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Newbie preping 1st smoke on ECB for tomorrow, chicken & salmon, advice would be appreciated.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 



Howdy. I'm SeanO from Yorktown, Virginia.


I've set up my ECB with the usual mods, and have some nice hardwood briquettes from Trader Joe's--they're all natural--and some mesquite wood chunks.  


I picked up a lovely roaster chicken and a pound of Alaskan salmon to smoke tomorrow for my guests.


I'm going to brine my meats tonight and smoke tomorrow.


My one looming question is this: smoking times for chickens on the web vary wildly. I'll be picking up a precise thermometer tomorrow, so I'll know the temps at each stage of the process--but can anyone give me an idea how long a 5 1/2 lb bird outghta smoke?


I plan to start my bird out on the lower rack, then add my salmon about an hour before the guests arrive.


Any other advice?


Thanks in advance!



post #2 of 12


This site has tons of info.

I would suggest you spend some time reading all the different forums and the WIKIs.

Then use the handy dandy search tool for specific interests!!

Take the awesome free E-Course!!!

Have a great day!!!

      Make bacon the easy way!!



post #3 of 12

At about 250 smoker temp I would say about 3 + - but you want to smoke to temp not time. 

post #4 of 12

X 2 to many variables

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for the input--it's greatly appreciated.  


I'm brining the meats at the moment--up late to make sure everything tastes great.


I'll cook to temp as advised.  I have small meat thermometers for each slab so things are done for sure.


I really appreciate the support from these forums.  It's nice to know you don't have go on this adventure alone!


Thanks again!


post #6 of 12

Don't forget the Q-view Sean!

post #7 of 12

You might end up with fishy tasting chicken if you do it at the same time and you wouldn't want chicken juices dripping on your salmon. I would consider doing the salmon seperately ahead of time, then clean the smoker before doing the chicken.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Here we go, with Q-view as requested, Al!  biggrin.gif



Well it's over now I must say it was a (qualified) success.  Short version: the salmon came out lovely. The chicken, not so much.


Although my guests felt the chicken was tasty & moist, I found it to taste...well, like crappy, baked chicken with way too much mesquite flavor.  Like I said to the wife--I would've enjoyed eating a 

rotisserie from the local grocer more, and it would have been cheaper.  So, what went wrong?


Well, I guess the answer is, I don't really know.  Maybe I just don't like smoked chicken?  I think that's largely true, but I also think that there was a bit too much white smoke, although perhaps some more seasoned (ahem) folks will weigh in on the issue.  I was shooting for that ellusive (for me) Thin Blue Smoke.



So.  Too much white smoke? I think so, but it was either this, or nothing. I couldn't find a happy medium, adding & removing bricks, what have you, etc....  Also, I have a buddy who insisted on "helping."  Which meant more mesquite than I would have liked ended up in the firebox.  ;)  



Anyway, like I said, everybody else like the chicken. I confirmed that I do not like the taste of mesquite, and neither does the wife.  Why didn't I get hickory?
This was a 5 lb. roaster, cooked beer-can style with a rub from a cookbook that was actually not too bad. I did brine the chicken overnight, and it was somewhat juicy, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I might have enjoyed, for instance, a rotisserie chicken from Costco or something.  So to me that means it's not worth it, esp given the amount of work and long cooking times, extensive fuel, etc.  I expected, with the extensive brining, something very moist & juicy & delicious.  Also, I think that I love the crispy exteriors of baked chickens much more than the result from the smoker.  And I just don't want to cook it two ways...
It looked and smelled great in the smoker, though.
First smoked bird.
I also smoked a 1 lb salmon.  (My smoker has two racks.)  I cooked to temp, about one and a half hour cooking time, and the brining process had created a lovely pellicle which locked in the salmon fat, the result was a very mild smoke flavor which coupled with my newly invented "Seanny's unPatented Fish Rub (NoMark) (No rights reserved)!!!!!" It was pretty awesome.  It was very juicy and delicate--almost the texture of butter--on the inside, and crispy & flavorful on the outside.  
They tore it up.  
Salmon with Seanny's unPatented Fish Rub
So, of moderate interest, perhaps, might be the rub recipe, which I will share when I get home this evening.
Many thanks again to those who posted their advice and to all of you for the support!
SeanO in Yorktown.
post #9 of 12

Hey Sean,I thought the smoke was fine. I smoke a chicken almost every weekend as

I love it through and through. you'll like your chicken much better with a few added steps:


1. Inject every muscle you can. I use a mix of melted butter, onion powder, garlic powder

    white pepper (Small amounts ,no more than 1/8 tspn, very light on the white pepper)

2. I'm not sure which rub you used, but the chicken appeared fine. I use Jeff's rub with a

    few mods, less brown sugar, add paprika, call me crazy but it works for me and all who

    have eaten it.

3.Every chicken I smoke takes no longer that three hours, and I use 5 - 5 1/2 lb birds every time.

   Again, I smoke temp not time but surprisingly enough that's the mark. IT 165*


Other than that, I think everyone is skilled at one more than the other. It depends on what

you love the most. Thanks also for the video and please post again next itime, I like real time action...James

post #10 of 12

Welcome !

post #11 of 12



I encourage you to experiment more with chicken before you give up on it. It sounds like you have already learned a few things.


Mesquite definitely has a stronger smoke that does not agree with some folks. I don't care for it myself. (though I sometimes add a chunk to pecan-smoked brisket) Too much mesquite -- well it just compounds the problem. Next time try hickory or any fruit tree wood. Regarding the skin -- crispy skin can be hard to attain on a smoker, but try cooking at a slightly higher temp next time.


Good  luck.

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hey thanks you guys for the encouragement.  Maybe I won't give up on chicken just yet.


If any of you are interested, lemme share with you my rub.  Like most recipes, I adapted this from somewhere else, changed quite a bit, and loved it. It is quite salty, which is how I like it.  

I might tone down the salt in the future, so if you try that, make sure to report back.


Seanny's unPatented Fish Rub*


2 Tbs of a sea salt (kosher, whatever)

2 Tbs celery salt

1 Tbs minced garlic

1 Tbs onion powder

1 Tbs ground mustard (I use Superfine, Double Ground)

1 Tbs paprika 

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon allspice

cayenne to taste (start with a teaspoon)

cracked pepper to taste (again, start with a teaspoon)


*No rights reserved! icon_lol.gif

Edited by seannyob - 8/2/11 at 8:47am
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