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100 lb. of whole chickens---questions/suggestions

sm0kin

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So I have been asked to bring pulled chicken to a cancer benefit this weekend for around 125 people. Another guy is bringing 35-40 lb of pulled pork. I expect to brine and smoke 100lb of whole chickens and have some ideas and questions. I will be cooking on 2 MES30's with AMNPS in each. Does anyone know how many birds will fit in an MES30? I intend to use the breasts and thighs for pulling, and leave the legs/wings intact. My initial thoughts were to remove the skin from most of the bird, but leave it on the legs and wings to crisp up on the grill. Anyone tried this before or see why it wouldn't work? I also considered just removing the legs and wings from the birds and smoke them separately. I have been smoking for about 15 years, but never this large of a cook :)

Thanks for your input!
 

chef jimmyj

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Will Pulled Chicken suffice or do you HAVE to offer Pulled Chix, Wings and Drumsticks? A MES30 will fit 8 Whole Broilers at one time. You will have 25+ Birds to smoke. You will have a visual Mess smoking and then trying to part out the pieces. Cut everything ahead and smoke separately...OR...You will get a much Higher yield smoking Thighs only and Pulling them all and offer Pulled Bird only...JJ
 

dirtsailor2003

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I totally agree with JJ on all accounts. I won't even consider serving anything but pull chicken thighs to a large group. Not only is it a pain to cook there's always that one person who didn't get their favorite piece of meat.
 

pit 4 brains

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Ditto..

Pulled chicken is the way to go for a crowd. Been there, done that.

Keep in mind, nobody is going to come up and congratulate you on your chicken leg. They'll be happy with a good sandwich and some good slaw...
 
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chef jimmyj

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Think about yourself carving a fully cooked Whole Bird for dinner...You grab the Wing. If the Tip don't come off in hand, the tip and arm bones fall out and the wing meat flops on the side of the drumette. Same with a the Leg and Thigh. Grab and gently twist the Drum to expose the Hip and the leg bones come out or the Drum separates with a Raggety edge of torn meat and skin! OK for the table and family, but not too pretty and appetizing looking for important guests...I have done a lot of catering and you Serve Parts cooked separately, Chicken Halves or Pulled Thighs...JJ
 
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sm0kin

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Will Pulled Chicken suffice or do you HAVE to offer Pulled Chix, Wings and Drumsticks? A MES30 will fit 8 Whole Broilers at one time. You will have 25+ Birds to smoke. You will have a visual Mess smoking and then trying to part out the pieces. Cut everything ahead and smoke separately...OR...You will get a much Higher yield smoking Thighs only and Pulling them all and offer Pulled Bird only...JJ
Thanks Jimmy, I was going with whole birds for the cost, .99/lb . It does make sense to just use thighs though, and I will move forward with that as a plan. I was skeptical about the whole birds from the beginning, and using thighs only simplifies the process tenfold.
 

sm0kin

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I picked up 144 thighs for .88/lb. so that worked out good so far. I expect to get them brined overnight and start cooking tomorrow. Generally I cook around 200°F and crisp the skin on the grill after. I won't be delivering this till noon on Sunday, would you recommend smoking, pulling, and refrigerating till then? 
 

chef jimmyj

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Anytime you are serving more than yourself and family and especially traveling...Go above and beyond with proper handling, Fully Cook Meat, Cool in the most efficient manner and Reheat quickly to a min IT of 165°F. I would do as much ahead as possible. It is way easier to reheat Pulled Chicken then mess with reheating and pulling 144 thighs...JJ
 

tbrtt1

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Wow, 100lbs of pulled chicken. You got the raw end of that deal. Pulled pork would probably be easier. 

Good on you for doing it and a good cause. My career has been in fighting cancer. It is a costly and difficult disease to treat and benefits and volunteerism make a huge difference. 
 

sm0kin

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Thanks for supporting the cause[emoji]128077[/emoji] I definitely got the raw end on this one, but i will make certain it was worthwhile. 48 thighs per smoker, both are rollin smoke
 

sm0kin

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It was an incredibly successful event, but I won't be pulling that much chicken again...ever... lol
 

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