carving whole chickens

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Jan 29, 2011
I am preparing to smoke a couple whole chickens on Sunday....I'm looking for advice on carving. I've never smoked a whole chicken nor have I ever carved one. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Any helpful tips on smoking the chicken would be good too. Thanks!
That's a lot of questions with very detailed answers.  I'll try to point you in the right direction.   First thing I would do is check out Travis' poultry brine in the Wikis.  He has a recipe for a reliable poultry brine, injection and rub.  They will give you a good first step

You smoke a chicken the same was as a turkey, they just finish sooner.   If you can get your smoker to 300 degrees you can probably finish the chickens in the smoker in about  two hours. 

If not go ahead and smoke the poultry 2 or three hours and then move to a 350 oven to get to recommend internal temperature of 165 degrees

I like to smoke poultry at a higher temp initially to get beyond the danger zone and then lower the heat to let smoke.  That way I can let it sit in the smoker a bit longer once it gets to an internal 140 degrees.

As far as carving I am sure if you do a search they will have a video for you but to break it down into a couple of easy steps.

Remove the wing where the joint attaches to the back bone.  Pulling the wing away from the breast will make it easier to find the joint.

Remove the drumstick/thigh at the knuckle with the backbone.  Pull the thigh away from the breast and slide your knife into the joint.  This will give you the dark meat of the bird.  You can separate the drumstick from the thigh if you like.

Next thing I do is cut down alongside the breast bone removing the breast from the carcass. 

The rest is just recovering the little pieces still attached to the carcass.  If smoking I wouldn't worry about serving the back as a separate piece.

Good Luck

Hope this helps

Great advice here myself so absorb all the advice I can get. One thing I could offer would be to use the carcass bones for soup stock after. I've done turkeys in my funky ECB before and making stock for soup or a batch of Gumbo with those smoked bones is excellent and a real treat.

The easiest way to carve a chicken is to watch someone do it. Now since I can come over to your house right now I would recommend that you go to You-tube and just type in carving a chicken and boom there you have a boat load of videos on how to. Good luck and watch out the your finger tips.
What part of Iowa you from?

I would strongly recommend that you bring it to my house after you smoke it.

I could carve it for you for a taste or two.
Most of the time I don't necessarily cut it.  I will let it cool for 15-25 (so the juices don't just run out) minutes and then start pulling the meat off by hand it will almost look like pulled pork.  You can yield a lot more of the meat that way it seems to me.  Good luck, I'm doing chicken and ribs for Super Sunday.  
pull the leg quarters away from the body and lay on platter

pull the wings off of the body and lay on platter

pull the whole breast away from the ribs-backbone and lay on platter

repeat for next chicken

serve the platter to family/guests

if they don't eat at least a quarter each, it wasn't cooked right or wasn't seasoned right


the cook eats all the meat off the backbone (oysters and tenderloins - the best part) while "carving" (above)

Pulling by hand is another good way with smoked chicken - glad it turned out good for you is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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