First time doing beer can chicken in the smoker - hoping for some tips/advice

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by zamboni, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. Hi all,

    Hoping you can give me some tips here.  I smoked a beer can chicken in my Camp Chef Smoke Vault tonight for the first time.  I was going off a recipe from a book called "Smoke and Spice" (does anyone use this book? any good?), and I followed all instructions.  It told me to smoke my chicken at 200-220 degrees for 3.5 to 4 hours.  I put it in at 2pm figuring I'd need to go longer than that... but the thermo still didn't read 165 in the chicken at 8pm (and the book recommended 180-185 degrees).  We took it off at that point and ate it anyway, but wow, 6 + hours???  Anyway, the flavor was WONDERFUL, but the chicken was a little tough.  Is there a way to make it tender/falling off the bone, and not have it take so darn long?

    This is only my third time using the smoker - we did baby backs the first time, and then pork spareribs and country ribs the second time.  I always seem to have to go longer than any recipes tell me to.

    Any tips or advice is greatly appreciated. Yay for smoking!!!
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    [​IMG]   Glad to have you with us!

    Are you using the factory temp gauge for your smoker temp, and what kind of therm are you using for the meat temp? Did you check them for accuracy in boiling water. It sounds to me like the chicken was overcooked. You need to have at least 2 digital temp gauges, one for the meat & one for the chamber temp. Or you can get a dual probe therm like a Maverick 732.
  3. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would also have raised you cooking temps up more in the 240 to 250º range. Chicken does not really benefit from the low and slow. And unless you can live with rubbery skin, you have to get more in the 300º cooking range for the skin to crisp up good.
  4. biaviian

    biaviian Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Yeah, raise your temps.  Also, in my opinion, 180 is too high for chicken. I pull at 167 and most of the time it is almost too moist (if that is possible).  The longest I've ever had to smoke a chicken has been 3 hours but usually it is close to 2.5-2.75.  I keep the temps at 260-300 when doing chicken, unless I'm doing another meat too.
  5. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    First off as mentioned by Al, check your equipment first

    Ditto on the temps, Flash and Biaviian

    As far as what Biaviian pointed out is can it be too moist, yes for my family it can bee too moist, often referred to as slimy, usually the meat other than the breast will get this complaint.

    And pulling at 167 is ok and I pull my Turkey's at 160° but now I overcook Chix, family doesn't like slimy, they want it cooked to death, just like the Rotisserie Chix like the kind you get in Sams and food stores.

    My last 4 Chix were all cooked at 275° for over 2 hours and while the breast meat was awesome the family did not care much for the other meat, oh the Drumsticks were good also.

    A few things I have learned about beer can chicken
    • Temps I use 250 - 275 (start out at 325 and work down from there)
    • Aromatic Herbs will impart a good amount of flavor when placed in the can.
    • Don't use the Liver,  Heart, gizzards in the can only use the neck
    • Season the liquid that is in the can like you would a gravy so it can be used to make your gravy. Light beer or apple juice works better than a dark beer if a gravy is to be made.
    • if wings get dark Cover the wings with foil.
    • Foil the breast if you plan on taking it past internal 165°
    • Foil and towel the bird and rest for half an hour before carving.
    My entire family hates Slimy or Gummy Chicken, in order to prevent this, I now overcook the chicken.

    I never had a dry beer can chicken, even being way overcooked.

    I have a bunch of recipes and tips, you can PM me for a link if interested.

    Happy Smoking.
  6. realtorterry

    realtorterry Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    and don't forget the qview!
  7. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Looks like they got you covered. 

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