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When is smoked chicken done

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I'm doing my smoker maiden voyage today.  I have some pork butts and shoulders in there, and I threw in a couple of chickens so we could have something for dinner.  They've been smoking 6 hours at 195 degrees.  I stuck one of those probe thermometers into one of the chickens and it said 159 degrees.  What meat temp am I shooting for?  Thanks in advance.

post #2 of 22

Look for 165*F in the Breast and 175*F in the Thigh. 195 is a low smoking temp and can be dangerous, you will Never get those Butts done and the Chix Skin will be rubbery...You need at least 225* and bird likes 300*F even better...JJ

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

Great, thanks!

post #4 of 22

Since you said you just Probed your Chicken is it safe to assume you did not Probe anything from the begining and did you Inject anything in the Pork or Chicken?....What is the temp of the Pork right now?...I'm having some concerns here...JJ

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post

Since you said you just Probed your Chicken is it safe to assume you did not Probe anything from the begining and did you Inject anything in the Pork or Chicken?....What is the temp of the Pork right now?...I'm having some concerns here...JJ

You are correct, I did not probe anything from the beginning and I didn't inject anything -- I used a dry rub on the chicken and pork.  Just checked temp on the pork shoulder, it is 140.  There are two pork butts in there, I checked one and it is 142.

post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 

Chef Jimmy,

Just saw the end of your first response.  Can you tell me what you mean by the low temp being "dangerous?"  I take it you'd recommend I crank the temp up?

post #7 of 22

What Chef is referring to is your smoker temp should be at least 225 -250 

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

ok, cranking it up to 250 now.

post #9 of 22

AND , if you have more than one meat in the smoker- please say that you put the Chicken under the other meat. Fowl is a great medium for pathogens,and should be seggorated from other food.


 A crisp skin is gotton from higher cooking temps. and to a IMT of 165*f as JJ has said, a good cooking temp. to go with is 300*f. this gets you through the 40* to 140* in 4 hrs. danger period.


A good beginners way to cook Bird is the Beer Can method ; clean and wash the Chicken , open his rear and place a half can of liquid(or beer) in it , position as a Tri-Pod with the legs and fold the wins back(turk the under).


Cook for 1-1/2 to 2hrs. or until 165*f or the juice flows CLEAR from the Thighs and joints are loose. You'll probabally not do them any other way, it's easy and quick.


Have fun and...

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 

Well, looks like I'm making plenty of rookie mistakes first time out.  The chickens are, of course, on the top rack.  I really hope I haven't screwed up the whole batch.

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

Well, if I end up with salmonella I'll post up here, but that chicken tasted fantastic.  I'll put up a thread later with start-to-finish pics, but the chickens looked just like the ones I've seen on this forum.  I pulled them out of the smoker and put them in the oven at 350 for an hour to finish them.  After letting them sit for about 20 minutes, I pulled all the chicken meat from the bones.  I've never seen chicken like this, it was incredibly tender and I just used my hands to pull it apart.  I ended up with a huge bowl full of pulled chicken.  Made some sandwiches for dinner with a Lexington vinegar-based sauce.  I think the sauce was a bit over-powering for the chicken, but man we enjoyed it anyway.  Next time I make chicken I'll get a milder sauce.  Meanwhile, the pork shoulder and butts continue to smoke, they are up to 175 degrees now.

post #12 of 22

You have learned a lot here today.


My bet is you will be just fine.


Good luck and good smoking.

post #13 of 22

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner...Yes, I would like to see you smoke at 225*F or higher. At the 195*F temp you were smoking at it would take maybe 20 hours to get up to temp not a huge deal IF it is intact muscle. Once you use a Probe, Injection or Garlic cloves pushed in, you add Bacteria to the interior of the meat and NO WAY you would get over 140*F in 4, at 195*F, unless they were real small Butts...So I was concerned for you my friend...Your Chicken was fine at the time of your first post and I am 100% sure your Butts will be Fine as well...Enjoy them...JJ

post #14 of 22


With my poultry I like to go to 170° maybe 175°

post #15 of 22

A lot of great tips and advice!  We all make mistakes, every single one of us, believe me!  But, do yourself a great favor and keep a log of every one of your smokes, your mistakes and successes, and you will not only learn quicker you will have the confidence to trust your notes and won't have to remember 'fuzzy' assumptions or guesses - you will learn to take the few moments to keep a log, print out pages from SMF as necessary and build a great book of knowledge!  It only takes a 3 ring notebook and a 3 hole punch and some paper/binder paper!  


I have been forced, because of my strokes, to do the very same thing.  I learned in ABI classes to keep a detailed notebook with 7 sections: 1) Schedule 2) Calendars 3) To Do list for that day, fill it out every day, check it 3 times so you don't forget things and work on your priorities 4) Notes - for things to refer to 5) How-To's (self-explanatory) 6) Strategies - ways to overcome cognitive, physical and emotional deficits, and 7) Misc. for lists, doctors, addresses, and so on.  I carry this every where I go.  To the store, to the house, to a neighbors, to church; everywhere except the bathroom, but I have to focus where I leave it.  It is for short term memory loss, but reinforces long term memory retention because I can refer back at any time.  "If You Think It, Then Ink It!"  is the Mantra!  It is the most dynamic, important, vital tool I can have, and it only cost under $10.


If you treat your smoking log the same way, you will reap the rewards of using and maintaining it.  Inch by inch anything's a cinch, by the yard it's always hard - a stitch in time saves nine - there are saying that strengthen that concept from many places... they must have some truth in them!  I'm living proof it works!  Start now, use it, respect it, and enjoy all the benefit years from now as you stylize methods and recipes to perfection!


And, you'll make Chef Jimmy J and many others on here proud and you will too become "the expert" everyone will refer to!

post #16 of 22
All the above is excellent advice, they all know there Shi# and will not give you bum info. I never use to keep notes, and once I started I found I quit making the same stupid/small mistakes. I too have done the chick on top bit, so don't beat your self up. Till i found SMF, think it was 5 years ago, I always cooked chick top rack as heat rises. I have been smoking many years however till I came to SMF I was doing it all wrong, probably made every mistake there is. With the help and guidance of the great people here I have relearned to smoke, and have now started helping others. If you follow the advice given here you will turn out some good Q, I know I do.


post #17 of 22

Looking forward to the finish pics!

post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 

I just posted a thread under smoking meat / general discussion with a bunch of pics.  It is  being held for moderator since I'm new but I'm sure it will pop up there soon.  Again, thank you all so much for the help yesterday.

post #19 of 22


Edited by danelmore - 6/9/12 at 6:40am
post #20 of 22

Bingo , Pops.  Her's a good start: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/a/keeping-a-smoking-log


Have fun and...

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