Having Challenges with Skin

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by grandpa b, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. I hope someone can tell me what I'm missing. Every time I smoke a whole chicken or a turkey, I get rubber skin. The taste, moisture and tenderness are always spot on. Please take a look at my method. What am I missing?

    1) Brine for 2-4 hours:

    - Sea salt

    - Sugar

    - Water

    - Apple Juice

    2) Inject with marinade:

    - Honey/Butter recipe.

    3) Coat the outside with olive oil

    4) Apply rub

    5) Smoke at 300 deg until internal temp of 165 in the breast

  2. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    1. Increase your cooking temp to 325+

    2. Allow the fowl to sit uncovered in the reefer the night before cooking, let the skin become dehydrated, its will also form what's called a pellicle.

    That's it. The second will help even if you maintain a 275 degree smoke. The biggest thing is that little extra heat. Brining and oil rub both hydrate the skin. Let it dry after the brine, then oil rub just before throwing it in the smoker.

    I think you'll be much happier.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2014
    grandpa b likes this.
  3. Thanks Foamheart! I'll try that when I try the chicken next weekend.
  4. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good luck with it.
  5. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    You can also use a light dusting of baking powder on the skin to help it dry and get crispy when cooking.

    But if brining it then Foam's def got you covered.
    grandpa b likes this.
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Try the Peking Duck trick. After it comes out of the Brine, dunk the bird in boiling water for 30-60 seconds before allowing to dry overnight in the refer,uncovered. Works great...JJ
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
    grandpa b likes this.
  7. Don't they also blow air under the skin to separate it from the meat and help it crisp.
  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yep this also has a big impact on how well the Fat renders...JJ
  9. That sounds interesting JJ. If you do this are you still able to easily separate the skin from the meat to apply rub under the skin? I don't really want to say the skin on my birds is rubbery, just not crispy. Mine was low and slow 250 Deg,  Was it a mistake to foil the bird during the last 5 degrees of smoking?

    This was my bird just before foiling: I thought it was going to be crispy, Everythhing else was excellent just didn't have the crispy skin.

  10. Not sure what your doing wrong it sounded spot on for me , I just rub mine with oil and rub and let them sleep over night then cook on 250 for 6 hours 4-5 pound bird. skin is always crispy
  11. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you want crisp skin from a pit, you pretty much have to exceed 300 to 325 cooking temp. and/or dehydrate the chickens skin. Most commonly used is the reefer for a day or a fan. Problem with a fan is it will form the pellicle in 10 to 15 mins. but to get a good dehydration thru evaporation you have to have the bird unrefrigerated for awhile, and that's not a good idea. You can always throw it on the grill or under a broiler to finish, if the crisp skin is that important.

    Electric's seldom have the horsepower to get it done. The closest I have come is after a day in the reefer and at 275 degree smoker. Its more like parchment paper than crispy and I know its just me but...... I swear the white meat ( if a large breasted fowl), comes out less tender than with the normal low and slow approach.
  12. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    foiling the bird for the last 5 degrees was the problem. Its traps moisture too close to the skin and rehydrates its causing SKS (soggy skin syndrome - starting a new SMF acronym haha)
  13. yotzee

    yotzee Smoking Fanatic

    A bird doesn't benefit from slow and low.  Crank the heat up and you will get crispier skin.
  14. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Foam and Jimmy have you in the right direction. I go at higher temps myself and rarely brine mine....
  15. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yep, was the foil that did your skin in. It steamed the skin. You can go hot and fast, 300°+ or low and slow then crisp the skin in a 425 to 500°F Oven or over indirect heat on your covered grill...JJ
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2014
  16. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I like to skip the brining and spatchcock and cook in the ballpark of 400 degrees. Skin comes out very crispy and the meat is juicy and tender and cooks evenly. In my limited experience Chicken doesn't need all that much smoke to taste smokey and spatchcocking with temps around 400 you are only looking at about 10-11 minutes per pound.

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