Day 2 of my 2-day smokefest...
I had these 4lb birds finishing their thaw in my fridge for 2 days after a 6-hr cold water bath to start the thaw. My Gourmet lower grate support mods were done just for quartered birds the first time around, and round 2 should prove just as successful as the first, only with the colder weather I need to monitor the water level in the pan very closely so as to be able to attain the chamber temps I want.
I've found that keeping the level low allows for higher temps with lower intake air for combustion, and this also helps to keep from having tons of steam, as my charcoal grate mod lifted the coal base to the top of the fire pan and the coals are pretty close to the pan which causes a much more rapid boil-off.
The plan for today was to smoke in the 190-200* range for 2-2.5 hours (which held pretty steady for this period), then allow the water pan to run dry and this will in turn bring chamber temps up about 60-80*, so I'll need to back off the intake air to bring it in to the 230* range.
I took the birds out of the bags, rinsed thoroughly and broke through the back bone with the point of a medium weight chef's knife, cut through the entire back bone and then down through the breast, finishing by slicing through the skin. This was done with the birds laying breast-down the entire time, so I kept my handling time to a minimum. Then, I seperated the breast and leg quarters.
Man, they sure are ugly critters when you first cut 'em open...but I intend to re-incarnate them very soon:
One bird gets a light dose of my Red Bell Pepper rub...:
...and this fella got a new, but simple twist to one of my other favorite rubs, a Jalapeno based rub:
HOT JALAPENO CHICKEN
2 Tbls freshly powdered jalapeno
1-1/2 Tbls freshly ground black peppercoen
1 Tbls garlic, freshly powdered from dried minced
1 Tbls cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin, freshly powdered
2 tsp oregano, freshly powdered
2 tsp sweet basil leaves, freshly powdered
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbls kosher salt (EDIT)
Apply to moist chicken, generously dusting to cover all exposed areas, and under sides of wings, etc.
I loaded the hot rubbed quarters into the lower grate...I don't want hot spices dripping onto the milder rubbed meats...no surprised looks at the table that way...LOL!!!:
The milder RBP gets to ride through it's journey safely above the hot stuff:
2.5 hours in, and the water pan is just about dry, so temps are climbing on their own...the skin is pretty moist still, so I want the dry heat to finish the birds for a firmer skin with a stiffer crust from the spices:
I'll come back with the finish later. I've tried getting this thread started 3 times and had to dump the browser and start over in the middle of uploading from PB, so it's been about 2.5 hours getting this far. In fact, the birds are at 3 hours right now, just to give you an idea. Anyway, my newest computer crashed a couple days ago...cooling fan issue with the graphics card, causing it to overheat and shut-down. This older computer I'm now using has software/hardare issues as well, but it'll get me through a couple more days 'til the other one's fixed.
Thanks for peeking, all!
...to be continued...
Edited by forluvofsmoke - 12/14/10 at 6:34pm