First Smoke - Chicken Thighs

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by bradt35, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. My First Smoke:

    Chicken Thighs

    Bacon Wrapped ABTs

    Twice Baked Potatos

    Day 1:

    10 Chicken Thighs with Skin on

    10 Chicken Thighs with Skin off (Wife wanted me to leave it off half)

    Covered in EVOO

    Rubbed McCormick Grill Mates Seasoning all over, (Under skin on ones with skin)

    Stored in fridge overnight

    Day 2:

    3:45  Pre-heated MES 40 to 225°F

             Added Mesquite Chips

    4:00  Sprayed Racks with PAM

             Put Thighs in MES (w/out skin on top rack, w/skin on second)

             Smoked at 225°F

    5:45  Raise Temp to 250

             Flipped Thighs

             ABTs placed on 4th Rack       

             Smoke at 250°F

    6:45  Raise Temp to 275

             Flipped Thighs

             Taters placed on 4th Rack       

             Smoke at 275°F

    8:00  Remove and Pig out!

    My thoughts:

    1.  Chicken was just a tad dry.  Probably smoked at 275 for to long.  

         (Company called and said they would be 45 min later than planned)

    2.  Chicken with skin turned out much better than w/out.  W/out skin had a dry surface but still good taste..  

         Not bad overall, but w/skin was better... May try wrapping thighs with bacon next time.

    3.  My wife and I agreed that we got the taste we were shooting for (similar to our local BBQ restaurant).  We both agreed that we    

         like grilled thighs better than the smoke.  

    4.  Will probably stick with quarters or whole birds in the future.

    5.  New chips were needed every 25 minutes to keep smoke going...  Gonna need some mods (Please suggest)

    6. Potatoes and ABTs were awesome!

  2. ellymae

    ellymae Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Skinless chicken doesn't do as well in a smoker as skin on does. You can try brining them to help keep them juicy. Still looks good. 
  3. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  4. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    IMO, chicken does better at a higher temp. You mentioned a dry result from too long at 275*, however, I think that the time spent at the lower temps was the cause of drying out. Cooking the chicken at a higher temp (300*) will get it done faster without drying it out. Good luck, Joe
  5. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Nice first smoke! The thighs were probably long past done when you pulled them off. I didn't see a digital thermometer...
    Also, one thing you'll notice around here; "When in doubt, wrap it in bacon!" :drool

  6. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Nice smoke Brad!  I've read that chicken absorbs smoke, so you don't have to keep adding smoke.  I haven't perfected it with my Weber yet, it's a work in progress.  I agree about the grilled chicken being tastier, probably due to the higher temps.  

  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great looking smoke! Points!!!!

    I too suggest doing high temp smokes for poultry. Ido skinless birds and they turn out nice and moist. No brine no spritzing no injecting. Smoker running 325-350. Yes the skinless will form a "crust" on the outer layer of the meat but the interior is still moist and tender.

    If you plan on doing whole birds I recommend spatchcocking the bird. This allows for the bird to my flat and cook evenly. Cook all your poultry, wether parts or whole to an IT of 165. Allow to rest 30-45 minutes prior to eating.
  8. Thanks Ellymae!  Definitely a lesson learned on this one!  Never brined before... I was a little hesitant on my first batch.
    Thanks WaterinHoleBrew, I plan to get on board with the Amazenproducts soon!  I'm considering the mailbox mod...  Just have to get permission from the Mrs :)
    Thats really good info to know!  I really appreciate this feedback!  My MES will only go up to about 275° that I know of...  I'll give it another go on the higher temp for shorter period.  Also thought about using a milder wood next time.  Any recommendations?
    Thanks Smokey!  I'm pretty sure they were past done.  The ones without skin were a little dry but the ones with skin were all still good.  I measured one of them at 172° with an el cheapo digital thermometer right before I took them out and knew I had overshot a good bit.  I just wasn't thinking...  I realize now that even though I set the temp down to 160° to wait on my company... I actually was still cooking them at around 250-275 because I never opened the door...  Guess I should have held the door open to let the temp come down once they were ready.  Oh well... You live you learn...

    Thanks for my first Points! 
    Thanks Mike!  After consulting with my wife on taste I've decided I should probably use a milder wood next time as well.  If I'm being honest... Grilled thighs are hard to beat!

    Thanks for the Points!
    Thanks for the points Sailor!

    I'm seeing a theme on the higher temps for Chicken lol.  I'll have to look into the spatchcocking, I honestly don't even know what that is.  

    Just looked at your link and that bird looks awesome!  Definitely gonna try that soon!  I'll make sure to let you know how it turns out!

    Thanks for all the feedback and help guys and gals!  Keep it coming!
  9. smoking4fun

    smoking4fun Smoke Blower

    Did you smoke 4 hours as a "timed" smoke, or did you use a thermometer and smoke to a certain internal temperature (IT)?

    When smoking (unless it's ribs, which are usually done using the 3-2-1 or 2-2-1 method), the meat should be done according to the IT and not a certain time.  This will help to not only make sure your meat gets cooked properly, but also help prevent overcooking (drying out).

    I've got 4 racks of chicken thighs in my smoker as I write this, and I have a thermopen that I'm using to test pieces on every level as well as 2 probes inside pieces on different levels just to make sure all of the different levels are getting cooked properly.

    I also agree with the posts above that suggest smoking skin-on, I think it protects the meat - and I just remove the skin when the meat is done.

    The pics look like everything went great.  I hope everyone enjoyed the meal!  Good effort on the first smoke.  Another suggestion is to keep notes so that you know what worked and what didn't, and try to perfect the method that works for you.
    I am currently using a mix of hickory and cherry pellets (in the Amazen).
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  10. I almost always try to cook to a specific IT... The problem I ran into this time was that I didn't really have a good feeling/understanding for how fast the chicken would get up to temp in the MES combined with the fact that I was trying to time the meal for when our company arrived.  We only had a small window of time (30 min or so) with them before we left out (They were baby sitting for us so we could go break in the new year!)

    I realize now that I really need a good multi-probe thermometer for internal and smoker temps...  Preferably one that would work on my grill also and has bluetooth and/or wireless capabilities...  Any recommendations and/or links?

    Also, any links that explain which Amazen products for a certain Smoker would be appreciated. 

    Everything went great!  Everyone enjoyed the meal and requested doggy bags (maybe just to stroke my ego... but still...  I'm an all or nothing guy who wants to learn the most he can about everything [​IMG]  

    My wife made fun of me... as she usually does... about keeping notes while smoking lol.
  11. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Brad, I like apple with chicken or turkey. Cherry would be my 2nd choice. I normally use Cherry on pork.
  12. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    With all being said, these look way better than my first thighs did, Brad. You are well on your way.

  13. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Perfect! b
  14. I still can't get the chicken skin right. Each time I try chicken with skin on it I reach my IT and the skin is no where close to crispy, every time it is rubbery, and I have to finish on direct flame on the grill to get the skin edible...any recommendations?
  15. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Crank the heat to as high as you can on the MES and brush the skin with oil or melted butter at the beginning and 1/2 way through but it is hard to get enough heat out of an electric smoker to get really crisp skin. I used to have a Bradley and I could get it close by using it at the highest temperature I could and oiling the skin.

  16. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    What's wrong with that?  Slow smoking gives the chicken flavor, high temps get the skin crispy.  You can't have both unless you get very lucky with your cook.  There is nothing wrong with crisping the skin after a smoke, there is nothing wrong with cooking at temp to achieve crispy skin.  Achieving both at once is a challenge.

  17. Ok well I guess I was assuming I wasn't doing something right with the prep or something, and that there was a way to smoke it and get skin crispy in one step. I worry about overcooking when hitting it with open flame so I may pull it early and then throw it on grill.
  18. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    A lot of folks finish them in the oven or on the grill to crisp them up, Missouri, especially wings. No harm, no foul 😊
  19. campfirestu

    campfirestu Newbie

    I want to thank everyone for the input on this post - our first couple tries with chicken breasts was not good but they were skinless and we tried to smoke at 225 degrees.

    As a result of these posts we changed the plan and went with higher temps:

    Last evening's smoke:

    2) Bone in / Skin on breasts 1-1/ lbs ea.

    Smoker temp 325

    Smoke duration 45 mins (under smoked somewhat going to do 1hr 15 mins next time) 

    We do use the AMPS in a side box

    We got distracted (helping with homework) and the IT got to 195 and 200 before we pulled them out. Surprisingly they were still great. Were going to try to pull them at 180 deg next time.

    Thanks again for all the great info on these posts!!!!
  20. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Glad you had some chicken success! Keep on smoking.


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