Evening everyone, on vacation this week and spent Wednesday fiddling with the smoker. Picked up a 4.75 lb Butt and 2 yard birds from the local butcher....love that fresh, local meat!
My usual thin to medium layer of honey then SPOG on both. Did not foil the butt this time and no brine on the birds - great bark, great skin and the chicken was juicy and very tasty. I could tell it was missing the brine flavoring but nobody seemed to mind. Lesson learned - if your not feeling lucky be sure to brine but today's chicken w/out brine was juicier than the rest but missing the layer of flavor brine adds.
First round of coals was the end of a bag of Frontier, all coals after were Cowboy. I've been starting off hot - meat in around 350 and let it cool to and maintain at 250, give or take a few degrees. Now everyone has their tastes but after this smoke I definitely prefer the Frontier lump. It has a much better smell and deeper smoke flavor. The Cowboy bag has some pretty nice chunks and MAYBE - just maybe - burned a little longer than the Frontier, but as good as the pulled pork and chicken was, it just hasn't compared with the flavors I'm getting out of Frontier. (On Frontier most folks eat my pp plain on a bun with no sauce; with Cowboy, the sauce was needed to add the final layer of flavor). Thats my .02 anyway. Lesson learned - my family & friends prefer the taste of Frontier.
To finish up, I boiled down dem chicken bones and ended up with 4 quarts of stock chicken stock in the freezer. Lesson learned - last time I boiled smoked chicken bones, the chicken soup that followed was fantastic. Keep some on hand.
Look - someone put the Brady Bunch kitchen in my house!
In they go - about 350 and cooling - for some reason I have better luck starting off hot on the initial coals.
First bird is out, about 4 hrs; 2nd bird followed about 1/2 hour later
I've always heard you don't have appreciation for bark until you have had GOOD bark. Well folks, this was our first good bark. There is no going back.
Boiling down dem bones. This is about 30 minutes in, I usually slow boil for about 2 hrs then let it cool and sit in the fridge overnight. Strain, freeze, eat or freeze any good chicken that comes out of it.