Update on the first smoking experience and a few questions.
Specifics: 30" non window MES, vent 50% open, 50/50 mix of dry mesquite/hickory added every 30 min, ambient conditions 20F and sunny, 1/2 C apple juice in pan with periodic apple juice spray, (2) 5.2 LB spatchcock whole chickens, one Cajun rub, one lemon pepper rub, pierced meat with a knife repeatedly to allow spices to penetrate, 1 HR with rub in fridge wrapped in plastic wrap prior to cooking, iGrill2 temp measurement, smoker temp 225F for 1HR 40MIN then 250F for 2HR until T internal = 165F, 3 LB mini red potatoes with olive oil/spices/wrapped in aluminum foil. First chicken on #2 rack, second chicken on #3 rack, and potatoes on #4 rack. Temp measured in thick part of top chicken breast.
Observations: I removed the meat when the thermometer reached 165F. Looked pretty good.
But....I typically visually judge chicken by it still being juicy and the joints separating easily and the meat easily releasing from the bone. This was not the case. The juices were clear, and it was very juicy (except the front of the breasts which I cut the skin off, never again). The flavor was more pronounced once the meat cooled slightly and was good. I still put it into the oven at 350F for another 30 MIN on convection roast to cook longer. This made me feel better that it was fully cooked but also dried it out. Flavor was good in both chickens, and as mentioned previously, the smoke flavor was better/more evident once the meat cooled slightly. The potatoes also turned out good.
- Is it typical for smoked chicken to stick to the bone and for the joints to be "tougher" than grilled chicken?
- Should I cook until say 170F or higher?
- Should I start off at 250F next time?
- Does opening the door to spray apple juice have a significant impact on cooking time?
- Any other general comments appreciated.
Thanks for the feedback,