Advice on temp and times for whole birds

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by figjam, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. figjam

    figjam Meat Mopper

    Gonna help a buddy out and smoke about 4-5 whole birds for him for a party.  He said he is gonna shoot for 5# birds.  My questions to the masses that have done birds before are these:

    1)  What temps do you cook your birds at?

    2)  How long should I estimate based on the temp given in #1?

    I've always done pork and beef and cooked at 250, but wondered if I should use higher temps for chicken to get the skin crisper and because you don't need the low and slow with chicken like you do with most other things.
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    We smoke poultry at 300-325.

    At that temp 20-30 minutes per pound is a good estimate.

    You can also smoke them at 225 & crisp the skin up on a hot grill or in the oven when they are done.

    At that temp 30-35 minutes per pound.
  3. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well..... I know a lot of folks like to cook chicken fast and they have good results, me personally I like to cook my bird low and slow, keeps it super moist and tender. At the very end I toss it under a broiler or on a hot grill to crisp the skin.

    I cook mine at 225°, approx time 3hrs, temp in thigh 180°. They are super moist and tender.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2011
  4. jc1947

    jc1947 Smoking Fanatic

  5. figjam

    figjam Meat Mopper

    I'll check out the link now.  I don't think I'll have the room to do that many birds if they are all spatchcocked.
  6. figjam

    figjam Meat Mopper

    Looks like I don't need to worry about the skin though as I just got a txt from him and he is talking about pulling the meat for sammies.

    Thanks all to the replies received so far.
  7. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    We pull most of ours so we don't worry about the skin.

    Having said that, low and slow doesn't benefit chix as much as it does other meats.

    Internal temp control is the main issue I watch.  I like 165 at the breast and 175 at the thigh, and that is sometimes tricky to achieve. It is cooking two cuts of meat on the same dang bird!

    Good luck and good smoking.
  8. raymo76

    raymo76 Smoking Fanatic

    So how did it come out? or have you not done it yet? My birds have taken 3 - 3.5 hours to hit the IT's I was looking for. Last time I cooked till thigh was 175* this time I cooked till breast was 165* either methods all birds were super moist.
  9. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Beer can Chix are almost foolproof. They are never dry and easy enough.

    Remember food safety especially with chicken, do not "cross contaminate" and keep a bleach based cleaner on hand to wipe everything down each step of the way.

    When working with chicken get everything ready and mixed before ever handling the chicken.
    • Preheat RF to 350°.
    • Mix some sweet basil with butter to rub up underneath the skin in the breast area.
    • Prepare your beer can and pour out half the beer, take a can opener and remove the top of the beer can.
    • Remove chicken from refrigerator, remove the gizzard goodie bag, rinse chicken and set aside.
    • Add the giblets and neck from the bag and a teaspoon of rosemary to the beer can. If you want to make gravy, you can add salt and other spices such as garlic and onion powder and when you remove the can from the chicken, place in a pot and dress up a bit, get creative here. Some people do not like the taste of liver, so you may not want to add the liver to the beer can if making gravy.I have noticed that spices such as Rosemary and Thyme added in the can really impart flavor into the chicken.
    • Place the Beer can on a cookie sheet. Rub chicken with olive oil and add your favorite rub or spices. Place chicken on the beer can. For smaller Birds there is no need to worry about the breast drying out, so buttering or oiling the breast under the skin isn't really necessary, however feel free to slather for a more intense flavor.
    • Heat the RF up to about 350°, remove the “Beer Can Chickens” from the cookie sheet and place directly on the grates.
    • Let the temp creep down slowly to 250°
    • Cook about 80 minutes, I did 90 minutes last time and it came out pretty good. The chicken makes for an incredible chicken salad the next day.
    • The safe temp to cook a whole chicken is 165°; I don’t mind overcooking these guys because they still come out OK, Just make sure to get some butter up under the skin at the breast area, because the breast can dry out before the chicken is done.
    • Remove the chicken from the grill, place in a clean steamer pan and rest for about 15 minutes before carving. If you are making gravy, do so while the chicken is resting.
    • Remove the skin and place on the still hot grates, if there's a hot spot on your smoker place the skin fat side down on the hot spot, carve the chicken and after the all the carving is done remove the skin from the smoker and cut into strips to serve alongside the meat.
    As you can see by the first photo, I did not rub these with olive oil or place any butter underneath the skin, however it still came out pretty good.
  10. Pour out half the beer!!?? That's alcohol abuse.
  11. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree. It should read "drink half the beer and have another on standby for the cook"
  12. Exactly.

  13. I should say so! Pour out the beer indeed...harumph! [​IMG]
  14. figjam

    figjam Meat Mopper

    Sorry, forgot to come back and post the results.  Birds took 3.5 hours.  I started em at 9 and had em off at 12:30.  I foiled em, wrapped em in towels, and threw them in the cooler.  At about 2, we took them out and started pulling them, doing my 4 first.

    We did his 4 last.  He overcooked and oversmoked his, but we could cover it up by blending it all together.

    I had some of my meat as I was pulling it and DAMN was it good.  Gonna have to do that more often.
  15. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yeah Yeah I know, I always get ribbed for that, but that is my politically correct post considering some of our smokers may be under the age of 21.

    Believe me, my beer never goes to waste, the first pour off my keg after it has sat a few days unused is always, foamy, the foamy beer is poured off into a jar and frozen for cooking, now before everyone starts panicking about the foam, I understand that it is important to have a good head especially on a lager, however 3 glasses of straight foam is not drinkable in my book anyway and is much better for cooking or making batter.

    Now you may be asking yourself, why doesn't he turn the pressure down, well I have an answer for that as well. lol The pressure is set to 9lbs any less and the beer trickles out after a few glasses, just thought I would share my logic.

    But I Concur wasted beer is alcohol abuse.
  16. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I did not realize you were pulling the chicken, glad it turned out.
  17. 9-10 psi is what I run my taps at. If they sit a while the first couple are pretty foamy.
  18. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    YEAH 9 is the highest I can go without problems.

    I have a buddy that when he comes over he will pour a few beers for us and he prides himself on a pour with no head...I have to laugh, every time I tell him yo dude you need a bit of head to release the flavor/aroma in the beer.

    I am sure there are others that can appreciate this.
  19. kydave

    kydave Smoke Blower

    I prefer the beer can method too! I smoke mine at about 275°F but the time varies depending on ambient temperature, wind, humidity, etc. I simply monitor the internal temp and yank those babies when it reaches 160°F or so.

    hoto taken May 28, 2011

    I have been using too much smoke though. Having just learned "TBS" here on the forum, I can't wait to try again! (Will also be brining which I haven't done before.)

    RE: CO2 pressure, I agree, just under 10lbs works for me too. 
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  20. A 12 ounce pour should have 3/4 inch of head. As you stated it helps in releasing the aroma of the beer. If it's a real beer that has aroma to begin with. Plus who wants a beer filled all the way to the top after you've had a few. [​IMG]

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