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Diagnose my chicken -- a request :)

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 

Hi all,  been snooping around and reading posts on poultry smoking.  Below is a pic of my first chicken smoked in a cheap electric Brinkmann smoker.   I used some peach wood and maybe a little apple and/or cherry... mostly peach.


It tasted FANTASTIC but the skin was VERY blackish as you can see.  Looked pretty bad actually. 


I smoked it for about 3 hours over water at a temp of about 220.


Any ideas on what I could do to minimize the ugly factor?







post #2 of 40

Didn't mean to reply, now I can't figure how to delete the post. Look for another thread recently with the same problem.

post #3 of 40

Welcome to SMF. Were glad to have you aboard so join in, share your experiences, have some fun and don’t forget to post our favorite.

The Qveiw


Happy smoking……




I smoke birds at 275. might have too much smoke..... Did you use all wood or use charcoal, lump and wood chips-chunks.....At what Intrnal temp did you pull it at?


How about swinging over to roll call and introducing yourself so we can give you a proper welcome and dont forget to fill out your profile



post #4 of 40


welcome1.gif   Glad to have you with us!


I like the color, did you eat the skin?


post #5 of 40

A trick you could try...which is what I do with Turkey, is to get some cheesecloth (enough to wrap the bird at least once but no more than twice) and soak it in melted butter.  I use at least a half stick.  Take the soaked cheesecloth and surround the bird (after doing your rub or seasoning), I sprinkle on a bit more seasoning...then smoke as usual. I use a higher temp also - usually 270.  The bird comes out a nice golden brown and an interesting pattern when you pull the cloth off.  Not a crispy skin but edible!  Here is a pic of some turkey I've done this way:



with cloth still on at end of smoke




this one with the cloth removed








post #6 of 40

What were you measuring your Smoker temp with? I don't recall ever seeing, 220*F give that much skin shrinkage and tightening in 3 hours...Higher than measured temp would be my Guess...JJ

post #7 of 40

Stock thermometers are notorious for being very inaccurate. Get yourself a new one. Check them in boiling water to make sure.

post #8 of 40

Kevin, I agree the heat was too high.  Look into some of the Thermometers advertized here on the Forum;good guys. However if you are strapped like some of us,look at your Grocer and get one of the little Pocket Therms.(about $3), get 2 and you can check your Smoker temps. and the IMT's of the food, most of them will go as far as 225*f,enough to do good smoking.


Calibrate in boiling water and figure your adjustment from there(if it's off,most chepos are,so figure you difference).


Have fun and...

post #9 of 40

I have an electric vertical Brinkmann and the Thermo on the door is off by 50* +  make sure you are not using that as your gauge.

post #10 of 40

Looks like the smoker temp was high and too much smoke

post #11 of 40

The color could be due to the preparation.


The shrinkage JJ noticed leads me to think temps and times?


You have recieved good advice here.


Then again, if it tasted right? Where is the foul?  My only question would be with texture when you had that much shrinkage?


Good luck and good smoking.

post #12 of 40
Thread Starter 

WOW-  THANKS for the warm welcome and the good commentary!  I was surprised to see such a nice response.


I used a pretty good thermo so I think the temp reading is accurate... nevertheless,,  will double check.


I read somewhere that maybe apple-wood can darken chicken skin more than other woods-  anyone agree with this?


And- when you say shrinkage...  I guess you are just talking about the bird shrinking?  I mean- it was VERY moist meat---  I didn't really think of it as "shrunk" but now looking at the pic-  I kind of see what you mean.   Interesting.



This smoker has no temp control... just on and off...    electric..  (I got it cheap).


Thanks again everyone!!!   I am looking forward to learning and then giving back!!

post #13 of 40

You must dry the meat before smoking. Many smokers will start with no smoke, low heat, and vents wide open until dry, then add smoke. I just air dry or leave unwrapped in the fridge the night after rubbing. You also can pat dry and sprinkle your rub on heavy but not rubbed in. Most recipes you read will incorporate one of these methods but seldom explain why. Yours looks like my first chicken on a kettle grill.


post #14 of 40
Thread Starter 

Interesting... so why is making it dry before smoke so important? 

post #15 of 40
Originally Posted by kevinvinv View Post

Interesting... so why is making it dry before smoke so important? 

  I believe it's so you get more smoke penetration.

I never do it, unless I'm smoking sausage.


post #16 of 40

Having your meat dry before adding smoke (or forming a pelicle) is recommended for smoke adhesion and to seal in juices.  At least that is the theory.  LOL


Good luck and good smoking.

post #17 of 40

Yes smoke penetration and sooty black meat. If you go from cooler to smoker, you will get that black coating. Ask me how I know. Beating_A_Dead_Horse_by_livius.gif

post #18 of 40

What color was your smoke?

I too think it was way to hot and it looks like something that was hung in a chimney for three hours. I'm glad it tasted ok but we need to diagnose your smoker. Have you done any pork in it? I suggest getting either a small pork butt or an inexpensive beef chuck roast and give it another whirl.

post #19 of 40

Top vents open all the way or partially closed?  Where are you getting your wood, chips, chunks, dust?  Is it cured or green?  


Looks kinda like my first smokes way back when I started, I used to try to control temp with my exhaust vents.  I used to run all bottom vents all the way open, and run the exhaust partially closed.  She was puffin so much white smoke it looked like I was trying to send smoke signals.  My thinking at the time was "the more the smoke comin out the more smoke I was putting in the meat"  How wrong I was, and I couldn't figure out that bitter tingling taste on my tongue, thought it was something in the rubs I was using.  I later learned that was the taste of creosote, everything I smoked was black as night too.  I still get dark bark now, but it doesn't turn coal black on me though.  


Hope this helps



post #20 of 40

I agree probably too hot and white smoke.  Too much sufar in a rub might also lead to a color like that.

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