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Firs Chicken of the year

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Here's a pic from my chicken cook today. For some reason I can never get the skin to be bite through tender. I either have rubber or leather, and sometimes it is on the sam bird. Any pointers?

Flip

post #2 of 18

A couple questions:  What chamber temp are you using and are you putting anything on the skin?

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noboundaries View Post
 

A couple questions:  What chamber temp are you using and are you putting anything on the skin?

I kept this one steady at 265 rubbed with a little adobo and Old Bay

post #4 of 18

With the vertical rigs, does it make any difference if the chicken is skin-down on the racks? Or does nobody do that?

 

(horizontal offset boy here)

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

I flipped and rotated at 1.5 hours.  Cooked until internal of 175 on the thigh, breast was 160.

post #6 of 18

Okay. Got it.  I'll bet the flavor of the chicken is fine, just not the skin.  The fact that you are getting rubbery and "leathery" on the same piece of chicken is a clue.    

 

A chamber temp of 265F is a little low if the skin was started dry and left dry for the entire smoke.  You can get crispy skin at that temp but it is more hit and miss.  275F is better, as is 300F.  The key to crispy skin it to ensure the skin is dry when you start and keep it dry for the entire smoke.  Poultry skin loves to absorb smoke and liquids.  Take the liquids out of the equation, especially if the adobo was a mop.  Just crank the heat up on your smoker a little more and you'll get a more consistent, crispy, flavorful skin.

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks, this was one of the tastiest birds i have done, I'll crank by e heat next time
post #8 of 18

Boundaries,

  What about basting?  I've seen some of the pros baste with various substances but there is always an oil in there.  If the key is to stay dry how can basting get the "cracklin" skin they profess?  

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by DOCDOG View Post
 

Boundaries,

  What about basting?  I've seen some of the pros baste with various substances but there is always an oil in there.  If the key is to stay dry how can basting get the "cracklin" skin they profess?

 

 

I'd wager they are cooking at 300+ which combined with an oil based mop means they are essentially frying the chicken.

post #10 of 18

I don't baste chicken at all on the smoker but I have many, MANY times in the oven.  Demosthenes9 is right on.  Think about what you use to baste a turkey or chicken in the oven.  You put some stock, white wine, 7-UP, marinade, etc in the pan, then you baste it with the liquid and fat filled drippings.  You can go to a pretty high chamber temperature with poultry to get that cracklin' skin as long as there is fat or oil in the basting liquid.  The type of oil matters too.  It is an art not to burn poultry skin at high temps.  That's why I use 275F min to 325F max, and 325F can be pushing it if you've got any sugar in your rub.

 

Getting crispy skin on chicken is fairly easy if the temp is right.  Funny how it reminds me of roasting marshmallows as a kid.  How many black or underdone marshmallows did you eat until you perfected your technique?  If it was burnt, you scrapped off the skin on the marshmallow and ate it anyway.  It is was underdone, it didn't have that caramelized flavor that was sooooo good.  Once you knew the technique though, it was easy!  As a kid I was a marshmallow roasting expert. After my Dad BBQ'd burgers, dogs, or the occasional steak and we'd all stuffed ourselves, my parents made me roast marshmallows on the still hot coals for them and all their friends before I got to eat one!  I actually enjoyed doing that for them.  And chicken skin?  Same learning curve. 

post #11 of 18
The last legs and thighs I did, I done in the mini which is direct heat. Smoker temp was at 380. Just seasoned the parts and cooked. Great bit through skin. The best I have made to date.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noboundaries View Post
 

I don't baste chicken at all on the smoker but I have many, MANY times in the oven.  Demosthenes9 is right on.  Think about what you use to baste a turkey or chicken in the oven.  You put some stock, white wine, 7-UP, marinade, etc in the pan, then you baste it with the liquid and fat filled drippings.  You can go to a pretty high chamber temperature with poultry to get that cracklin' skin as long as there is fat or oil in the basting liquid.  The type of oil matters too.  It is an art not to burn poultry skin at high temps.  That's why I use 275F min to 325F max, and 325F can be pushing it if you've got any sugar in your rub.

 

Getting crispy skin on chicken is fairly easy if the temp is right.  Funny how it reminds me of roasting marshmallows as a kid.  How many black or underdone marshmallows did you eat until you perfected your technique?  If it was burnt, you scrapped off the skin on the marshmallow and ate it anyway.  It is was underdone, it didn't have that caramelized flavor that was sooooo good.  Once you knew the technique though, it was easy!  As a kid I was a marshmallow roasting expert. After my Dad BBQ'd burgers, dogs, or the occasional steak and we'd all stuffed ourselves, my parents made me roast marshmallows on the still hot coals for them and all their friends before I got to eat one!  I actually enjoyed doing that for them.  And chicken skin?  Same learning curve. 

This makes me laugh.   So why 325 max?    

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by FWIsmoker View Post
 

This makes me laugh.   So why 325 max?  

Happy to make you smile.

 

Why 325 max?  Just a margin of error below the 350F burn temp for sugar as referenced above in the rub.

 

I've done chicken at 350F before but the 275-325 temps still give a crispy skin and is a more relaxed smoke for me.

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noboundaries View Post
 

Happy to make you smile.

 

Why 325 max?  Just a margin of error below the 350F burn temp for sugar as referenced above in the rub.

 

I've done chicken at 350F before but the 275-325 temps still give a crispy skin and is a more relaxed smoke for me.

."  It is an art not to burn poultry skin at high temps.  That's why I use 275F min to 325F max, and 325F can be pushing it if you've got any sugar in your rub."

 

You made it sound like you won't do above 325 regardless.    Well anyway I won't do chicken lower than 350 and most of the time it's more like 350-450*  (never burned or even close too it) It would take a very high sugar content rub to have any problems anyway.   2 of my favorite rubs have sugar in them and i'm typically in the mid to high 400's and sometimes 500's and no burning.... also perfect color and skin. 

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by FWIsmoker View Post
 

."  It is an art not to burn poultry skin at high temps.  That's why I use 275F min to 325F max, and 325F can be pushing it if you've got any sugar in your rub."

 

You made it sound like you won't do above 325 regardless.    Well anyway I won't do chicken lower than 350 and most of the time it's more like 350-450*  (never burned or even close too it) It would take a very high sugar content rub to have any problems anyway.   2 of my favorite rubs have sugar in them and i'm typically in the mid to high 400's and sometimes 500's and no burning.... also perfect color and skin. 

 

FWIsmoker, you sir are a true pitmaster.  The margin for error is much smaller at temps that high and for new smokers looking for success on every smoke, or for those whose smokers won't climb that high, the lower range of hotter temps offers a greater opportunity for success every time.

 

I'm always open to learn more though, including new techniques, so please take it from here and share the details of your experience.  I'll bow out.      

post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noboundaries View Post
 

 

FWIsmoker, you sir are a true pitmaster.  The margin for error is much smaller at temps that high and for new smokers looking for success on every smoke, or for those whose smokers won't climb that high, the lower range of hotter temps offers a greater opportunity for success every time.

 

I'm always open to learn more though, including new techniques, so please take it from here and share the details of your experience.  I'll bow out.      

LOL....one thing is for whole chickens is to spatchcock them and smoke with the insides down.

 

 

Sometimes for chicken parts i'll do a 350 plus smoke, let them get to 170* and then give them a "fire bath" by dropping them directly in my coals.   I can't tell you how incredible the flavor is!

 

 

 

Here's my latest chicken cooker, only a couple weeks old.   I'm cooking directly over a real wood fire with temp ranges from 350-550 plus.   Most of the time my temps were 350-450* but i ran out of my small splits and had to use some bigger logs.   Not me in the video...my drunk friend lol.    The fire chicken is the best and juiciest i've EVER had....no exaggeration.  30 mph winds!

 

 

post #17 of 18
Try a dry brine. Rub it it in kosher salt over night will suck the juice right out of the skin
post #18 of 18

Skin problems? No problem like said above (this is the readers digest version).

 

1. Cook at 325+, 275 probably will not make it.

2. Dry the skin either using a fan or wash, dry and allow to sit uncovered in the reefer overnight. Either or both will help form a pellicle. Pellicle is like a  smoke magnet. It is when the skin dehydrates the fluid so all that is left is skin, oils, and fat. Do not apply seasoning till ready to throw in the smoker.

 

That's it.

 

High temp, dry skin.

 

Rub in just a bit of oil to use for suntan lotion, ( Black cracked skin is ugly).

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