How to hot smoke chicken

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by johnny1, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. johnny1

    johnny1 Fire Starter

    I finally got my gas smoker at bass pro....Now I am looking for some pointers on smoking my first chicken.I understand that there is hot and cold smoking methods..If I understand it correctly,the hot smoke method fully cooks the meat? Still not to clear on this..So could one of you please help me get started in the right way,I don't want anyone to get poisoned ..What temp do I start out at and for how long.
    How do you tell if the chicken is cooked through or not....Thanks..
  2. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Get a thermometer, a digital, preferably, bury it in the breast of a chicken prepared 'your way"in a smoker at around 275°. Watch for 170. remove rest and carve.
  3. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Oh, and keep reading, I don't feel like typing any more tonight! Merry Christmas and good night.
  4. johnny1

    johnny1 Fire Starter

    Rich,,,,Man fast reply dude[​IMG] Forgot to ask-Does one need to soak in any type of brine ahead of time[​IMG]

    This therometer you mention does it stay in the chick while in the smoker[​IMG]
  5. smokeys my pet

    smokeys my pet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Brining is up to you and it will keep the bird very moist. I have done it unbrined and had wonderful results. As for the thermo, yes leave it in the whole time to watch temp. I prefer the maverick et-73. It has dual probes one for meat and one for smoker temp. Good Luck!!!!!
  6. homebrew & bbq

    homebrew & bbq Smoking Fanatic

    Brining is not necessary but a lot of the folks around here do it. It's supposed to make the meat more moist. Another option is to inject the meat with a mixture of butter and chicken stock with some seasonings in it. A lot of the "commercial" birds have already been injected so check the label.

    Get a digital thermometer with a probe that can stay in the meat while the main body with the read-outs sits outside the smoker.

    Hope this helps.
  7. crewdawg52

    crewdawg52 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Johnny, I like to brine all my yardbirds a minimum of 4 hrs. I use 1 gal water, 1/3 cup each kosher salt and brown sugar, and some applejuice. For whole chicken, I do it 1 of 2 ways. Legs X and tied together w/ wings tucked under (stuff the insides with some apple and orange) or "spatchcocked", the backbone removed and layed out flat, breast up. Season as you want, and smoke. Go by temp (165* in the breast), not time. A whole bird will take from 2.5-3 hrs @ 222*-250* ( the time is just for planning purposes. I dont eat the skin so I dont care if it's rubbery). If you want a crispy skin, smoke it at 300-325* until temp reads 165* in the breast.

    Hope this helps and good luck!
    pittocarrillo likes this.
  8. hawgheaven

    hawgheaven Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    All good advice here! Here's another option... beer butt chicken. They sell racks that hold the beer can and you slip the chicken - butt first - over the can. Some folks use Dr Pepper, ginger ale, Coke, etc... just make sure you "empty" about half the liquid before commencing to cook. Fire the smoker up to around 300º and have at it. The bird should get to 165º to 170º.

    It is really good!
  9. I've done both brined and unbrined.... I will be brining every bird from here on. The only exception being any chicken I cook on the grill.

    I hope you are planning to do more than one chicken... If you're going to fire the smoker and take the time to brine a bird and tend to everything, then you just as well make a plenty to share with friends and neighbors. When I fire the smoker I smoke a lot of stuff if I can. I look at it like running the washing machine with only one sock in it, doesn't make any sense.... So I load it up!!

    And I agree with Hawg.... "Beer Can Chicken" is another great way to keep it moist especially if one decides to smoke a few birds on a whim....
  10. johnny1

    johnny1 Fire Starter

    Thanks for all your replies...I suppose It would be a better idea to maybe smoke 2 birds instead of one..I also like the idea of the beer can up the butt...Just one other ?? Can't I check the temp. of the bird after it has cooked for an hour or two??
    So the meat is all done when it reachs the correct temps?
  11. crewdawg52

    crewdawg52 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You can check the temp at any time, but there is no reason to before at least 2 1/4 hrs if smoking at 225*-250*. I've never smoked one at a higher temp, so I would guess if smoking at 300*-325*, I would check it at 1 3/4 hrs. You can look it up in any cookbook. Instead of a regular oven, you're just using a smoker.

    I forgot to say, this goes for a 3.5-4.5 lb bird.

    If you need a good, inexpensive probe thermometer, I suggest an Acu-Rite. About $15 at most grocery, bbq, or kitchen supply stores.
  12. squeezy

    squeezy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sure you can, it's just better to use the remotes so as to not have to open the smoker too often.
    BTW ... beer butt is my favorite for chicken ... very moist, ready sooner and crispier skin!
    When the thickest part of the thigh is 165º to 170º is ready regardless of time.
  13. big-fokker

    big-fokker Meat Mopper

    I've smoked a few birds since I've been around and I've brined each one. That being said, each one that I have smoked has been the juiciest bird I've eaten...I would recommend brining!
    Now with that being said, I just may have to do one this weekend that I haven't brined just to see if I can tell a difference.

    Temps; Alot of folks here recommend smoking the bird at about 325° - 350° but I do mine lower because my wood catches fire when I get the temp up that high. I do mine around the temps that Richtee said 275°.

    Thermometers; Be sure to pick up a good therm before you do that bird. I know Target has the inexpensive Taylor Digital model. I have two of those and recently bought a Maverick ET-73 that is one unit with 2 probes like mentioned above.
    Prepare your chicken (brine, inject, rub etc.), get your smoker up to temp, place the therm in the breast and then throw the bird in the smoker and watch the temp. I smoke my chix till they hit 165°, then pull them out, remove thermometer, put in a foil pan & cover tightly w/foil, then put them in either an unheated oven or a cooler with a tight fitting lid and let them rest for about an hour or hour & a half.
    Here's what they look like when done:

    What ever you do, make sure you have fun with it!
    pittocarrillo likes this.
  14. johnny1

    johnny1 Fire Starter

    B F---Look mighty tasty if I do say so...Thanks for sharing your thougths on the subject..Would you mind telling me how you do the brining though.
    My biggest concern is somebody getting sick on bad birds...If you get my drift?Thanks again B F .[​IMG]
  15. smokyokie

    smokyokie Smoking Fanatic

    Looking @ the Fokker's birds brings to mind my favorite way to do chix, split birds. Spatchcocking (butterflying) is maybe a bit better, but more work.

    Split birds present better (which would you rather have on your plate, what you saw in his pix, or a sliced up, broken skin bird?), they also take up smoke quicker and better. Whichever you do, if you like a good crisp skin, you'll either want to stay @ or above 275* or crank it up to about 375 for the last 30 minutes or so.

    Hat's off to the Fokker IMHO, those birds are what smoked yardbird is supposed to be. Good job man!
  16. big-fokker

    big-fokker Meat Mopper


    I brine using a basic recipe found here that consists of:

    1 Gallon water
    1 Cup Kosher Salt
    1.5 Cups Sugar
    Then I add small amounts of whatever spices I'm feeling, sometimes rosemary or thyme, or cajun spice or other stuff. Careful with adding a salty spice to the brine because it may make the whole mixture too salty.
    Check here
    and here for brine recipe ideas.

    Clean your bird(s), prepare the brine using room temp water so the spices will dissolve easier and put the bird in that brine IN THE FRIDGE overnight. I use one of those big black stock pots like grand ma used to cook her stew in. You can find them at Wal-Mart pretty cheap. Some folks here have a dedicated brining cooler that they use. Put all the stuff in the cooler and put some bags of ice in there to keep it cool. I think it's easier in a fridge, plus I have a second one out in the garage that houses my keg beer so I just use that one.

    If you click those links above, they'll tell you the whole process a little better.

    I usually pull my birds out of the brine about an hour before I'm ready to cook, and I rinse them. Once they are done rinsing, I pat dry, rub them with some olive oil and then sprinkle some seasoning. Insert a probe in the breast and smoke away.

    I prefer to do my birds in halves, mainly for the reason that SmokieOkie said...Presentation!

    I thank you for the kind words! I'm intent on trying your brisket method, but my gas grill doesn't have enough b*lls to give me a big enough flame to sear. Maybe I'll go next door and use the neighbor's grill for the searing portion[​IMG] .

  17. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey BF...just dig a li'l hole in the ground, add a couple bricks on the side and do a small oak fire, top with your grill from the gasser and "Great gouts of blazing beefat" or something like that!
  18. smokyokie

    smokyokie Smoking Fanatic

    A hole in the ground for fire is something that every outdoor cook should have anyway BF.
    RT's post works. You might want to build a fire on the side and then shovel coals as you need them though Argintine or Italian style). Coals work bettere than plain fire
  19. johnny1

    johnny1 Fire Starter

    Ok I have the smoker all together now..Darn near froze my butt off out there..It says I have to season it befor use..I will do this in the morning and if all goes well,put my 2 birds in there in the afternoon..I am going to try the beer thing first..So is this all I will need to smoke these 2?
  20. smoke

    smoke Newbie

    How do you keep the skin from become rubbery or chewey?

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