need help smoking some chicken drumsticks

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Original poster
Nov 6, 2016
Hey guys, im new to this forum and ive came here for some smoking knowledge.  I am a pretty sufficient griller and ive recently tried my hand at smoking.  I acquired a bullet barrell type charcoal smoker from a friend and i bought myself 10lbs of chicken drumsticks to trial and error on my smoker.  I was told to use a fruit type of wood  when smoking poultry, so pick up from applewood chips and soaked them in water.  I cooked 8 drumsticks for 2 1/2 hours at 250 to 275.  The finished product didnt turn out the best.  The chicken was fully cooked but the skin was rubbery, had absolutely no crunch to it and the flavor was very bitter and just had a overall bad taste. I dont know if i put too many apple chips in or maybe the applechips taste bad in general. Can someone give me some type of direction? 
First of all there is no need to soak the chips in water.

Second, you need to get the smoker up to around 325 to get crispy skin.

Or you can finish cooking them on a hot grill for a couple of minutes on each side.

More than likely the bitter taste came from too much white smoke, it causes creosote & that's where the bitter taste comes from. You should be seeing very light smoke coming out the stack, and make sure the exhaust vent is open all the way.

Hope this helps,

Yeah, what those two said. I would also add as far as what type of wood to use is more personal taste. Sometimes I use fruit wood but normally use hickory. I usually smoke mine around 250 and then move it to some higher heat for the end.
Awesome, it's all making sense, I think I'll cook them low and then turn higher at end to gets crispy skin, is the thick white smoke that made the chicken bitter from getting the wood chips wet? Is it possible to put too much wood in and over smoke the meat?
Yes. Billowing white smoke isn't a good thing, and wet wood is typically the culprit. Try what Al suggested: run it at 325, and you should have better outcome. As far as too much smoke, I don't think that can happen--what about someone who only burns sticks for fuel? 100% smoke, and it's awesome. My $0.02 is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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