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Chicken question

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I smoked my first chickens over the weekend. They turned out great. The only thing that threw me for a loop is the skin. It turned tough and rubbery. I ended up skinning it after cooked and discarding it. Any suggestions?  




Smoked Chicken.jpg

post #2 of 7

I would cook it at a higher temp.

post #3 of 7

If you liked the way the meat turned out, let it rest covered so the juices redistribute into the meat , then throw on the BBQ grill to crisp the skin and not overcook the meat....    or under the broiler.....   etc....    got a propane weed burner.....   that works too.... but you gotta be quick......




post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by DaveOmak View Post

If you liked the way the meat turned out, let it rest covered so the juices redistribute into the meat , then throw on the BBQ grill to crisp the skin and not overcook the meat....    or under the broiler.....   etc....    got a propane weed burner.....   that works too.... but you gotta be quick......




That makes sense. Thanks Dave. Does that work with turkey as well?

post #5 of 7

It should....   Put the turkey in a 500 deg oven for 15 minutes would probably work best... 

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Sounds like a plan. Thanksgiving will never be the same.

This is the first summer i have smoked anything. First of many to come! The compliments alone keep me going.

post #7 of 7

OK, here goes, but before I go any further... these results are from a stickburner using wood as fuel.


Few options


  • Cook longer
  • Use Higher Heat
  • Pierce skin with knife and slowly pour boiling water over it
  • Remove skin when done and fry skin
  • place under broiler (watching) for several minutes
  • rotisserie first with infrared burner then smoke
  • deep fry then smoke
  • place on direct heat over grill.
  • Don't worry about the skin


I see a lot of posts about rubbery skin, I have never had rubbery skin on my stickburner, although I would describe the skin as paper like texture, this is due to the fat rendering. Also I have done thighs and drums with a clean bite through skin but no it wasn't crispy like potato chips.


If you are looking for the "holy grail of crispy skin" deep fry or cook at high temps, also do not put anything on the skin like oil if using lower heat USE A DRY RUB , you can brush with a soy or worcestershire or similar sauce so your dry rub will stick, or you can wash the bird and blot add your rub then refrigerate several hours to dry.



Skin was removed, trimmed and placed back on thighs. This was grilled and the skin was about the same as my smoked drums.





I rubbed down about 15 or so drumsticks with my basic rub, placed them on the smoker and salted the skin with some (coarse) kosher salt, went a bit heavy on the salt.

After 2 hours on the smoker @ 225° - 250°, I sampled my first Drumstick, WOW, it was delightful, the skin had crisped up nicely (not the holy grail of crispness), mostly all of the fat had rendered out and it was incredibly tender... yes, fall of the bone tender.

The rub had penetrated the meat nicely and was very flavorful.

The skin had a nice flavor and was salty but not too salty, I wonder if the salt had anything to do with helping the skin crisp up?

I then split the batch in half, placed a hotel pan on the firebox, melted some butter in "Frank's Red Hot", threw the drumsticks in the pan, coated liberally and placed back in the smoker.

I left them in the smoker until the sauce had thickened, shifting the drumsticks often to coat them, making sure not to destroy them. Interestingly enough the skin did not get gummy or rubbery in the sauce, I suppose enough of the fat was rendered from the skin to prevent this... I cant handle rubbery skin!





And here is an article I wrote on my website about rubbery skin.


have been reading a lot of posts lately about folks asking what temps to cook their chicken at, I have always said 225° - 250° and most folks prefer 300° to 325°. The general consensus is that the skin will crisp up better. If I want to cook at the higher temps, I'll use my grill and cook over direct heat.

Many of these post just state what they cook at, temperature wise, usually the smoker being used or method is not mentioned.
I always say do them at 225° - 250°  and don’t worry about the Internal going above 165° on Thighs and Drums.
My reason for this is that the fat renders from the skin giving you that crispy paper type skin.

Everyone has their preferred method, I just want to make sure I am not misinforming anyone.
So I set out to confirm what I have been posting.
Before I get into this post I do want to mention that  there was an unforeseen problem with this test and I will need to repeat it again.
The unforeseen problem was that I was making apple butter in a Dutch oven during the test and as you will see from some of the photos the placement of the Dutch oven was a bad choice for this chicken test, however I did come to a conclusion.

All this was done on a Reverse Flow using wood as fuel, White ash and cherry, no wind, ambient temperature was about 75° low humidity.

I took a flat of Thighs and a flat of drums and split each flat in half, each half was seasoned as follows, these thighs were huge.

First Batch was slathered with the following

  • Olive Oil
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

The second batch was as follows

  • My Pork Rub dry

They were then placed on the Reverse flow alternating each row. Smoked at 225° using white ash for several hours followed by cherry.

After 2 hours the drums with the rub could be eaten the skin was starting to crisp up nicely, the thighs on both still had very fatty skin and the drums were fatty but not as much as the slathered thighs.
I broke it down as follows for easier explanation

2 hours in:

  • Dry Rub Drums - Acceptable skin
  • Slathered Drums - Unacceptable skin slightly fatty
  • Dry Rub Thighs - Unacceptable skin slightly fatty
  • Slathered Thighs - Unacceptable skin very fatty

3 hours in:

  • Dry Rub Drums - Skin was not fatty, most of the fat was rendered, clean bite
  • Slathered Drums - Acceptable skin
  • Dry Rub Thighs - Acceptable skin with some fatty areas
  • Slathered Thighs - Unacceptable slightly fatty


Now I don’t really like going over 3 hours but due to the fact of the placement of the Dutch oven, I had to.

4 hours in:

  • Dry Rub Drums - Skin was awesome, bites are clean into skin
  • Slathered Drums - Skin was awesome, bites are clean into skin
  • Dry Rub Thighs - Skin was awesome, bites are clean into skin with little fatty areas
  • Slathered Thighs - Acceptable skin

But as I mentioned before, these results were skewed because of the Dutch oven placement however it does give me an answer to the crisp/fatty skin dilemma.
After I removed the Dutch oven the temps in the chamber jumped 50°, the DO was really affecting the air flow and it didn’t dawn on me until I remove the DO and the temp jumped and the chicken was starting to sizzle.

Four hours is a bit too long especially for the drums.

As far as the flavor goes the slather really, really permeated into the whole piece of chicken, but I prefer the rub.
The texture of the meat was ok after 4 hours but better at the 3 hour mark.

I am sure if the DO was not hindering air flow, that the skins on all 4 would be acceptable or above acceptable at about 3 hours.

A few things folks could try is to:

  • Use a dry rub as opposed to a slather or oil.
  • Trim the really fatty skin off the thigh before smoking.
  • Deep fry the thighs and drums first
  • Cook at higher temps, I like the idea of cooking at 225° to 250° because that way I can cook multiple things at once, If I want to cook my chicken at 325° I’ll just toss it on the grill.
  • After smoking crisp up skin on a grill.
  • Deep fry after smoking
  • Broil in the oven
  • Remove thigh skin and pan fry
  • For RF users, Place skin side down on the reverse flow plate after 1 hour till the skin crisps up, just make sure your RF plate is clean.

I just wanted to make sure my posts were accurate and that what I am posting does not steer someone in the wrong direction. Its easy for someone to have a successful cook and can’t remember the exact method, temps or times then make an uninformed post.
I was getting so paranoid that I was missing something because I seem to be the odd man out.

Experiment for yourself and see what works for you, hope this helps someone!


Now for the pictures:



  • Dry Rub

  • Slather.


  • Slather top and Dry Rub below.


  • Ok everything is ready, time to feed frank.



Notice the Dutch oven, its sitting directly on the Reverse flow plate, restricting the flow under the chicken.

The heat is traveling over top of the DO and directly out of the stack, I had a raging fire with all vents open and I topped out at 250°, that should have been my first sign something was wrong.

Oh, by the way that's "apple butter" in the DO.





  • The Sun was in a bad position for photographs.





  • Slathered thigh.


  • Rubbed thigh.

  • Time to remove from the pit.




  • Vacuum sealed.






Doing my Pit Chix at 275°

  • Cooking time approximately 1-1/2 - 2 hours.




Hope that helps!







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