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First time smoking.....going to start with chicken thighs.

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have a few more parts (temp gauge, tad bigger water pan) for this relect smoker i found...

I was going to give it a try this weekend with some cheap cuts of chicken. I have some hickory chips already.

Any tips or hints so I dont make the newbie mistakes?

I was going to buy them tomorrow and smoke them sunday for dinner.

Thanks for your help. Can't wait to start smoking!
post #2 of 11

The biggest and most important thing is to relax and enjoy yourself.  Smoking is supposed to be fun.  


I'm afraid I can't help you much with the chicken thighs,  I don't smoke much chicken, and when I do, its generally chicken breasts.


The easiest and most forgiving meat to smoke is a pork butt.  It looks daunting, but its really very simple and almost foolproof.


Good luck with the thighs.  Someone will be along soon and get you pointed in the right direction.



post #3 of 11

Hey sgt.  take a look at Dave's post on chicken thighs.  It is the one right after your post.  He'll show you the way.



post #4 of 11

Here's a few good recipes.



post #5 of 11

sgt i smoke chicken often, if you want to remove the bone in the thigh, then you can add extra flavors, such as peppers, sausage,onions, or anything you would like. just add your favorite rub. then wrap with bacon. if your not interested with removing the bone, then pull up skin and put a rub underneath it. inject the thigh with tony chacheres creole. first rub needs to be a flavorful rub then add a second rub of a sweet style rub. then start up your smoker, keeping temps from 250-275, when you have that pretty little blue smoke coming from it, add your chicken thighs. smoke until internal temps are from 170-175,be careful not to overcook and dry them out. and if you do not have a instant read them, now is the time to get one.


post #6 of 11
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

So I gave it a go today, a few bumps in the road...but it tasted really good still. Considering I was using that old relect, I was happy.Here was kind of a overview with mistakes..


Sat night: JJ Families Favorite Brine

Sunday AM: Bubba Chix Rub

1:30pm - filled cast iron pan (that had 8 holes drilled in it when I got it) with Royal Oak charcoal, took out half and used it to started it up in a chimney.

2pm - started the rest of the charcoal with the minion method. About 2 cups of soaked hickory chip to charcoal pan. Water pan filled

3pm - temp was around 210, added chicken, and both vents wide open

4pm - temp at 200, so I added more chips and coals (from chimney), 30 minutes of white campfire smoke! (yikes), took off water pan to get temp up

5pm - Temp at 225, slowly falling, blue smoke

5:45pm - temp at 200, chicken temp 145, took off and finished in the oven.

6:15 - eating chicken! Tasted pretty good.


How much wood am I supposed to add to a 14 inch water smoker? Did I add too much wood and then all the white smoke?


How do I get the coals hotter? Do I need to rig up some sort of charcoal ring that's a bit larger and deeper then the 8 inch cast iron pan with holes?


Thanks for all your help. I might be addicted...

post #8 of 11

Sgt, I can't answer your question, but I'll bump this up so someone else can.



post #9 of 11

I'm not sure of your question but....  Using a pan full of water, sucks up all the btu's from the charcoal limiting the smoker temp to around 210 deg. F...  removing the water will allow for the temperature to rise significantly....  

To even out the temperature fluctuations, you can add clean gravel or clean sand to the water pan for thermal mass...  then cover it with foil to keep it clean... 

To add some moisture to your smoker during the first hour or so of cooking, try a tuna can with 2-3 TBS. of water in it...   then the water can evaporate and the temp rise in the smoker to crisp up the chicken skin...

All of this stuff takes experimentation...  take notes... soon, everything you smoke will be perfect for your family....

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help.

Does the sand/rocks regulate the temp higher then water? I will give it a shot.

Yes, i love the experimenting too!
post #11 of 11
Originally Posted by sgtpeppr56 View Post

Thanks for the help.

Does the sand/rocks regulate the temp higher then water? I will give it a shot.

Yes, i love the experimenting too!


Yes sand / gravel allows for higher temps...  It' basically impossible to get water over 210 ish degrees unless it is in a pressure vessel...   the water boils, the heat converts the water to steam which takes BTU's.....  

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