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Smoking Chickens - my first qview!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
This being my first attempt at smoking chickens and qview, I expect some constructive criticism and hope to find out some new or better ways of doing this! Thanks!

Started with 2 birds which totaled up to about 9.5 pounds. Brined them in a 5 gal bucket in the fridge overnight. Brine was simply 1 gal water, 1cup pure salt and 1cup sugar mixed well.

Chickens ready to come out of the brine:

Time to start the coals. I use Royal Oak 100% charcoal in the red bag. I started them in the chimney on the side burner of my propane gill thanks to the tip that I seen in one of Jeff's smoking videos that just came out in his November newsletter.

So here's the pan loaded with charcoal, with my chimney beside it burning away, ready for the minion method.

I made a little mop out of peanut oil, CBP and seasoned salt.

Hot Coals

Birds on the grill at 11am

About every 2 hours I ended up dumping my charcoal and loading back up a fresh batch using the minion method. Also re-filled my water pan to half full at this time. Also, I mopped the chickens whenever I did this since I had everything apart anyway. Ended up using 3 batches of coals.

Temps held really good around 250* and did not get much under 220* unless my coals were petering out.

Chickens came off the smoker at 5:20pm (a little over 6 hours). I was not real impressed with the color, but my meat therm said they were done (170) and I didn't want to risk drying them out. I really would have liked them to be crispy brown looking.

Taste was fantastic and they were very moist. I am interested to hear what other people do for a brine, as far as what spices do they add and how much.

Any other tips and advice are appreciated!
post #2 of 11
when I make chicken on the smoker

I do no water in the pan,I foil the pan

that gives the advantage

the humidity becomes lower,(crispy skin)
post #3 of 11

1st q-view

One of the tips i picked up here was to mist some apple juice on pretty much all the meat I smoke, which helps the browning and keeps things moist. This weekend I tried 50/50 Captain Morgan & apple juice which was another tip. worked well, no experience brining. Good luck!
post #4 of 11
markh -

Looks Great and congratulations on a successful grilling job. I suggest 'grilling' because I didn't see anything mentioned about what type of wood chips/chunks you used for the smoking part and that may be a part of your color issue you were talking about. Use some Apple or Cherry or Hickory and I'll bet you get a darker color - and not to mention a whole new flavor profile!

As for a brine, it depends on how I feel. Sometimes I do a buttermilk brine from chisoxjim (wife loves this one):(http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/for...ttermilk+brine)

otherwise I just throw together this:
old bay
bay leaf
garlic powder
onion powder
brown or regular sugar

I don't really measure it, i just eyeball and taste before birds touch it and it always turns out well...As a matter of fact i just did it last night for some fried chicken.

Again good job and I'm glad you got some great juicy yard birds. PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Forgot to mention that. I used some apple chips wrapped up in foil. Replaced a new pack of these each time I changed the coals out.
post #6 of 11
I not wrapped apple chips
sometimes I do them simply on the charcoal,on other turn I drench them in water and put them on the charcoal
post #7 of 11
Ok then I see Newb caught like I did no chips/chunks was mentioned during your smoke. That would make for the color so next time you need to use more wood chips/chunks which even you used. One of the other things I saw was your brine you can add alot of flavor in your brine I always put alot of spices like Garlic, Paprika, coriender, all spice or anything you feel like putting into your brine. Your food looks alright I think you should use a little spices in your brine and rubs.
post #8 of 11
Here's a good basic brine, start with it or somthin similar. Ya can add to this if ya wanna:

Slaughterhouse Poultry Brine By Tip Piper of Hillbilly Vittles
1 ½ Gal Water
½ C Salt - Kosher
½ C Dark Brown Sugar
2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Onion Powder
2 tsp Cajun Spice (Louisiana Cajun Seasoning)
2 tsp Celery Seed

Slaughterhouse Poultry Injection
½ Pkg Good Seasons Italian Dressing
2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Celery Seed
2 TBS melted Butter (non salted)
2 C Apple Cider

Slaughterhouse Spritz (Good fer everthin!)
8 oz Apple Cider
6 oz Water
4 oz Whiskey
2 oz Cider Vinegar
If I had patented this, I'd be well off now!biggrin.gif
post #9 of 11
Another piece that will help your skin is NOT to use oil in the mop. A simple mix of 1 part cider vinegar, and 3 parts apple cider in a spray bottle works great. Use a salty rub on top, and spray about every 45 minutes. these two things combined help draw the fat out of the skin and crisp it up.
post #10 of 11
It was cooked to temp, tasty, and juicy. I'd say you had a successful smoke. Congratulations!

My thoughts, since you asked. That seems like an awful lot of fuel to go through. Looking at your pictures I'm guessing you dumped the burning coals over the top of the unburned. Is that right? From all the Minion Method lessons I've seen, you should either make a ring around the outside out of the unlit and dump the lit stuff in the middle. I've seen some folks put a coffee can in the middle while they pour the charcoal around it. This process creates a nice even burn from the center out. OR I've seen (mostly the side firebox guys) pile the unlit on one side and the lit on the other side and let it work its way across. I use the first version with my WSM and I can easily get 10 hours out of it without having to reload fuel. Just scatter a few chunks of your favorite wood throughout the unlit and a couple on top of the lit and you'll get a steady, light stream of smoke. Hope that helps.

And like the others said, don't be afraid to flavor up that brine. And try using a rub instead of a mop, and try and work that rub up under the skin everywhere you can and some in the cavity too. The chicken has skin on it, so you're likely just making that skin softer buy mopping it with an oil based mop. Throw some chopped up onion, garlic, and other seasonings in the cavity too. Just don't overload it. The chicken is also cooking from the inside too. Too much stuff in there will stop that from happening.

Here's a couple of links for you to check out. The first is Shooter Rick's Snakebitten Chicken rub and injection. It's pretty darned good.

Also, here's one of my first with leg quarters

and one other too, there's a decent shot of how I do my minion method

points.giffor a successful first chicken smoke!
post #11 of 11
In my bullet I throw chunks of dry wood in there. No chips or sawdust. It will really color up the skin.
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