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Re-starting from scratch

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi all.  Tomorrow I want to retry using my smoker again. Several months back I posted about all foods tasting like creosote and chemicals due to not knowing how to properly use it.  Several weeks ago we power washed it and I want to start over with a whole smoked chicken (cheap meat this time so I don't throw away another $25 chunk of meat.)  So I need help and your expertise.  Keep it simple please.


The grill is a Chargrill offset smoker. Today I'm brining the bird as suggested and will use butter/rosemary rub under the skin tomorrow, as well as a rub on the outside.  I have lump charcoal and 3 yo apple wood chunks from a neighboring tree.


I heat the charcoal and put the bird on a beer can with spices and inners. My mistake before was closing the vent most of the way (which created the creosote build-up) to help regulate the heat.  My new understanding is to leave the vent all the way open and regulate the temp from the firebox vent. Do I leave the bird to cook unwrapped the entire time, or foil-wrap it after an hour or so?


Any suggestions for a newbie are enormously appreciated.  (edit:  I think I posted this to the wrong section. Sorry 'bout that.)

post #2 of 15

leave it unwrapped for the hold cook internal temp 165 or higher

post #3 of 15

You arwe on the right track !

 Exhast all the way open. cook bird to 165  where the thigh joins the backbone. this is usually the last spot to get done

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks fellas. I just can't fathom another wasted chunk of meat so I hope this goes well.

post #5 of 15

Sounds like you have a good plan. Top vent wide open control temps with firebox vents and don't foil the chicken while its smoking. If you want crisp skin run the smoker temps up into the 300 degree range if you don't care about eating the skin keep the smoker temps in the 225-245 range and get the most smoke flavor. Have a great smoke

post #6 of 15

Sounds like you have it on track Jaded...as previously stated get it to 165 and your good to go. It's going to turn out great, you'll feel like a champion when you taste it this time....

post #7 of 15

Just remember the cost of the mistakes is the price you pay for excellence.  Couple of bucks spent now learning a new hobby/craft will result in great meals for the rest of your smoking life.

post #8 of 15

Jaded, glad to have you back. I suggest taking the vent dampner off and discarding it (far far away) Next I would get your temp up to 225* and get your bird on. Next just add a small piece of smoking wood that's been water soaked for an hour. Now I would just sit and observe how the smoke just creeps up on you. It should smell like smoke but not like a BBQ with chicken sending smoke signals to the fire dept. Low and Slow is the trick. Hope this helps.



post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Well the bird is on the smoker now.  I'm having trouble keeping the temps below 300, even though I have just a very small amount of lump coal, a piece of apple wood on the side of the coals so it doesn't ignite, have a water pan inside nearest the heat and keep putting ice cubes in it to cool the inside temps down.  The temps have to start dropping soon because the coal will almost be burned out. If I could just get consistency now all would be well.


post #10 of 15

I try to smoke my poultry at 300-350 so you'll be fine at those temps with chicken. It wouldn't work well for most smoking but to me for poultry its great running those kinda temps it will give you a crispy skin vs the rubbery skin

post #11 of 15

Good luck Jaded,


With ever smoke you will learn something new. 300 isnt the end of the world, I try to stay up there kinda high so that my skin will be a little on the crisp side. I am still new to the crisp chicken skin thing, but I would go with it and see how it turns out.


I am cooking chicken right now and I am having trouble maintaining temps due to the high wind I am experiencing.

post #12 of 15

I meant to post this early but never got around to it.  If you are still having problems with getting that bitter creosote flavor, then go back to the basics.  Using an all hardwood lump charcoal alone, like Royal Oak, is no different than old school smoking of scooping burning wood embers under the food.  You will get smoke flavor even without adding additional wood.  When you get done, if you don't feel like you had enough smoke, next time add 1 stick and see what that does.  You don't have to see smoke to be smoking.  As long as you can smell it, it's there.

post #13 of 15

I'm not a big fan of chicken smoked at lower temps  220 - 250.  Like others have said the skin comes out kind of rubbery.  Only thing I can tell you about the higher the expected temps is that your firebox either has an open damper or it just leaks fresh air pretty  bad.  You also have the option to crack open the cooking chamber a bit to allow some fresh air in and bring down your temps.  You will still get a good smoke taste as long as the smoke is generated by the fire.


Good luck

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

The final results are in:  It's juicy and delicious!  The skin is perfectly browned and crispy.  The thermometer must not've been in the right spot because although it read 165 degrees, there are some pink areas that I'm not comfortable serving to the family, so I cut it in pieces and it's in the oven now along with the contents of the beer can/spices/chicken broth. 


But overall, I'm happy.  And no creosote taste!  Yes!


Thanks everyone for all the help.

post #15 of 15

Glad to hear it jaded, if you are using chicken that has been frozen chicken you will have shall I say blood lines. I know alot of people that wont eat frozen chicken because of that. I hope everyone enjoys.

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