Advice with chicken required

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Aug 17, 2006
By Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
I need some advice.

I plan on doing a chicken this weekend and want to know if I can or should do it with the skin off.

The last experience I had with chicken was none too good. I had brined a couple of birds, started them smokin and all was fine. I checked the every 20-30 minutes. Temp was about 230 and all was well. Smoked about 2 hours and then, upon checking I found 2 lumps of black charcol that used to be chicken.

I assume there was a grease fire some time between checks (20 Mins or so) I did not see anything.

Well, long story short, it was frustrating and disapointing.

I have quite a few of these birds from the same source and since the fat is ussally under the skin, I wanted to remove the skin first, Brine it, then put it on.

I should say, I use a homemade smoker that has the burner under the birds. I have since added a grease tray that SHOULD direct the drippings away from the burner, but....

Any and all suggestions would be appericated.

Personally, I'd say leave on the skin during cooking to help retain moisture. Personal preference though. Others might tell you to take it off. I'm not going to debate anyone on the topic. Take the info you feel is best and run with it. I think the grease pan will help prevent the flair ups though.
I agree, now that you have the drip pan for grease that should eliminate the grease fire. If chickens are the only thing your smoking you might want to think about taking the temp up a bit and towards the end crank it even a bit higher so you get crisp skin.

Good luck and let us know.
i use a gasser... love the water pan when i am smoking poulty because it does 2 things, it keeps an even temperature and it catches all the drippings eliminating flare ups... the last 30-45 minutes i crank up the heat to crisp the skin
That's a funny way to crisp the skin!!

I would say leave the skin on also. You could also get a disposable pan to set them in. That would certainly catch any drippings.
I have used my ECB water smoker with propane cranked up between 300º and 325º after the first half hour.

Used the beer butt method with pecan and the skin turned the most awesome orange/brown you ever saw and the meat was as moist as a stew.. only better.
I know foil is a much debated subject, but I like to wrap my birds in foil until they get to 155 or so, then remove the foil and let them cook the rest of the way nekkid so that the skin is a little more crisp, though not completely. I like it a little on the soggy yet not chewy and rubbery side if that makes any sense!
I'm of the same opinion as those already expressed .
The drip tray will definitely help.
You might try spraying them every 20-30 minutes with some good apple juice, that way you can see if you're getting any flare ups and yur adding some nice colour and flavour to the bird and you won't need to have the phone by the smoker....I know 911 is only 3 digits but in the time it takes to dial you coulda had another brewsky.... well a sip maybe

Good Luck.
I will be doing a little sippin myself this weekend ..I got a wedding to go to out of town. My nephew is taking the plunge. Dominus Vobiscum
With my Latin reaction outta the way I definitely suggest that you put a bit of water in the bottom of your grease pan and maintain that water. Grease will bubble and spit and the mist it raises will catch fire as well. The water will moderate the temp of the grease and prevent this.

You can either low and slow it all the way with a 350 degree 20 to 30 minute finish to crisp the skin or go for a 300 degree cook after the first half hour or so as suggested earlier in the thread. Either will produce excellent results!

Hope we have all helped you!

Peter -

You could add one of those tin foil trays that fits almost completely over the heat source (leaving an inch or so all the way around) to catch all the grease that drips. I usually start my poultry as high as I can and lower the bird closer to the heat just before pulling to crisp it up.
Sir, perhaps I am missing something here. Seems to me that the birds shouldn't be above the burner, seems like they should be off to the side. I read that they should be cooked low and slow, then for a crispy skin, deep fat fry them for a few minutes. Personally I love the skin more than any other part of the bird! TC

The bird has to go above the burner in a vertical smoker. That's why a water and/or drip pan is needed to catch the fat so it does not burn. It's not a problem for those with a horizontal smoker.

Hope this helps.

Take care, have fun, and do good!


Thank you , if I had a brain, I'd be dangerous! I use the homemade horizontal smoker so I didn't think past that. TC is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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