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