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new to smoking, question about chicken and turkey smoking

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I plan on buying a 22 inch Weber One Touch gold this weekend, and I am really interested in cooking chicken and turkey legs we have in the freezer.  I normally only like to cook thighs and legs, and I've always brined them with a solution of 1 gallon water, 1 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar, along with garlic powder, dried onion, and thyme. 

Now whenever I've cooked chicken on our (now rusting apart) gas grill, I've always just cooked them on low heat for 30 mins for separate thighs/legs, or about an hour if it's a leg/thigh quarter.

Since I am new to charcoal and smoking, I am looking for some guidance on how to do the chicken and turkey legs.  I bought some fire bricks so I can bank my coals to one side and do indirect smoking.....but I've read a lot of posts regarding chicken where people say you should smoke at a higher temp when it comes to poultry.  So should I still use the indirect method with chicken and turkey then?  or should you just pile the coals in the middle and throw on the smoke wood?   I'm so full of questions, and I don't want to screw it up.  Thanks in advance for any guidance. 

post #2 of 17

This cook was not on a Weber Kettle but the process is the same. Indirect cooking with a full Chimney of charcoal, with a quick finishing over the coals at the end. I did this at 300*F but going to 325-350*F will speed things up and eliminated my having to finish in the oven.This is the best Chicken I ever had from a Grill. A couple of chunks of smoke wood will work nicely too...JJ

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/121378/pit-chicken-aka-roadside-chicken-for-you-west-coast-guys

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

So don't bother with the minion method when it comes to chicken?  Just light a full chimney, and bank them to one side? 
 

post #4 of 17

just banked to one side. thats how i do them also. i run it at about 320ish to gimme that crispy crispy skin that i adore soo much..hahasausage.gif

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

so at those temps the chicken pieces will probably cook in 1-1.5 hours, right?  is that enough time to get the smoke flavor into the meat?
 

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

..also, after you guys brine your chicken/turkey, do you dry the skin at all in the fridge or anything?  I have never done that before, but I see it mentioned every so often.  Also, can the food go right on the grill after you apply a rub, or should you apply the rub and let it sit on the meat for awhile before smoking?

post #7 of 17
I have tried in the fridge. But at the moment I have been boiling the jug and pouring boiling water over the skin and it has been giving a great crisp skin.
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgaviator View Post

so at those temps the chicken pieces will probably cook in 1-1.5 hours, right?  is that enough time to get the smoke flavor into the meat?
 

 yeh about 2 hours or so just check ur temps. i dont worry too much about time as i do temperature. chicken seems to take on smoke very quickly in my experiences. in 1.5-2hrs time i end up with plenty of smoke flavor. nana2.gif

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgaviator View Post

..also, after you guys brine your chicken/turkey, do you dry the skin at all in the fridge or anything?  I have never done that before, but I see it mentioned every so often.  Also, can the food go right on the grill after you apply a rub, or should you apply the rub and let it sit on the meat for awhile before smoking?

from what i have read here ppl have different takes on this...some choose to let stuff sit and get to room temp(or in fridge w/rub) for awhile and some just do like me, rub and put on smoker. i never wait, im not sure if theres any difference in taste or not by doing either. maybe someone else will chime in a little more on this.


Edited by TurnandBurn - 4/16/13 at 9:04am
post #10 of 17

After an overnight Brine, I let them dry in the refer for a day then rub and go on the grill. Letting the skin dry gives a crispier end product...NEVER let Chicken warm to room temp. There is no need since you are not going for a even rare like beef. And Salmonella is just too happy to multiply rapidly at room temp...JJ

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post

After an overnight Brine, I let them dry in the refer for a day then rub and go on the grill. Letting the skin dry gives a crispier end product...NEVER let Chicken warm to room temp. There is no need since you are not going for a even rare like beef. And Salmonella is just too happy to multiply rapidly at room temp...JJ

yeahthat.gif.....When you let the skin dry after the brine, you get the pellicle formation on the skin. This is good and allows the smoke in and retains the moisture and precious juices from escaping. I cook chicken at hotter temps too as JJ indicated in an earlier post. Gets the skin crispier. Nothing worse to me than soggy chickens skin. Chicken is easy so you shouldn't have a problem having excellent results....Unlike most meats, I like chicken well done...165°....175° internal temp.

Remember the pics...............................................th_nopicsye3.gif................Have a good smoke!........RTBBQ

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 

thanks for the advice everyone....i am still not quite sure about when you should use a minion method vs when you should just light a chimney full of coals.  I guess since the advice is to cook the chicken at a hotter temp, the minion method might be too little heat, correct?.... If I bank the coals to the side behind the fire bricks, should I use a full chimney of fully lit, or just like half full?  How many wood chunks do you throw on?  Is there a chance the wood will just burn up real quick at those higher temps?  Sorry for all the questions, but I am completely new to this.  Thanks. 

post #13 of 17

For a crispier skin the air dry technique for a minimum of twelve hours should help no matter how you finish it.  To eliminate any concerns of Salmonella, the critical control point for whole chickens is 165 ⁰ for 15 seconds.

post #14 of 17

I've been cooking on my Kettle quite a bit lately and absolutely love it.  I'm making a contraption to do better indirect cooking on my kettle but right now i use fire brick just like you stated.  Jimmy is correct on letting it slow cook indirectly and then moving it over above the coals at the end to crisp it up.  You'll be able to cook at around 225-250 with banking the coals to one side with the brick, the reason that is so good is because you get way better even cooking...place some foil on the grate right below your chicken. 

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgaviator View Post

thanks for the advice everyone....i am still not quite sure about when you should use a minion method vs when you should just light a chimney full of coals.  I guess since the advice is to cook the chicken at a hotter temp, the minion method might be too little heat, correct?.... If I bank the coals to the side behind the fire bricks, should I use a full chimney of fully lit, or just like half full?  How many wood chunks do you throw on?  Is there a chance the wood will just burn up real quick at those higher temps?  Sorry for all the questions, but I am completely new to this.  Thanks. 

The Minion method is real effective for longer smokes like 6 hours for Ribs or 10+ hours for Butts and Brisket. The point of the Minion Method is to have a steady burn of just a few coals, 10 to 20 at a time which keeps the temps low, 225*F or so for many hours. With something like Chicken you want higher heat, 300*F+ for 2-3 hours so there really is no need for the Minion Method. I had a small Chimney and loaded would hold about 25-30 briquettes. That lit would give me a steady 300 to 325*F for the 2 hours I needed. Place one or two chunks on the edge of the coals so they smolder rather than burn up directly on top of the coals...JJ

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

thanks!  what about Turkey legs/wings?  Should I treat those like chicken and cook at a higher 300 range, or should I do those lower?  The first time I made them on my father's smoker, we cooked them for 4 hours on a low heat.....I remember the skins were inedible, but I don't think Turkey skin is something people normally eat anyways, right? 
 

post #17 of 17

I treat Turkey the same. Same brine, rub and cook temp. I think Turkey Skin is delicious...JJ

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