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Whole Fryers: Experiment with Pecan or Maple

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Kroger had whole fryers on sale for $.96 a pound. At this writing this is 10/25/13. Seemed like a good chance to experiment with a few different types of wood before I tried my pre-Thanksgiving smoke/trial. Chicken was cheap. Whole birds was easy.

 

You know the basis on the scientific method is to change ONE variable at a time. So if I was testing wood flavor, I should have varied that and that alone. Is that what I did? NOT!

 

Yesterday, I was more disciplined. I cooked two birds with EVOO, salt and pepper.

Must say as good as pecan smelled in the smoker, I was under-whelmed by the taste (maybe I have been working with Hickory too long).  Wife loved it. Delightful light smoked flavor. (The chicken, not the wife.)

 

Today (two days off in a row!) I set out to do the same thing but used Sugar Maple wood instead.  But here is where I loose the Nobel prize. Multiple variables. One done with my brown sugar chili pepper rub; one with EVOO, salt , pepper and oregano. Also I injected the latter with Turkey Supreme.

 

Prepared them by washing them down, and getting rid of all the "goodies" inside, then I had them dance in my homebrew refrigerator for a few hours to dry them off:

 

700

 

700

 

Then I spiced them and put them in my MES 30 (old school):

 

700

 

700

 

700

 

My trusty Pit-mate, Scout, was with me the whole time.

 

700

Came out of the smoker after spending 4 hours at 275. With an IT of 170^.

 

 

 

And of course Scout did not get any until Mama (Chef Alison)

gets a cutting. I'll report on taste tonight, but I must tell you that I

was blown away about the aroma of Sugar Maple.

 

Now to see if I can tell Sugar Maple after all those other changes.

Next weekend. The trial Turkey, smoked with ??????.

 

(BTW - what wood do you use with YOUR turkeys? Any great

brine recipes?)

 

Phil

post #2 of 12

I like your experment. Chicken is for sure the meat to play with, I have been on a apple kick for a while. I'm using a AMNPS in my MES40. When it is cool enough I like to cold smoke chicken fallowed by hot smoke. You have to be carefule and watch your times and temps. I want to just get out of the danger zone at the 4 hour mark. I get a lot more smoke flavor that way. I also get a fruity flavor from the apple. I'm a smoke hound and like a lot of smoke. But hickory doesn't have the fruity flavor. Not saying their is anything wrong with hickory. I use a lot of it on things.

 

I look forward to seeing more of your results

Happy smoken.

David

post #3 of 12

Hello Philsey.  This is a personal pref. thing I would say.  It will probably take some playing with to find what you like.  Unless going for a particular flavour, I usually use a wood mix.  Sometimes even 3 different woods.  If you are used to hickory I'd try mesquite.  It has that strong flavour.  Personally I would not use it for thanksgiving turkey.  Turkey any other time would be fine but IMHO Thanksgiving turkey should have a mild smoke taste so as not to over power the 85 million other side dishes.  :icon_biggrin:  A mix of pecan and maple, pecan and apple or maybe even pecan apple and just a little oak would work well IMHO.  I am from near Corpus Christi and now live in England.  Mesquite was the main wood used back in the day but I have stayed away from it over here as it is a STRONG flavour.  1 weekend doing a brisket and some chicken I decided what the heck and gave it shot.  I was SURPRISED to find my English wife LOVED it.  She will even ask me to use it now and then.  I only tell you this to point out that it is down to your personal taste.  Also different woods for different meats.  Some folks wouldn't use mesquite on chicken.  IMHO I CERTAINLY wouldn't use mesquite on fish as you would end up with a nice slice of mesquite smoke on your plate and no taste of fish.  These are only my opinions and suggestions and as I stated above you will just need to keep experimenting to find what you like.  TAKE NOTES is my best advice.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!

Danny

post #4 of 12
I like a good mixture of woods for poultry. My go to blend is cherry, pecan and apple. Sometimes I'll mix it up and throw in alder or peach. I wouldn't use mesquite.

Do you plan on brining your turkey? It's one of the only things that I do brine prior to smoking.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

I do not plan on brining it as it already has been injected with 8% sodium solution. I got it at Restaurant Depot for $1.28/lbs. 13 pound bird.

When I am not on my value kick, I may spring for a fresh "natural" bird and then brine that.

 

I will inject it. I've got some Cajun Injector Turkey Supreme, but I will search the threads for additional tasty marinades.

 

As for wood (my original question) I think I am leaning toward using Orange with a Hickory starter in my AMNPS.

I loved the smell of maple in the smoker (took me back to my Midwest childhood) but it didn't seem to add

any notable taste to the meat. Last week orange definitely added a little somthin.' Besides Thanksgiving is

a trophy day. It sounds sexier to your guests to suggest the it was smoked with Orange. Might even put some

oranges in the cavity.

 

Hmmm. Maybe I should be looking for a citrus marinade.

 

Anyway, I will take plenty of Q-view and let you know how it turned out. This week = rehearsal.

2 more weeks to Showtime! <grin>

 

Phil

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Danny:

 

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Keep that English lass who will put up with Mesquite!

 

For Turkey, I think my wood taste may travel from Dallas to Florida and I will use Orange wood.

(Plus a hickory or oak starter in my AMZNPS, as I just can't seem to get fruitwoods to start

well on their own).

 

Phil

post #7 of 12

Hello Philsey.  Yep I agree.  Mesquite is not for thanksgiving turkey.  I like your wood idea.  I vote for oak and orange.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!

Danny

post #8 of 12

The wife and I are big time foodies.  Several years ago we did a smoked chicken experiment with leg quarters.  over a period of a year or so we would keep seasonings the same and use the same charcoal and temperature ad vary wood chips bought at Cabellas.  We used fruit woods etc.  It's  Fun to play with stuff.  We took notes and found some deffinate differences.  I remember when it came to mesquite we seriously thought about throwing it away.  hating to waste it though we put it in the fridge and the next day I tried a piece and was amazed, it was great!  We discovered that the secret to mesquite was to let it age.  We still occasionally will use mesquite, save it for the next day and take it on a picnic or reheat it.  Why I don't know but there is a huge difference the second day.

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Cappy:

 

First of all I applaud you on your discipline. If you really want to know the effect of one element (e.g. wood choice) you have to vary ONE element only.

And take notes. Unfortunately, I don't get to smoke enough, so I get all excited and try a BUNCH of things at once.

 

Interesting observation on Mesquite the day after. First time I have heard of that. Down here in Texas, judging by what the stores sell, people LOVE

their mesquite. We even have a suburb NAMED after the tree: Mesquite, Texas!

 

Test turkey launches this Friday. Orange wood. Orange Juice spray to baste. Oranges (and maybe a little rosemary in the cavity.) Not going to brine (already pumped), but searching the

board this morning for a good marinade for injecting.

 

SMOKIN'!

 

Phil

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

So what happened to all the chicken? Life is funny. Here I was running this experiment to compare Maple and Pecan and wound up going with Orange. Not only that I had four smoked chickens! My wife, Chef Ali, decided to make chili for her company's Halloween party. She bought some ground turkey. But guess what she thought would extend it perfectly?

 

 

That's right all those smoked flavors blended into Pulled Chicken <grin>.

By the way the Chili was delicious!

 

SMOKIN'!

 

Phil

post #11 of 12

What I didn't mention earlier was da left overs.  Our Smoke test was done with 10# sacks of leg quarters and its just the 2 of us.  The left over creations was almost as fun as the smoke test.  Smoked chicken gumbo, smoked chicken salad, smoked chicken in black eyed peas, the list goes on.  Several pic nic fishing trips etc.  It was great fun.  @ things we learned  da hard way.  Do not use wood still kinda green.  Do  not use wood with bark on it.

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
A big 10-4 on that, Cappy!help.gif
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