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Tough chicken skin

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Well I have been smoking a ton on the 84 deluxe lately.  Ribs and shoulder are coming out fantastic.  The smoker is just so easy to use.  Burns about 10-15 splits of wood for about a 8 hour cook, pretty efficient for its size.  Anyway, I have been having trouble with my chicken.  I have been cooking quarters and then meat is always great tasting and moist, however the skin is down right tough. I have been cooking between 225 and 275 and the chicken is usually on between 2 and 3 hours.  I use a rub, no brine as I dont love brined chicken.  Anyway, I was wondering i someone can give me some pointers on how to keep the skin a bit more tender.  Thanks.

post #2 of 12

Do you pat the chicken dry? I make sure mine is very dry. I even put it on a sheet pan after patting down with paper towels to let it air dry for a couple of hours in the fridge before I smoke it.  I like to put the majority of a rub under the skin and a light dusting on the skin. 

post #3 of 12

Chicken has to be smoked at around 300 to get crispy skin. If you smoke it at a lower temp then you have to crisp the skin up on a hot grill for a few minutes. You may want to try this recipe. It's for pulled chicken.



Pulled chicken & bacon

My all time favorite is smoke it at 225. While it's smoking fry up some bacon until crispy. Take the bacon & put on a paper towel, but leave the grease in the pan. When the chicken is done, take the skin off chop it into little pieces & put it in the fry pan in the bacon grease, fry it until it's crispy. Pull the chicken & put in a large mixing bowl. Chop the bacon up & combine the bacon & skin with the pulled chicken. toss them together & serve.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

SOunds really good AL.  Thanks for the replys.  SO you think that the skin gets too dry by cooking it at a lower temp?  The skin last smoke was definately not dry of moisture, how does the water make the skin tough?  I will try keeping it real dry next time.  ANy other pointers?  Thanks

post #5 of 12

i love chicken also   but always have rubbery skin   the only way ro get it right is to finish it on a hot grill and the skin will crisp up

post #6 of 12

What Rick said, also someone suggested rubbing mayo on the skin before smoking & that would crisp it up. Haven't tried it, but may the next chicken I do.

post #7 of 12

Have you considered preparing it naked (skin-less)? There's no law that states a bird will get dry if you cook it without the skin. I've smoked skinless whole birds, quarters and pieces. We like our smoked chicken better this way than skin-on, and it only takes a minute or two to remove the skin. The smoke actually will penetrate into the meat and even give you a nice smoke ring to boot with a gas or charcoal fired smoker. A light to moderate smoke with and combination of apple, pecan or cherry gives a very nice flavor. I find little smoke flavor with a skin-on bird, except for the skin itself, yet, with a skin-less bird, it is a deep flavor as you would find with any other meat.


The meat stays moist if not overcooked, just like it will with the skin on. There's a thin membrane over the muscles that stays intact when you peel the skin off of a well-chilled/nearly frozen bird which seems to hold the natural juices inside. I smoke skin-less low & slow @ ~225* which works out great when smoking other meats at the same time. I've smoked skin-on birds at higher temps of 275-325* with a low chamber humidity, and even when basted with butter, a crispy skin is no guarantee...maybe just one of those things I can't seem to master, but skin-less has been a no-fail method for what I'm really after (good smoke flavor).


Ya just never know 'til ya try it...



post #8 of 12

yep...pretty much everyone nailed here....if you leave the skin on... and are smoking from 225-275 your skin is gonna look nice, but be pretty rubbery and touch to eat, and chew......so you can either remove the skin then smoke em....or like alot of other guys here do, myself included.....cook them at 275-300 for 2-3 hours, and then throw them on your grill skin side down for a few minutes and that'll make the skin get all crispy and easy to tear with a fork or bite into.




post #9 of 12
Try to add more humidity to the pit.
cook at 300-325 this should give you
The consistentsy of rottisery chicken
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the replys guys.  I will try these ideas next time.

post #11 of 12

I agree with all who went before me except for adding humidity to the pit. That will not crisp the skin but will help keep the chicken moist, but will not help with the skin  

post #12 of 12

I have had the same question and similar problems with the chicken and or turkey skin being like rubber? So how long and at what Temp do I need to get the meet at to crisp up the skin. Should I have it at the beginning of the cook or towards then end of the cook as far as crisping up the skin?

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