Crispy Chicken Skin

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by psax88, Aug 25, 2015.

  1. psax88

    psax88 Fire Starter

    Hi Everyone, I'm putting out a call for help from the pros here. I've smoked several batches of wings/thighs over the past month or so, and every time I end up with a pretty rubbery skin. I do a buttermilk/salt brine for 2 hours, then season them and put them right into the smoker. I have an MES 30 smoker, and generally try to keep the temp around 300-310 when the meat is in there. I also use an AMNPS for my smoke. I generally cook the chicken to about 180 degrees before pulling it, and then i throw them in the broiler for about 2 mins on each side after. I've also tried saucing them before the broiler, and also after. Doing it after does help a LITTLE bit with the crispiness, but not enough I'm finding.

    Should I be keeping the smoker at a high temp? Is there any other methods out there that can help get a crispier skin on my chicken? Any info is much appreciated.
  2. tumbleweed1

    tumbleweed1 Smoking Fanatic

    I also have an MES30. I use some olive oil with the rub & let that sit for a couple of hours before brining. After brining, I reapply the rub. I had always heard the oil would help to crisp the skin, so that's what I do. I also use the broiler & it works pretty good.

  3. psax88

    psax88 Fire Starter

    Thanks for the reply TW...I actually forgot to mention that I brush EVOO before seasoning the wings as well. Question for you, how long do you put them in the broiler for?
  4. tumbleweed1

    tumbleweed1 Smoking Fanatic

    3-4 minutes each side.

  5. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    For me the MES does not get hot enough to crisp the skin. I would use the broiler as suggested.

    You could try to brine the day before and allow to sit in the fridge uncovered to allow the skin to dry out a little.

    But I think the smoker temp will be your biggest issue. The hotest I have been able to get our MES to is 265°. You really want over 300° to get a crisper skin.........
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Try getting the skin dry before smoke is added.... Place in the smoker at 120 ish with full draft to dry it out... maybe for 30-60 minutes..... then add smoke and heat...
  7. psax88

    psax88 Fire Starter

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone! Definitely going to try drying out the skin at a low temp in the smoker! The fridge idea sounds good too, but I'm afraid to get the "Fridge Taste" in the meat leaving it in there uncovered for so long.
  8. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You could also ( if you have a grill ), place them on it for 3-4min. . This is a good time to sauce them , the sugars will carmelize and harden too . . .

    Have fun and show us how you did ! ! ! :Coffee:

    Havefun and . . .
  9. psax88

    psax88 Fire Starter

    Ah, if only I did have a grill! I live in an apartment building with a balcony and they don't let us have grills. I'm surprised they let me have my smoker to be honest! Got lucky there I suppose.
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Does your oven have a broiler ?????
  11. psax88

    psax88 Fire Starter

    It does, Dave. I've broiled the chicken but with sub-par results. I think the problem is I haven't been broiling them long enough. I usually only do like 2 mins on each side because I was afraid to burn them or something. I think if I follow your advice on drying it out a bit and then also broil for more like 4 mins on each side I'll be good. I'll be sure to post the results of my next smoke!
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    An oven broiler is not near as hot as a propane BBQ... might take awhile to crisp it up.... my BBQ gets to 750... measured temp...
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2015
  13. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I've let my poultry sit in the fridge overnight and never had a problem with them smelling like the fridge. If you are short on time, using a hair dryer on low right before putting it in the smoker works good.

    Even with that though your MES isn't going to get the skin crisp. It will be better, but not crisp. As mentioned a broiler or hot grill is going to be your only savior.
  14. krex1010

    krex1010 Smoke Blower

    I find that you really need to be cooking at 325 or higher to get crispy skin, and for small cuts like that I cook them at 350-375. If your cooker won't hold that high of a temp then try injecting your brine instead of soaking the whole pieces. generally I don't brine dark meat unless I'm cooking whole or half birds, the dark meat has enough fat to not need brining.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015
  15. would I grill the chicken first to get the crispy skin and then smoke in my MES?
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Smoke first then throw on the propane grill to crisp up the skin....
    mecker1 likes this.
  17. nickm62388

    nickm62388 Fire Starter

    I've read countless articles on crisping skin with a smoker and I know that's always a tough thing for anybody.i always see to fry it after wards real quick or throw it on grill to crisp it up. How long on grill does it need to be to crisp up and be good, and should it be right over the heat or non direct heat. I'm guessing put them over indirect heat for hi temp. Also by frying afterwards trying to get them crispy will it alter the flavor of the smoke taste or whatever other flavor there by going in deep fryer oil?
  18. krex1010

    krex1010 Smoke Blower

    Typical BBQ temps + wet brine= rubbery skin

    Skip the wet brine and do a dry brine or no brine, cook at temps 350 or higher and you're skin will be crisp.

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