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Smoked Chicken Legs - 1st timer question...

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hello all! I'm new here but loving all of the great help in this forum.

Just purchased a Masterchef Vertical Smoker today and got right into it with some chicken legs. All I can say is WOW. They were amazing. I don't know that I'll ever use my lame BBQ again. Only one problem that I'm hoping somebody can help me with - the skin, although very very tasty, was very tough and hard to get a sharp knife through. I'll give you the run down of what I did and maybe some of you master smokers out there can tell me where I went wrong?

 

4 chicken legs (thigh and drum) brined for 2 hours in water, salt, sugar, spices, one orange and a little olive oil (basic brine).

Rinsed well and dried, and then put butter that I had mixed a little of my rub into, up under the skin.

Lightly covered outside with rub.

I used mesquite charcoal (and it took forever to get enough of it going) and the temperature gauge only read 150-175 the entire cooking time.

I used sugar maple pellets in a little foil packet I made for smoke.

Cooked them for around 2.5 to 3 hours until internal was around 165-170. I also put them on the lower rack as I thought the top wouldn't be hot enough.

I let let them rest for 10 minutes after pulling them out.

 

They were so SO juicy and flavourful. Only problem? The skin was very tough.

 

Here are a few of my thoughts...

 

The brine? Too much salt?

The heat wasn't hot enough? Although I'm thinking the temp gauge wasn't right. I may use plain charcoal next time.

The butter under the skin toughened it up?

 

Any thoughts out there? Here are some pictures. Any help would be great! *dIMG_2919.jpgIMG_2931.jpgIMG_2933.jpgIMG_2936.jpg

post #2 of 18

Hi There

Chicken is one of my favorites for smoking and yours look great. I do think your temp should have been higher. I like to do chickens at  275-290. It is still dificult to get crispy skin though. If you baste periodically with a mixture of butter and olive oil during cooking at least the skin will get more tender and not get rubery. I did some game hens recently and basted with olive oil, butter, sweet cream sherry, and paprika mixture and the skin got nice and tender. Some folks like to finish it on a hot grill to crisp the skin after smoking. So, you may have a use for your old grill after all. Good luck and happy smoking!

post #3 of 18

Wow those look awesome! 

post #4 of 18

They look real good!

post #5 of 18

I agree that the issue was both the moisture and the temp.  Crisping on the grill fixes the problem for sure but the box temp is more of a concern. You are going to need to get the box up to 225 - 250 at least to do meats. 

 

It sounds like you may need more fuel or to do some sealing. I see a lot of smoke coming out joints and I bet that is causing you a heat loss too. 

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

I agree, I think there is a lot of heat escaping from it not having a tight fit. Any ideas on how I could fix this? I saw on another post that somebody had used some sort of (I'm guessing) fire safe tape. It looked kind of thick and they had taped it around all their openings and it effectively sealed it . Anybody know what I'm talking about?

Oh and BTW - I did NOT juice up those pictures. The colour was outstanding! *d

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 

Oh, and I recommend Alton Browns rub for chicken and ribs. Simple and tastes great. I'll post a link in recipes as well.

Rub Number Nine:

post #8 of 18

I've been wanting to check out that smoker at Canadian Tire, my main question is ... Does it have an adjustable air intake below the charcoal pan???  Also, whatever charcoal pan is in there, you have to be sure that it doesn't get clogged up with ash.

 

I might consider picking that one up if it looks good.

post #9 of 18

Looks great from here

post #10 of 18

Do you guys know if this smoker would be good to use with an AMNPS for cold smoking cheese, salmon, bacon? 

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

Sorry, was on vacation...

So here are the problems i have with this guy.

 

- the temp gauge never worked. i use a digital thermometer that has a long wand, and i pop that in the top opening and get a very accurate reading.

- the doors don't quite shut all the way, and the door on the bottom i find too small. hard to get my smoking pan in and out.

- there is no adjustable air intake below the charcoal pan

 

that's about it. for the price i think it's worth it. it has an upper and lower level for food with a drip pan just above the coals. I cure my own meat so my next will be trying to cold smoke for the first time. need to do some reading up on that first though!  *dalyn

post #12 of 18

The chicken looks so good!!I found this site when I googled the Chefmaster smoker I saw on the Canadian Tire website and your thread came up.I was going to go down to Bellingham and pick up the Brinkman but I think I'll buy this one instead......it will be my first smoker and I've been wanting one for a while>Would you recommend it to a first timer?

post #13 of 18
Hello! I'm new to the forum and same as Dalyn I am starting with the Masterchef. My first attempt is still ongoing, a whole chicken. I did a run on the chicken and am using sangria as the liquid. I am finding though that the thermometer won't climb above 150. It is pretty chincy though. Can anyone recommend a decent, but cheap replacement for it?
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by blaircole View Post

Hello! I'm new to the forum and same as Dalyn I am starting with the Masterchef. My first attempt is still ongoing, a whole chicken. I did a run on the chicken and am using sangria as the liquid. I am finding though that the thermometer won't climb above 150. It is pretty chincy though. Can anyone recommend a decent, but cheap replacement for it?


Get any basic meat therm and just swap out the one it comes with. I have the same smoker (check out my posts) and I love it, but my therm was 100 degrees off.

Also get yourself a good digital probe to put in the meat so you will know when it is done.

 

Barry

post #15 of 18

Yep, all good suggestions...Have fun and Practice often...

 

I agree the color was super...biggrin.gif   Now get the Skin thingy right and ,Good Eats...

post #16 of 18

I picked up a meat probe and just sat it on the grill while I had it smoking.  It was pretty accurate and should work until I find a therm for the lid.  I ended up mod'ing my smoker after my first attempt ended in disaster when the smoker lost its heat.  Turned out the bottom of the charcoal pan had filled with ash and suffocated the coal.  I put a 4" damper on the bottom of the pan which increased the airflow a touch and allowed me to empty the ash from the pan without removing it from the smoker.  Thanks for the help!!

post #17 of 18

blaircole, can you explain how to added a damper to the pan? i think i'm having the same problem you had...

post #18 of 18
I cut a hole roughly 4 inches in diameter in the charcoal pan using a dremel. The damper I bought has a plate on it with pre-drilled holes which allowed me to run self tapping screws right into the bottom of the pan. I hope this helps! Before the damper I ruined a chicken and since I've had great success with another chicken and a pork loin rib roast
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