Was at the store and they had a great deal on whole chickens, so I snatched this guy up and decided to do a sunday smoke.
It was a cold breezy day, got the MES preheating, and pulled out the chix. I was planning to de-skin the thing, but couldn't bring myself to do it for some reason, so I just separated the skin and shoved some butter, garlic sea salt and rosemary between the skin and meat. I also shoved a bunch of rosemary and a mandarin inside of the cavity. Decided to try this one un-spatched. Oh, I also peeled 2 other mandarins and put them on tom of the breasts to infuse some flavor.
Threw her into the MES at 275, and loaded the AMNTS with Pecan. As a note, I purchased an 18" tube and it doesn't quite fit into the MES 30, but if you wedge up one side with a brick it fits just barely. Im planning to shave off a corner with my dremmel and that should do the trick. She got to 155 about 3.5 hours into the cook, so I pulled her out and stuck it into the oven at 375 to try and crisp up the skin, before putting it in I rubbed the skin down with some butter. Sat in there about 15-20 min, till deepest part of the breasts was a bit over 165.
The skin was crispy and a beautiful color. Unfortunately it was still relatively inedible and the mix of the smokeing and oven cooking turned it into a sort of crispy jerky. That being said the meat itself was OFF THE CHARTS good, it was moist and sweet, and full of flavor, unlike the last one the smoke really penetrated all the way into the meat, separating the skin a bit must have helped with that. It could have possibly been the best tasking plain chicken meat ive had, I did dip a few pieces into some BBQ sauce, but it was just too good on its own to taint it that way. My wife was also over the moon about the flavor, so it was a real home run!
Anyway that was lunch, and I had about a breast and some wing meat leftover and decided to throw together some chicken corn chowder for dinner. It was also amazing, just a bit of smoky from the chicken, but not overpowering. the only change I will make next time is to use my own bacon, cause this time I used some store bought stuff.