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Experimental Whole Bird w/qview

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Looking for a great smoked bird? Me too!

I had a brainstorm Thursday at work (I know, this could be a scary thing…LOL!!!) after my wife called and said she wanted me to do a couple of whole chickens on my days-off.

I started thinking about how much we like to eat smoked yard birds, how difficult it can be sometimes to get a nice crispy skin without added fats, and how much I truly dislike the rubber-skinned chickens. Then, the issue of healthy chicken for the table came to mind…hmm…where could my thoughts possibly be going with this….

Then, I asked myself: if you aren’t going to eat the skin when it doesn’t turn out crispy, what happens to the seasonings when you remove the skin? My answer was: onto my plate, of course…where else would it be if you don’t eat it!?!?!?!?

After further contemplation on this rapidly deepening subject of the ever elusive perfectly smoked bird, I asked myself: how can I get a noticeably deep smoke penetration with poultry? While I thought about the obvious causes for lack of smoke reaction with the meat being (1) fat over the meat, or (2) skin over the meat, my answer was: remove the skin and fat from the bird.

I know what you’re thinking: no skin = dry bird. However, I may have a possible solution which I will put to the test today.

So, I asked myself: how can I achieve the ultimate smoked whole bird which will retain the seasonings so that I can enjoy the flavors which they impart to my chicken, and retain good moisture content, while having a nice crisp exterior, and, good smoke penetration to boot?

I pondered something that was so simple and well known, that it just had to be good for a whole smoked bird…it’s a staple in almost everyone’s kitchen…it’s used for chicken regularly for down-home cooking...any guess what I am thinking about?

I’ll only give you one more hint: I smoked a whole trimmed 7-bone beef rib-roast last Christmas Eve…my birthday dinner smoke. What did I use that was so off the wall for a smoked beef roast? Do you remember that smoke?

Is it coming together now?

OK, OK, flour for the crust….ready for this one?

Are you sure you’re ready?

OK! Then, let‘s get smokin‘!

In my planning to attempt to create the ultimate juicy & crispy crusted smoky yard bird, I came up with this plan: smoke one bird with the skin intact and trimmed of some excess fat, moisten with EVOO or room temp butter and dry rub with one of my typical bird seasoning blends and smoked as I normally would (w/o brine or injection). Then, along side this bird, will go an identical bird with an experimental process as follows:

Crusted Smoked Chicken

Start with a fresh or frozen/thawed bird.

Thoroughly clean out the interior of the carcass and remove all skin and exterior fat. Dry all surfaces.

Moisten the exterior surfaces of the bird with EVOO, then, apply a heavy coating of seasoned flour and smoke @ 200* for the first 30-45 minutes (for improved smoke penetration), then increase to 300* (for improved crust formation and reaching safe temperatures) until 170* internal temperature is reached. Rest uncovered (to maintain crispness) @ room temp for 15-20 minutes to redistribute meat juices before serving.

Seasoned Flour:

1/2 Tbls Black Pepper, medium ground

½ Tbls White Pepper powder

1/2 Tbls Garlic, granulated

1 tsp Onion powder

2 Tbls Kosher Salt, coarse

1 tsp Sweet Basil Leaves, crushed

1 tsp Oregano, powdered

1 tsp Chili powder

1/4 C All Purpose Flour

***1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

***1 tsp Red Pepper, crushed

***optional for a spicy/hot version…double these amounts for the more daring and adventurous heat seekers.

After I sat down to the computer and wrote this up, I said to myself: how good does that sound to you? Well, I am going to try it out because it looks good enough to eat on paper, so I thought it would look even better on a smoker grate! HEH-HEH-HEH!!!!!!!!!

And away we go on another adventure!!!!!

The Crusted and skin-on bird's labels, respectively...not a good price, wife wanted birds, so she got birds:

The metal clips holding the legs in a tucked position:

Prep for smoke...skinning out the larger bird:


Both birds cleaned-up and ready to dry:

EVOO applied and ready for seasoning:

Crusted Chicken ready for smoke:

Just into the Smoke Vault 24 with a wet pan and cherry smoke @ 200*:

While skinning out the bird, a lot of the thin membrane over the muscle groups remained intact. This should help retain some moisture as it will skin over slightly after the initial smoke.

I did increase the temps to 300* after the first 30 minutes.

2 hrs into the smoke:

3 hrs in:

3.3 hrs in...I decided to start basting both birds with salted butter:

3.5 hr baste:

Just out:

After an hour resting:

I had forgotten about the big ol' birds...a bit tough, but still tasty. I should have went for a slower longer smoke and they would have been more tender. They definitely were "tough old birds" to be smoking.

Moisture in the crusted skinless bird was very comparable to the skin-on.

Had that rubber-skin on the regular bird, but the crusted was a softer exterior with all the flavor staying on the meat like I wanted.

I may try this again and do the basting earlier so it can form and set a better crust earlier.

I think that overall, there is no reason to smoke a bird with the skin on (unless you like it), as long as you leave the membranes intact. PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

Thanks for peeking everyone!

post #2 of 5
Bravo and points for the great experiment and side by side smoke, nice to know that you can achieve a fine smoke without the skin or bacon or butter...
I actually guessed the flour as the ingredient, not at first but after you mentioned it was something we all have in the kitchen and completely off the wall to use...
Wanna try this with some chipotle in the flour.
post #3 of 5
Now that is really outside the box thinking....points.gif
Do you ever brine your yardbirds?
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks brother! It is definitely worth the try and only takes a couple minutes to skin one out.

I'm doing my next whole birds this way again...no more skin-on yard birds for me. I need to pay closer attention to the weights so I can dial in on the proper temp for more tender eating...these big one's should have been smoked @ ~250-260* and it would have done them more justice.

Thanks, I have tried brining with a couple of whole fresh birds...it didn't seem to make a big difference to me, but alot of folks swear by it for chix pieces.

post #5 of 5
thanx for great experiment.....might give it a try next time a bird is due....we get them for $1 a bird.....my partner at work has friends at the tyson chicken plant in cordyn IN.
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