I have a MES 40 and when smoking whole chickens on the rack should they be breast up or breast down? I do not have the beer can stands yet, are they worth it to purchase?
Phil, morning. I haven't figured out chickens yet but it sure looks like "africanmeat" has it figured out from his "first post" this morning.
I have always put my poultry breast side up. I'm sure there are arguments for either way. Personally I do think the beer can holders are worth it but I know you can put out just as good of a bird without them its just nice to have that double stand holding both birds. My stand also has spikes where you can stick potatoes or corn on the cob for smoking as well.
You don't need any kind of holder. It will stand up just fine. With the beer can & the two legs it makes a tripod. It's very stable.
Al.... I swear we must be long lost brothers or something ditto on the Beer can chicken and not needing a beer can holder.
If anyone has a problem getting the can to balance on the grates place a wire rack or cooling wrack on the grates then place the can on that.
You can also use a small square tile, trivet, small cast iron skillet...you get the picture
I have most definitely found that beer can chicken is worth it and the stands can definitely be nice. You don't necessarily need them but there are always those funky birds who do not want to stand up. Make sure that you season the beer as well as under/over the skin when you make them. A great way to cook and make sure there is beer around :)!
Beer can chicken has always turned out very juicy for me. The key elements are:
Use 12 oz can, which is only 1/3 full.
Spice the inside of the bird before you violate it with the can.
Put some spices in the can with the beer.
Indirect heat only.
Shoot for about 250 degrees for most of the cook time.
Let your temperature spike at the very end, which will crisp the skin.
Use a drip pan, a lot of liquid will fall from the bird.
Injected marinade really livens up the flavor of the meat.
Use a milder smoking wood.
I don't know if you need to use a milder wood entirely. Last time i did it I used a mixture of apple and hickory, which turned out awesome. I really like mesquite with chicken as well, but that could be because of my time in southern AZ.