1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Advice needed - Fall off the bone chicken

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by cobble, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. cobble

    cobble Smoke Blower

    Help me. My fiance does not eat anything on the bone. I know, horrible, right? Been with her 4 years, and I've been fighting this battle the entire time. It drives me crazy. She'll only eat boneless chicken/pork/beef. Recently, we had a breakthrough though. We went applepicking at a local farm, and there was aconsession stand, cooking up some great BBQ. I didnt get a chance to chat with the guy working the pit, so I cant tell you how he was cooking the food, except to say that he had a hude pile of wood next to his pit, so he wasn't using gas, that's for sure. Anyway, they has two options available, beef ribs, or chicken thighs. We were both starving, so she caved and bought the chicken, hoping to prevail upon me to take the bones out for her. No, I'm not kidding. And no, I didn't do it. I refuse to. Anyway, I told her to grab a fork and knife, and eat what she could.

    To my amazement, she actually started eating the damn thing! The chicken was falling right off the bone. Apparently, she has no problem eating it if it comes right off the bone. So my question is, how do I cook it so that it comes right off the bone like that. He wasn't smoking it, because the pit was open, but I have no idea how he accomlished it. It's probably pretty basic for you guys, but my experience with grilling is limited. Hotdogs, hamburgers, and sausages, I'm familiar with, but grilling chicken is new to me.
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    There's only two ways I can get fall off the bone chicken:

    1) smoke it whole with the skin on and un-altered (no lifting the skin to apply dry rub...no injecting), low & slow (225*) with a very humid smoke chamber...take it to ~200*, and foil and wrap like you would a pork butt, and let it rest a couple hours. When you get ready to serve, just cut into the skin over the breast bone and watch the bird fall open as you slide the blade along the bone. Wings, legs and thighs just need the skin opened up and a pull on the bone...a bit of quick checking of the meat for small bones, etc, (toss the skin of course) and it's good to go.

    2) smoke or grill pieces of chicken and put them into a covered pan when nearly to safe temps (170* +) and steam in the covered pan for a couple hours @ 205-220*.

    In either case, I get fall apart bird with no fuss. I can't imagine it even being possible on an open grill, so I'll just be satisfied with what works for me and I won't try to figure out how he did it...

    OK, wait...if the right combination of a properly balanced marinade or brine was used, and the correct soaking time allowed for the size/weight of the chix pieces...I've used marinades many times for chicken...bottled and homemade...hmmm, I've basted chicken pieces while grilling, too...

    Anyway, I can't tell you what the exact combination is. Not because I'd have to kill ya if I told ya, I just don't know what it is......[​IMG]

    Seriously though, the foiled resting for quartered or whole birds, or steaming smaller pieces always works for me...and whether you smoked or grilled it, the flavors will still be there when it comes time to plate your meal.

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  3. bigal

    bigal Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Sorry Eric, I gotta disagree.  Don't take it to 200*, 165-170* AT MOST.  Brine the whole bird for 4-6hrs(for a 3-3.5#er), spatchcock, and smoke at 225-250* until 160*(is what I do)  Foil and rest for 10-15min and it'll be fine.  I don't use a meat prob(on chix) anymore cause you can tell on chix by feel'n the leg, it'll nearly fall right off before 170*. 

    Thats how I do it.  Eric is a better cook than I, if I took it to 200 it'd look like the bird on Christmas Vacation.[​IMG]

    Good luck!
  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    HAH-HAH, yea, Al, when I smoke whole birds, I have a water pan literally boiling off a gallon/hr or more, so the smoke chamber humidity is continuously at saturation point. I find this to be an extremely forgiving environment to keep the moisture content high in the meats if you take the internal temps very high.

    I wouldn't consider myself to be a better cook than yourself at all. I just have an ace in the hole for those times when I do push the limits. It doesn't really matter if you're running a pellet muncher, charcoal, electric or propane fired smoker. The fuel/heat source isn't what makes the difference in the moisture content. If a drier exterior is desired on your meat (crust/bark on a brisket, ribs, butt, or crispy skin on a bird), then temp control and careful monitoring of the product when nearing the end of its cooking is a must, as is a dryer cooking environment...crust/bark or crispy chicken skin just doesn't seem to form very well in a humid environment, IMO.

    If the exterior of the meat isn't an issue (soft chix skin), as with pulled chicken, I've run anywhere from 225-350* chamber temp and have no worries of the end result when I have such a high humidity cooking environment. Now, with chix pieces, I find that if I want fall apart meat, I will end up with a mealy texture if I keep it on open grates for too long, so that's why I go for a steam to finish it. I think part of the trick is to place the chix pieces closely together in the pan so as to continue heating through slowly.

  5. I think the key is going to be sealing it tight in foil, or a foil pan with a cover like Eric said.  Maybe smoke it for an hour then finish it in the foil?  I've never attempted to get chicken to fall apart, but I would experiment with that method. 

    My sister in law suffers from this same affliction.  She always gets country style ribs when I fire up the smoker. 
  6. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Y'all are just to nice .

    Here it's, Eat what i fix. The way i fix it. Fix it your self or go hungry
  7. bigal

    bigal Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Eric, do you brine? 

    I suck at bird skin, but we also don't like it that much.  Wife likes pulled chix, and everyone knows that if mamma is happy......

    BTW, reading your posts....yes your a better cook....even if you do live in bfe.[​IMG][​IMG]

    Great advise, Eric.
  8. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My first Beer can chicken on Frank was fall off the bone.

    To me fall of the bone chicken is overdone like those rotisserie Sams Club chickens, the meat mushes up in your mouth, don't get me wrong they are good but the texture is mush.

    So if she really wants fall of the bone chicken, Do a beer can chicken and cook till an internal temp of 180 degrees, foil at 160 internal.

    Personally I bring my chickens up to about 161 degrees then pull, wrap in foil and towels rest half hour and temp will creep up to 165.

    I would rather debone her chicken for her than cook it to death!

    MY two cents.
  9. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now I have had fall off the bone yard bird to. But it was at a bbq joint in Mobile, Alabama called "The Shed" and to me it was prety darn bad. You'll know when I (they made me) have to eat at a bbq joint cause I always order the salad. But the chicken there was fall off the bone and didn't have a lick of flavor so I think that they BOILED the bird and then put it on the grill and slopped some bbq sauce on it or in their case Shed Spread.
  10. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Low and slow.

    I also like the near fall of bone tenderness on chicken, I cook all my chicken at 210-220°, and let it go till it hits about 180° (measured in the thick part of the thigh). It just slides off the bone with the fork and tastes really good and juicy. Been doing that for 4 yrs. now and family wont eat it any other way. [​IMG]
  11. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey Al, I have brined a couple times, whole fresh birds for 12-18 hours, and chix pieces for 6-8 hours...didn't seem to get what I was really looking for. I think the salt content was probably part of the equation, being too high after cooking. I have had good luck with bottled or homemade marinades for chix pieces, though. A bit of lemon juice (approx 5-7% of the liquid), soy sauce, water, tons of spices and a bit of salt, and we're in yard-bird heaven.

    If a crisp skin is something you want to shoot for, you may want to try a bit of exterior enhancing to help things along. Any fats added to the outside during the last half of the smoking can work wonders...just a light brushed-on basting to give it a good coat over your rub without knocking the seasoning off will do. I like butter, myself. I do wonder what bacon grease would taste like for enhancing the skin? Hmm, we do bacon wrapped chix breasts, bacon draped over whole chickens, bacon wrapped pork loins and fatties...man, that'd have be good with bacon grease baste! Oh, and a dry smoke chamber will make a huge difference, too.

    Thanks, I guess I can hold my own with a smoker or grill. I guess I never really think about what goes into a great smoke sometimes, but confidence is a big key to success. Having great folks like those who hang out here at SMF helps a lot, too! LOL!!! Heck, most of what I know about outdoor cooking was either learned from, or inspired by members here. That's why we hang here...too learn, and in return, to share what we've learned. So, a big thanks to the members of SMF would be in order...[​IMG]

    I digressed...

    I know where you're coming from about the mamma being happy...you'll never hear an arguement from me on that issue! LOL!!!!!!!!

    Yeah, I do live in bfe, but we like it that way...some solitude and quiet is always a good thing, and I have my outdoor kitchen which is well-protected from the weather as part of my space, so it comes pretty easy for me to create some tasty meals. Hmm, speaking of that, I need to go check tonight's dinner...back in a short! Dangit, gotta start that thread, too! LOL!!!!

  12. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A great way to cheat on brine if you are worried about over salting, 1 part low sodium chicken broth, 1 part apple juice, 1/2 part water. Taste that, then decide if you want any more salt or not. I like it because you get a nice light flavor, but very juicy.
  13. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    There be a recipe round here fer a low salt brine.

    Ya wanna brine that bird overnight, rinse an sprinkle with rub.

    Smoke at bout 275° till that breast hits bout 165° ta 170°.  Will be a tender an juicy bird.  The skin won't be crisp, but if ya need that, pull it a bit early an pop that bird in a 350° oven fer a few minutes.  Now, part a the secret, cover that bird an let it rest no less then 15 minutes.

    If they won't eat this, give em a salad.
  14. cole

    cole Fire Starter

    I haven't brined whole chicken, but have gotten good results.  In the hotter months I do use more water in the pan to keep it moist, the problem being in colder months the water pan holds the temp back a little (220).  I would suggest foiling it around 160 and spray with some apple juice or cider vinegar, and put it back on for an hour or so completely sealed (let the juices circulate).  It does fall apart pretty good if you cut right down the breast bone, chunks of breast fall off and the legs just pull off the chicken and become meat-sicles. 

    Good luck!