I'm going to be entering a beer can chicken cook-off against my father this coming labor day and am looking for a few tips. I've done a few beer can chickens before and they turned out pretty well, but I can honestly say I haven't quite reached the taste of my dad's yet. Here's what I've got a few questions about:
-cooking time: I'm using a green Brinkmann bullet smoker, running it at 260-275 degrees. I did one cook with the chickens (two) for five hours on the bottom rack and it seemed a little on the dry side (nobody complained, but I noticed). I'm definitely going to use the top rack next time, but I've still got one question regarding the cook time. What's the ideal time I should crack the smoker open and start checking for doneness?
-seasoning: I've always been a little leery of adding too much seasoning, and as a result my birds are all smoke flavor and not much seasoned flavor. Is there a practical limit to the amount of seasoning added? What's the best amount to add?
-x factor: Any other little "extra" tricks to use? I've just been slapping the chicken on and underneath the skin with dry rub, then putting it on the beer can and right onto the smoker. Is there a better way to maximize flavor that I'm missing?
Thanks everybody for your help!