best way to prepare chicken is indirect on the grill and then crisp the skin at the end IMO.

spider22
05-16-2012, 09:13 AM
I did a beer can chicken with root beer and I thought it was moist and very flavorful. I also have heard people using grape or orange soda or even like whiskey and coke for a different flavor.

jasonjax
05-16-2012, 09:21 AM
Beer can chicken with some aromatics along with your liquid of choice in the "can" cooked at 325+ turns out an amazing bird in my opinion.

I usually use pecan when smoking chicken.

As others have mentioned you definitely want some heat to get everything to render properly.

If I am going for crispy skin I will either kick it up to 400+ at the end or finish over a direct fire. Rub a little canola oil or even better, butter onto the skin and that will also help crisp it up nicely.

hamiltont
05-16-2012, 09:32 AM
Call me crazy.... I prefer to skin & remove most all the fat. Then brine for at least 6 hours. Pat dry and rub with EVOO and S&P (maybe a bit of celery seed and/or cilantro) and then on the grill/smoker ~300F with a bit of apple or cherry. The bird picks up plenty of smoke. Prolly 'cause the skin isn't in the way... Cheers!!!

Tatoosh
05-16-2012, 09:38 AM
I'm having so so results with my BBQ Cornell Chicken as well. The recipe calls for halving the birds, but we simply spatchcock them for the grill. I am going to try a different tactic now. We will do the marinade, then spatchcock. But I will smoke them for one hour at 200F or so. Then I will kick the charcoal grill up to 300F to 350F range and finish them. Spatchcocked, the chicken tends to lose fat easily and cook quickly.

We also trim some of the fat off the bird, particularly around the tail end. The birds here are not as big as the ones in the States, but the fat ratio seems about the same.

Vision
05-16-2012, 11:22 AM
Call me crazy.... I prefer to skin & remove most all the fat. Then brine for at least 6 hours. Pat dry and rub with EVOO and S&P (maybe a bit of celery seed and/or cilantro) and then on the grill/smoker ~300F with a bit of apple or cherry. The bird picks up plenty of smoke. Prolly 'cause the skin isn't in the way... Cheers!!!

That's what I've been thinking of doing.

Vision
05-16-2012, 11:24 AM
I'm having so so results with my BBQ Cornell Chicken as well.

My experiment with cornell cx produced a bland bird. Must be hype. Try roadside cx instead.

GreenDrake
05-16-2012, 11:26 AM
Beer can is a myth, spatchcock em and enjoy. 225 degrees, bone down and go to town. I don't brine small birds like chickies.

Mdboatbum
05-16-2012, 11:27 AM
I spatchcock and brine or marinate, then smoke at 325˚ or 350˚. Had one that I overshot the internal temp a bit so it was a little dry, but I haven't had a problem with greasy or fatty chicken. I shoot for 160˚ in the breast then rest and let it carry over to 165˚. As everyone else has said, if you cook it hotter more fat will render.
You can also remove much of the fat when you're preparing the bird.

bdodson
05-16-2012, 11:55 AM
I tried a chicken (free range from a friend). Brined it overnight, and tried to smoke it. Had 225 out the stack, and the chicken was on lower rack. It was on for 3 hours. Looked very dry, pulled it and the breast temp was only 142. Put it back in for another hour and it only got to 160. We could not eat it. I have another and a duck. I do not want to screw up another cause I keep hearing they are so much better than a store bought bird.
You think it never got hot enough to break down the fat, and such...like happens with a butt?

dadsr4
05-16-2012, 01:43 PM
I also cook at350 deg. I also loosen as much of the skin as possible and rub with olive oil and seasonings under the skin. Spatchcocked, I go for 185 deg in the thigh, whole I go for 165 deg in the breast.

bdodson
05-16-2012, 03:55 PM
So brine, pat dry, loosen skim, rub down in and under skin with EVO and seasoning, put it in the smoker. Light the basket and open 'er up. If I did this, the low temp and smoke would be about 30 minutes to get up to 300 - 350 and look for 165 in the breast. Try the same with a duck?

landarc
05-16-2012, 05:08 PM
Duck and Chicken are a little different in preparation and cooking. For both, one thing I like to do is loosen the skin over the breast and add some flavor, if just a few herbs or spices, salt and lemon slices.

For Duck, I prefer to dip or ladle very hot water over the skin a few times, it helps tighten the skin. I will then allow it to air dry, either by hanging, or as SanDiegoBBQ does, place it in the fridge to dry up. This increases the chance of getting a nice crispy skin. Then into a hot cooker until mahogany colored and crispy.

For chicken, I like to truss it up tight, I am less of a fan of spatchcocking unless time is a factor. I also consider splitting to yield a different result that spatchcocking. I prefer whole, trussed up tight so that all body cavities are closed off. No stuffing and no loose appendages. Brine in this manner or brine prior to trussing, doesn't matter.

You can cook it hot, 350F or even higher, or you can cook at 225F to 250F and run a longer cook. It will be closer to 4 hours at these temperatures and the skin gets moist and tender, not crispy. A totally different product. If I don't brine, I go very hot, 400F and offset heat, otherwise it dries unfavorably.

snyper77
05-16-2012, 11:14 PM
As others stated, high heat 325+. Also, I learned a little trick that adds TONS more flavor to whole chicken:

When it's done (165 internal), pull ALL the meat from the bones and place it in an aluminum pan (or sheet of foil). Pour all the juices into the pulled chicken. Place it back on the smoker for 10 minutes. Stir the pulled chicken (to allow it all to get some smoke), and give it 10 more minutes on the smoker. Remove from smoker and enjoy! The bird has much more flavor! I used cherry wood.

Greg1911
05-17-2012, 12:42 AM
Get a rotisserie for your rig if possible and cook em above 350.

I like spatchcocked next best. Rotobirds are amazing. Crispy skin, juicy meat.

retired trucker
05-17-2012, 12:48 AM
When I spatchcock my birds, i cook bones down and meaty side up. Turns out great.

I also like to pull the meat and mix and serve. No special pieces to fight over. Mixed it is all good and juicy.

qnbiker
05-17-2012, 12:58 PM
I prefer to split rather than spatchcock; no particular reason other than easier handling. I also cook bone side down at 325-350. Indirect on the kettle or on the WSM, they always turn out fine.

GreenDrake
05-17-2012, 01:04 PM
qn, I do too. I spatch then split. Easier to move around the grill, presents well and one slice from quartering when done. Never had any issues with split yardbird not being amazingly juicy.

STCL01
05-17-2012, 03:29 PM
I cook my chickens on the smoke tower of my smoker while cooking whatever else. Tower runs cooler than the main pit. So if I'm at 300 on the main pit I'm looking at 200 or so in the tower. Run the chickens for 6 hours at this. Yes it takes time.

I butterfly and remove loose fat and trim, but not remove skin. Loosen the skin and rub olive oil and spices under the skin. Rub the bird with olive oil on the outside and spice. Cook bones down. About an hour from finish I'll glaze with a corn syrup/ jelly glaze with some spice, if desired. Birds will be dark and very moist.

SmokinAussie
05-18-2012, 05:52 AM
Sorry, I gotta bung in a link to this one I did a few years ago.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=92325

If you try and smoke them like this, you can't fail.

I did 2 Chickens like this last week on my WSM and they were still nowhere near as good as the chooks I smoked that day.

Cheers!

Bill

Cheers!

Bill