Eager rookie

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Original poster
Feb 21, 2017
Morning all. I'm dan and I had my first smoke last night. I tried chicken thighs because I only had a few hours and they turned out pretty dry. I think I used too much smoke and not enough heat (the meat was only at 55'celsius after 3 hours)I have a million questions, but I'll just throw up the important ones. I'm using a very basic vertical smoke (about $75).
1- do you Smoke with the door and vents open?
2- should I be adding more wood within 3 hours of letting it burn down a little and settle
3- should I put oil or anything on the meat?
4- whats the best way to insulate the smoker? I have some household bricks laying around...
Cheers, hope this isn't too much for a first post!
  Hi Danny, Where are you from? Canada? What was your outside temp? As Al said your chicken thighs should be min 175. Yours were 55C which is about 130 F not cooked enough. What type of smoker do you have? I would say without knowing you leave the top vent open not your door, You need a good Thermometer / meat probe, Also a probe for the cabinet for its temp. If it is cold outside and your temps are not high enough you could look at insulating smoker. Don't oil your chicken before putting it on the smoke will not stick to it well, You can marinade or brine but that is another topic. I like to smoke my chicken 300-325 and getting crispy skin on a chicken is another thing as well. Definitely check the thread Al posted, And browse the forums as well, Don't get discouraged, just do a little searching, ask some questions, pick your next project and try it again, Smoking is a fun hobby even addiction, Once you get it going you will happy and proud of your meals. Charlie
Hi @DannyN, as SmokinAl asked, need to know what kind of smoker you have. Here are a couple other tips:
* If you're trying low and slow, don't start with chicken. It's too lean, and finicky to get right. Start with ribs, get some nice fatty spareribs. These are more forgiving, and if you wrap with foil after they've been smoking for about 3 hours, it's pretty easy if you can keep your oven temp between 225 F and 300 F (so you have a pretty wide range). Depending on your oven temp, can you can done in 4-8 hours.

* If you're set on doing chicken, go with a higher temperature for a much shorter period of time. 350-400 F will get you a nice crispy skin (spray skin with oil before cooking and just add your favorite rub). Stick with bone-in, skin on thighs. They'll be done in about 30 mins or less. Once you have this method down, you can go low and slow in the future. Note though, low and slow smoked chicken has a very different flavor, some love it, but for chicken, many prefer the hotter faster method I describe here to the strong smoked chicken flavor. Also, if you go low and slow, it's easier to smoke whole or half chickens (bigger pieces are easier to keep moist).

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