the reason i posted it at BSB to begin with is because it's my website and i use it as a sort of "blog" for different things i do, such as such as hunt, fish and....smoke chickens!
here's a copy/paste of the process:
Posted: June 07 2008 at 11:53 |
i've got two whole chickens and intend to smoke-cook them in my binkmann smoke-cooker (ECB = el cheapo brinkmann).
at exactly noon today, i've got the chickens started in a brine of 1 gallon of water, 1 cup kosher salt and 1 cup packed dark brown sugar. for now, i will keep things basic and experiment as experience accrues.
i've got the chickens in a bucket in the fridge, weighted down with a brick double-wrapped in foil, then plastic.
according to www.smoking-meat.com
, they should brine for four hours. once per hour, i will rotate and stir the birds in the brine.
will report on progress later....
Posted: June 07 2008 at 15:49 |
ok, i've put a few unlit charcoal briquettes in the charcoal pan of my ecb. in a coffe can that has a lot of holes drilled in it, i've let 8 briquettes. i've got a few hickory chunks soaking in water and will add both them and the lit briquettes to the charcoal pan soon.
in about 15 minutes, i'll rinse the chickens and rub them down by brushing on a little bit of olive oil, then working in some durkees st. louis chicken and pork rub into them. i will then set one on the beer can contraption with a can of pabst blue ribbon. the other chicken will be trussed and set on the bottom grill rack (right above the water pan, which will be full of 1 can of frozen apple juice plus enough water to fill) breast-down for the first half of cooking, then breast-up for the 2nd half.
Posted: June 07 2008 at 17:09 |
alright, as of 5pm, the birds are in and the ecb is heating up nicely. we trussed the birds up a bit at the legs and wings to pevent flopping, and in the non-beer-can bird, i've got a peeled apple in the cavity to keep it moist etc.
i am relying somewhat on the warm/ideal/hot indicator, but have also placed an oven themometer on the bottom grill rack in order to have a better idea of what the temperatures are. i've got a few briquettes in a coffee can going and will add them if necessary to reach or maintain the cooking temperature i am looking for, which seems to be around 225-250 degrees.
one note, from here on out, i am going to use only kingsford charcoal or lump charcoal if i can find it. the sams's club stuff i have seems to burn too fast and too cool. it also smells weird and seems to produce some funky ash.
Posted: June 07 2008 at 18:12 |
ok, after one hour, it seems i've got a little to learn about temperature maintenance. most of the hour was spent at about 150 degrees, then toward the end i fanned the coals and brought it up between 225 & 250, where it remains now. i think the problem is not enough charcoal and too many hickory chunks, so i'll remember that next time. now that the hickory chunks are charcoally on the outside, it looks like things are going OK.
since the first hour was spent at such a low temperature, i am going to start the actual cooking time at 6pm. at 7, i will base turn the non-beer-can chicken breast-side up and baste both with some apricot jam. i will also replensih the water pan and charcoal/smokeing wood-pan if necessary.
Posted: June 07 2008 at 19:19 |
ok, i added water to the water pan at 630pm. a little before 7, the temperature fell off a bit, so i stirred the coals around and maintained it as best as i could.
at 7, we basted both chickens liberally with apricot jam that we had heated up until it was thin enough to baste, but still thick. i also topped off the water pan and added some briquettes that i had started a while earlier. finally, i added a couple of chunks of hickory.
the temperature is up where it should be and i expect the birds to be done in an hour. will check them a little after 8 to see what the internal temperatures are.
we're fixing green bean casserole and stuffing as side dishes, along with hot buttered rolls. one thing is for sure, next time i will start all this about 3 hours earlier in order to not have to eat supper so late!
Posted: June 07 2008 at 20:18 |
well, due to problems maintaining temperature, they weren't quite done at 8pm, but since our side dishes were, i pulled them out of the ecb and finihsed them for a few minutes in the oven. overall, things went pretty well, i think. maintaining temperature in the 225-250 range is probably the most important thing.
was it any good or not? will report later.....
Posted: June 07 2008 at 21:50 |
as i said above, due to temperature control problems, the birds had to finish about 20-25 minutes in the oven. we considered them done when they reached 165 degrees, as determined by a probe thermomenter in the thickest part of the thigh. we were also able to "shake hands" with the legs as they were falling-off-the-bone tender.
the smell was delicious. the meat had a good smoke ring of pink throughout and was very moist and tender. i was worried about too much smoke taste because i had been having so much trouble with the temperature control and figured that both the charcoal and the wood chunks were smoking too cold (creosote); the good news is that this was not the case. the smoke flavor was peesent, but not overpowering, and the tang from the rub combined with the sweetness of the baste worked well together. considering this was a first attempt, i definitely count it as a success!
i've tried to incorporate lessons learned above, but the main thing of course is better temperature control. should be something that can be achieved after implementing the rest of the mods to the ecb
. so far, i've only been able to drill holes in the lid and in the charcoal pan, and will try to finish the rest of the procedures soon.
any opinions, suggestions from folks who have done this beforer would be appreciated!