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"Nekkid" Chicken - Very first smoking in the MES.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

This is the very first smoking in the MES.


Two chickens of equal size totaling 10 lbs. Took chickens up from Freezer on Monday night. Foamheart (a forumite) suggested "Nekkid Chicken" would be a good first choice so we learn the taste of plain smoked chicken. Thanks for your comments and note Foamheart.


Thursday, removed chickens and cleaned them. Chickens were dried with a towel. Smeared inside and outside with vegetable oil. Seasoned with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. The spices were applied gently to give a minimal amount of flavor. 1/2 and apple and half a medium onion were inserted into the cavity.


Preparation of the grill including placing a foil pan on the bottom shelf. Initially we thought that we would be able to fit to pans side-by-side inside of the smoker chamber. Unfortunately, only one pan with fit in. The pan was centered on the rack. Because putting two chickens side-by-side on a single rack would extend beyond the limits of the crease pan, the chickens were placed on racks one atop the other. There was no water placed into the unit.


The grill was preheated for one half hour to 275°F. The chickens were placed into the smoker. One half cup of apple chips were placed in the scope and were inserted into the smoker. Smoke began to develop after a short period of time. The vent on the upper left of the smoker was kept in the closed position. The closed position allowed to approximately 1/4 inch And the temperature probe came out through the vent. After approximately 50 minutes the smoke seem to be very light. A second scoop of apple chips were placed into the smoker. Smoke began free soon after the chips were inserted. The color of the smoke after the initial start was a very faint darkish, almost opaque color.


At 2 hours 30 minutes the temperature alarm operated at 165°F. When the grill was opened to additional thermometers were placed into the breast. One was placed into each breast. The temperature reading on both thermometers registered at 160°F. At that time I realized that I had improperly positioned the probe on the temperature monitor. The temperature monitor was reinserted into the thick part of the breast and it registered 160°F.


A photo of the chickens was taken in the oven prior to disturbing them. The color looked very good. The botton chicken had the grease from the top one drip over it, and I believe the cooking was slower as a result.

The door was free closed and the smoker was restarted to 275°F. After closing the door, the internal temperature was down to 230°F.


The temperature took about 15-20 minutes to recover and then the temperature began rising. After another 30 minutes, the internal on the top chicken was 165F. These are the chickens when at 165F.

The chickens were brought inside.You can notice the difference in the top chicken (near) and the bottom chicken (far).

I cut the bottom chicken first. The joints at the thigh were red. The juice was not clear. I cut it up, we placed it in an oven dish, and cleaned up all tools and dishes.

This is a photo of the top chicken.  We then cut the top chicken and it is done and juices all ran clear.

There were two applications of  apple wood. One initially, another after about 50 minutes. Smoke continued throughout the cooking and when the ash cup was extracted, the wood was totally ash. I am not sure if I should have put another tray of wood in at the 2 hour time point to keep the smoke fresher and less burned smelling.


The chicken was very good. It was not what we expected. The smoke flavor was throughout the chicken and had more of a burned fire taste than expected. The onion and apple picked up the smoke flavor and the onion smoke flavor was too strong for my wife. We started eating the chicken plain, then added BBQ sauce. When the BBQ sauce was added, the chicken was more as we expected the chicken to taste. The moisure content was very good. Even the breast was moist. The skin was good and not crisp.


On Saturday, we will cook the bottom chick in the oven. We will seal the pan with aluminum foil and place into the kitchen oven and slow heat it until it is fully cooked.


Any comments or suggestions are appreciated.

Thank you.

post #2 of 7
It's all a learning curve especially with a new smoker. The one thing that jumped out at me was the closed vent on top. This could be the reason you were not happy with the first result. Smokes needs to flow over the meat and out. Most here leave the top vent wide open and adjust the bottom vent as desired. I'm sure a MES owner will be along shortly with more insights on the MES workings......Willie
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks Chef Willie,

Yes, I did close the vent. Also, should I have added more wood for fresher smoke?


post #4 of 7
Most here get tired of constantly adding chips so switch to an Amazing Pellet Smoker which provides hours of smoke with no monitoring and is a big supporter of the SMF with great customer service.
post #5 of 7

The Chef is right, you maintain the vent closed while heating the box. Then add the chicken, open the vent, add the chips, close the door.  It's like a chimney, you need to draw a draft. You need to allow the cable from the temperature sensing probe to the RF box to sandwich in the door gasket. Its so small and the gasket so flexible it doesn't leak, or at least mine hasn't.


Once you see the smoke coming out the top vent it should and will be either white or cloudy, at that point reduce the vent to 50%. You are adjusting the air flow using the discharge vice the inlet because there is no inlet vent. You reduce the air flow or your chips combust instead of doing a slow smolder. Fireburners combust, electrics smolder.


Then in most cases you'll reduce the box temp to your desired cooking temp. Mine is usually 220. But not with the nekkid chicken, it remains at 275 to dry that skin even further.


Another thing, you rubbed the chickens the nite before. That makes your skin rubbery, unless crisped elsewhere. Wash and dry the chicken and leave uncovered in the reefer over night, until you pull it. Its should be dry or tacky, if there is a yellowish look to it, its called pellicle. Its a magnet for smoke! Then oil it, spice it and smoke it.


The smoldering smoke will add the flavor while the unit slowly cooks it. Slowly is in reference to a stove or a fire burner.


You did everything right, I just didn't explain it too well in my post.


My apologies, but believe me it will get better. I promise.

post #6 of 7
Originally Posted by FDPiper View Post

Thanks Chef Willie,

Yes, I did close the vent. Also, should I have added more wood for fresher smoke?



<chuckles> You're a fireman, have you ever smelled unfresh smoke? You just need to keep your chips smoldering and not flashing. Its may take a bit to get used to it. If you leave the vent open your assured to get smoke and burn chips, then reduce it some so as to slow the combustion. I call it a regulator, like a valve.


But Again Chef is right an auxiliary smoke generator takes all the guess work out but you still to draw a draft for it to work. Its much easier regulated though because you can see the pellets smolder.


If ya reheat that chicken add a small bit of apple juice in the foil so it will not dry out as much although the skin will suffer some.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks fellas, Will do.

I have no problem experimenting. I will probably go to a single larger bird in the next go. I am also looking at the upright cages and beer racks. They are pretty cheap and will be fun to try.


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