While I've done several briskest, I decided to try some basic beer can chickens on my MES today. Let me explain what happened and maybe you guys can help me do better next time.
Last night the wife and I applied some basic rub on two whole chickens. Wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in the frig overnight. This morning I preheated the smoker to 275. I got the chicks out of the frig, drained a couple of 16 oz Miller Lites halfway, and impaled my girls with the two cans. I put the ladies in the smoker carefully, closed the door and added some mesquite chips. From what I had seen I expected these to take around 5 hours. We then left the house for a friend's birthday lunch.
When we got home I checked the meat probe and it said 198 (I put the probe in the breast). I thought maybe I had hit the bone or put the probe too far in and punctured the cavity for it to read that high after only 3 hours. I chilled for about 30 minutes and finally decided to check them.
When I started to open the door, one of the chickens looked like it had fallen over so I had to kind of catch it and carefully opened the door. Turns out it didn't fall, but rather the chicken had simply fallen apart and slid down and kind of off the can. Her girlfriend had done the same and dumped the cans not the water pan, too. I got one of my other meat probes and sure enough it was at around 200.
I really had a bugger of a time getting all the pieces out of the smoker without loosing pieces down the grate or onto the ground. Everything was just falling to pieces. I wrapped in foil and let them sit for about 30 minutes before pulling them all apart and putting the meat into a container for late eats. Sampled plenty along the way and it all tasted great, maybe just a tiny bit dry.
I was really hoping for a nice presentation whole smoked chicken. While meat turned out great tasting, is there something I should have done differently to keep them from falling to pieces? Is about 3-3.5 hours right for a couple of garden variety grocery store whole chickens at 275 degrees?
Looking forward to hearing great words of wisdom!