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Two Whole Chickens - Spatchcocked

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks to Wutang for sharing your chicken brine recpie a few weeks ago. Finally getting around to trying it. Also trying my first progressive Q-View... Began by removing the spine from two small chickens. Made Wutang's brine and bagged them.

Super tasty looking brine, no doubt.

They're sitting in the fridge until 5pm tomorrow when I'll rinse them, pat them with paper towel and start warming up the ECB for it's first real smoke.

More to come...
post #2 of 23
Looks like a good start my friend, good luck.
post #3 of 23
Looks Good So Far...PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #4 of 23
I like the sounds and looks of this so far...now, I gotta be here for the finish on Wednesday night!

Keep it coming...

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Ok, here we go! Made two mods to the fire pan tonight. Drilled 3 holes about 1/8th inch and added a grate for better flow in the ECB.

Got a fire going, brine and water in the water pan, rubbed down the birds with Old Bay and waiting in the basement for the temps to level out at 275. I like a wireless thermo. New favorite "toy"... I can sit in the basement, surf SMF and play guitar and not babysit the smoker (yet...).

I'll keep you guys posted!
post #6 of 23
Looking and sounding good so far.

How long does a batch of coal last in that smoker and hold that 275 temp?, I see in the fire starter on the side, do you use a full load? also does the water evaporate fast being right over the fire? Just curious, I got a propane smoker and see this set up and just wondering how it does.

Can't wait for the finish product..

One more thing, where did you get that wireless thermometer? I went through 2 but the wireless part only lasted like couple weeks, I know have them only as probe thermometers.

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
I will do my best to answer your questions after the smoke Mauismokemeats.

Right now I'm having some issues! Temps have dropped to 200F, I added more charcoal, but they seem to be stuck at 200 still - about 25 minutes later. I haven't opened the lid once since putting the birds in, just the little side door 2x to check for flare up's early on in and 25 minutes ago to add more charcoal.

Any ideas?
post #8 of 23
Looking good. I have the same thermo purchased from wally world. Not bad for a cheap unit. I test mine often and it is usually only off by a couple of degrees. Lasted almost a year, and still going.

Was the water in your water pan hot when you put it in? I would assume that cold or at least room temp water would keep the temps down until it heated up? Don't have a ECB, just guessing.
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
The water in the pan started out as half boiling half cold as I added the brine. I should have boiled the brine first, but I never thought to.

Temps are climbing back up again thankfully - back up around 250F. I opened the lid, took everything out and made sure I had hot coals on top of the newer charcoal and it seemed to help quite a bit in a short ammount of time. I think possibly adding through the door simply started to choke the hot coals out a bit. icon_question.gif

I'm going to boil some water in 30 minutes and add it to the water pan. It's been almost a couple hours and I haven't gone through nearly as much water as I would have in my GOSM type unit.
post #10 of 23
Glad temps are rising. Keep the q-view coming.icon_mrgreen.gif
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
You and me both! And... If you insist...

Lifted the lid fast to brush some EVOO on them both.

Starting to look like food now!
post #12 of 23
sounds like a good smoke going-I have thin guage metel sheet about 10 inches tall-long enough to wrap the ECB-2 bricks hold it in place-I leave the door accesable-so helps in the winter here to keep temps up.
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
Cool. Do you run it along the base of the smoker, desertlites?

Probed the birds, they're both at 166F in the breast. Almost done!

Not getting a good representation of the colour with the flash and taking pics in the dark... Still not getting quite the darkness on the skin that I'd like - I'm attributing that to the lower temps. It's been sitting at 240-250 all night minus the first 45 minutes at 275...

What I will say though is that I've been getting the best TBS I've ever achieved with this charcoal unit and larger hickory chunks from Cabela's. Plus the smell coming from my backyard can't be beat. icon_cool.gif
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
All done.

Here's a side by side comparison. Left was on the bottom rack right over the water pan, right was on top.

Top one was crispier - especially on the bottom side, left one had a bit more rub. Here's a view of the bottom side of a spatchcocked bird.

Pulled one. Foiled the other. Bringing one to the office tomorrow and having it on fresh kaisers. Co-workers should be pleased.

The other one will be a new dish. I'll try to post a Q-view on that tomorrow and not ruin the surprise... icon_wink.gif

Some observations/comments from this learning experience:

-I had a couple tastes. Brined birds are amazing! Best thing I've ever smoked in my life - no joke.

-Wutang, thanks a ton for sharing your brine. The citrus really comes out, especially in the breast meat for some reason. Next time, I'd like to add cilantro to the brine. I think they'd go good together on this one.

-After my first blip in the dropped temp, I found it easy to maintain a 250-260F temp in the ecb. Coals need to be stirred a bit and not smothered in the fire pan by new charcoal.

-The ECB is hard to get hotter than 260 - at least for me.

-TBS was great with large chunks. I've never used them before this smoke and I think I'll be ordering a schwack load now. Way better than chips and small chunks.

-The ECB was the best $37.99 I've ever spent. PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

Thanks for checking out my q-view.
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
The temps weren't holding too well at my target 275. They seemed to hover between 250-260F. I have a hard time trying to figure out how long the coals lasted as every time the temps started to fall slowly, I added small ammounts and that seemed to help it rise back up to 260F again. As far as lighting it, I used about 16 pieces in the chimney and put them in the middle on top of nearly a full pan of charcoal briquettes - I believe that's called the Minion Method.

This page was helpful:


The water pan didn't need to be refilled through the whole smoke believe it or not. I had it filled up almost to the rim. Maybe it would have if I'd have boiled the brine too, I don't know. I had almost half of the entire pan left after 3:45 smoke time. In my GOSM type unit I would have had to fill the water pan at least 2 times in that period, mind you, it has less capacity.

I picked up the wireless thermo at Walmart. It was $15. Worked like a charm last night, however it has very poor range.

Using the charcoal unit was a welcome change last night. I will use it for large pieces of meat like chickens, roasts, loins and I'd like to conquer a long pork butt smoke in it once I learn to control temps a bit better. I'll use my gas cabinet for jerky, sausages, fish, and anything that I don't really want to babysit.
post #16 of 23
They look great! Beautiful color.
post #17 of 23
Wow everything looked great, nice job. Water lasted the whole smoke? nice, in my smoker it goes quick. Thanks for the info that walmart has those thermometers, alot cheaper then the ones I got that the wireless feature didn't last long.


awsome smoke, look forward to your special dish
post #18 of 23
Great looking birds man.
points.giffor pulling it off.

I know on my WSM the top rack usually runs 10-15 degrees hotter. I attribute that to the heat leaves the bottom, then has to "spread" out to go around the water pan and rises up the sides. There it sits at the top of the smoker looking to get out the vent in the lid.

You probably already knew that, but just thought I'd share just in case.
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice and great comments.

One bird is almost gone here at work. Had it on fresh kaisers with some Famous Dave's Sweet and Zesty Q sauce.
post #20 of 23
beautiful! it looks like those turned out great!

if you ever want to try the same thing in a "greek"style, i've found that this works well:

equal parts dried oregano, kosher or sea salt and cracked black pepper as a rub, both on top and under the skin. some add granulated garlic (and onion), some just throw some garlic cloves or a bulb of it onto the coals - some skip the garlic (and onion), but i like it.

you can brush with a 50/50 mix of olive oil and lemon juice on and under the skin before applying the rub, then brush with the mixture periodically thoughtout the cooking. VERY good stuff.
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