Newbie Yardbird Questions (with Q-View)

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by smokingneophyte, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. I am going to try my hand at a couple of beer can chickens today.  I plan on using Shooters Snake Bitten Chicken and Seafood Rub that I have heard many good things about.  I also read several threads about the debate of whether or not to brine the birds.  Since I don't have enough time, I have decided not to brine the birds this time.  So, I have a couple of questions about procedure using a MES40 with an A-Maze-N pellet smoker:
    1. Should I put water in the water pan or dry?  I am inclined to leave it dry.
    2. Is it okay to use a couple of disposable foil pans on the shelf below the birds to keep the smoker clean?  Does it affect the amount of smoke that the birds absorb?
    3. I'm thinking of using apple pellets.  Is that a good choice?
    4. I plan on smoking them at 275 degrees which is the highest setting for the MES40.  I know the motto here is to cook based on temperature and not time but about how long should this take?  On an order of magnitude, am I looking at 2 hours or 4 hours?
    5. Should I put the ET732 meat thermometer in at the beginning or wait an hour or so until the surface of the chicken is sufficiently hot?  I have read the food safety threads but it sure seams like it would be much easier at the beginning rather than working within the hot smoker.
    Sorry for all of the questions but I want to make sure that I get this right.
  2. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Keep us updated, and don't forget the camera. 
  3. smokinal

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

    You didn't say how large the chicken is. If it's a big roaster it may take 4 hours. I also don't see a problem putting the therm in at the beginning, as you say it's easier & you should have no problem getting through the danger zone in time, and as Meat says don't forget the Q-view.
  4. Thanks for the responses.  Well, the birds turned out great.  After they rested and were cut up, we put them on the grill to get the skin crispy.  Overall, it was a pretty good first attempt at beer can chickens.  Apple was a good wood to use.  Here is a picture of the birds:

  5. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks great!!

  6. smokinal

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

    They look PERFECT!!!!   [​IMG]

    Great color!!
  7. Thanks for the compliments.  They tasted great but I just wish the skin was crispy right out of the smoker.  I would rather not have to add the additional step of putting them on the grill.  Our guests loved how they tasted.

    I mentioned yesterday under another thread that we had a problem with temperatures in the MES40.  I took out the top rack and stood the chickens on the 2nd rack.  I then placed two half size disposable trays on the next lower rack which essentially filled up the entire rack.  With the MES40 set for 275 degrees, I noticed that my Maverick ET732 probe at the cooking level was reading much lower than the MES's readout.  I'm thinking that the control thermostat for the MES was below the foil pans and was cycling the element but that heat was never making it to the top.  Once I realized this, I removed one of the foil pans which allowed more room for airflow around it and the temperature at the cooking rack immediately started to climb.  Has this happened to anyone else?
  8. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great looking BCC's, I'm a stick burner so I'm not familiar with the MES (yet).

    The birds have an awesome color, Thanks for sharing [​IMG]
  9. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great Looking Birds...
  10. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Real nice...

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