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HELP! Chicken Leg Problems

bravery

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How can I tell when the chicken legs are done? I put a probe right into one of the chicken legs (not touching the bone) and I smoked away at around 280. I cooked it for around an hour or so.  When we started eating we found many of the chicken legs not cooked enough (bloody near the bone).  I tested the probe prior to smoking (boiling water = 212 and ice water 33) so I don't think it was the probe. I had two racks of chicken legs cooking... I put the probe in a leg on the lower rack. 

Someone on another thread made comments about how easy cooking chicken legs were and that he was surprised that someone would actually need probes to determine if the meat was actually cooked or not. Well, I screwed up cooking the chicken AND I was using a probe... imagine how stupid I feel.

Brad
 

Bearcarver

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"Help! Chicken leg problems"!!!!!

After reading that Title, I was going to tell you to see a Dr, until I read your post.

You didn't say what internal temp you were reading, and I forgot what smoker you use.

Bear
 

mballi3011

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Now your not stupid there Brad. It's the learning curve that we all seem to have learned over the years. I always take my chicken to at least 165° minimum. Now meats little chicken cook at their own pace so if you have a piece or two thats not done it just could be the chicken. I would recommand that you probe a few different pieces to get a good reading onhow the smoker full is doing. Not just one piece. Brad you could have called me if you needed help. Mark
 
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jirodriguez

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Hey don't beat yourself up, we have all had that one. I have taken to smoking chicken at about 250°, but I let it go for about 2.5-3 hrs., then I use a good dial therm and check each piece of chicken. I look for them to be at 175-180° internal, they are nice and tender.
 

meateater

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I like to smoke them until the meat starts pulling away from the bone and there usually around 170* when I probe them.
 

travcoman45

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Don't know what yer experience with poultry is, but, if yer probe said it was done, it should be, I usually check the larger pieces an if there done the little ones be to.

A question comes ta mind here, was this blood er a red colorin round the bones an joints?  Poultry after bein froze will have this red color an can stay there even when the meats er done.  Some folks misinterperate this fer the meat bein undone.
 

bravery

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Hey guys... I was using a Master Forge vertical smoker and a Maverick ET-73 Thermometer with the meat probe stuck in the biggest leg. The smoker was heated up to around 280 for around an hour.  I really didn't think I needed to time it because I was using a probe. I cooked the meat till it was 168.

The meat was bloody...not just red. Chicken blood on the plate is a real appetite killer. I've eaten stuffed fish stomachs, ox intestines, pig brains, bone marrow, duck feet, chicken feet, sea slugs, blood pudding, and maybe even a dog or two, and enjoyed it all... except the sea slugs (sea cucumbers ... tasted like boiled rubber). Chicken blood is just foul!!! (or should I say "fowl"?)

I cooked it around 280 because I wanted to avoid the rubber skin effect.

I really thank you for all the comments... and thanks for allowing me to give you a call Mark.

Brad
 
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cole

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Now I am not the most advanced smoker here, but when you placed the chicken on two racks, did you just about cover the entire rack?  That can shield the upper rack from the heat.  Also, I would not just rely on a one leg sample,even if it is the biggest leg if it was closer to the heating element.  I know the individual pieces of meat might not look like muck, but added up, I would think that it would take significantly more than one hour (possibly 3-4) for 4 or 5 pounds of chicken.  In other posts with country ribs etc., where the individual portion of meat is small compared to the whole, they even advocate longer cooking times.

Just some thoughts, best of luck and I hope no one got sick.   
 

jirodriguez

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Even at higher temps. most smoking is done below what you normally have in an oven. So definately plan on it taking longer, for chicken I usually go a minimum of 2 hrs. (varies with outside weather), but usually plan on 3 hrs. as a rough average. That is with my smoker running about 250-275°, then I use a quick read dial therm and check each piece before I pull it off, some might still need another 30 minutes or so.
 

jason1234

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Chicken legs especially can be tough to check with a probe. If my wife cuts chicken and sees any redness that didn't come from cherry smoke, she won't eat it, so I have to cook mine a little extra, but I am starting to think a meat probe might not be the best way to check a separated chicken leg
 

Inscrutable

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Though ‘safe‘ at 165, I like to take probed legs & thighs to 175-180 .... prefer the texture, and gets past the variation between specific pieces.
 

Fishonshawn

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Don't know if you checked them all or not but they will all cook differently depending on size and placement in the smoker. I check every single leg when I'm cooking them with an insta-read thermometer.

but.... even checking them all, every now and then I do have one where blood leaks out. I don't know why this happens and as unappealing as it is I know I cooked it all the way through and I've never gotten sick from it. My wife won't touch it though. She has a thing about eating meat off a bone for this very reason. Any blood or the dark stuff you get near the bone just turns her off it instantly.
 

Inscrutable

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Just FYI, that is not blood ... chickens are drained before processing. That is a protein myoglobin mixed with water seeping out of the flesh.
 

SmokingUPnorth

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I usually overcook my bone in chicken to 175-180* or so. Legs and thighs with the bone in are still pretty moist at that temp so I don’t really pay too much attention to temp. It’s just my preference to avoid undercooking them and get good skin
 

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