skin on or off?

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Aug 25, 2009
Cross Plains, WI
For all the years I have spent smoking meat, I have done very little poultry. I plan on smoking 4 whole chickens tomorrow. I have them in a brine right now.and plan on taking the backbone out and laying them flat. Probably going to do a mix of apple and hickory. I figure I will cook them at 275. The only question I have is should I leave the skin on the breast and thighs or should I take it off? Actually, one other question. What is the view on cooking them similar to pork ribs? I.e., a few hours of smoke and then foil them?

I am cooking for a few other people, so any advice you can offer in advance is appreciated.

Here is what I would do. I would leave skin on. Pull birds from brine 8 hrs prior to cook and rinse really well. Then back in the fridge to air cool and dry. Mix up a little garlic butter and rub that under skin while smoker is heating up. Then coat with extra virgin olive oil and lite dust of a dry rub or just salt and pepper. Spatchcocked birds cook a little faster and the skin on will help retain moisture and juiciness. Skin at that temp won't be crispy if u want to crisp it up turn on oven to 350 and move them into it for a bit. I would not foil. Good luck and don't forget your qview.
You already Brined the bird but here are some recipes and cooking info...

Here is a Brine and Rub that is a Favorite with members of my Family. I like Apple and/or Hickory with Poultry. Measure the Temp in the thickest part of the Breast and Thigh, 165* and 175*F respectively. 275*F is fine 300-325°F will give one step crispy skin. In any event, if the skin is not Crisp enough, when the IT is 145*F in the Breast, put the Bird in a 425*F Oven to finish cooking to 165* and Crisp the Skin...JJ

Families Favorite Brine

1/2C Kosher Salt

2T Paprika

2T Gran. Garlic

2T Gran. Onion

2T Dry Thyme

2T Black Pepper

1C Vinegar (Any)

1-11/2Gal Cold Water to cover Chix

1/2C Brown Sugar, Optional

1T Red Pepper Flake Optional

Mix well and Soak the Bird over night or up to 24 Hours.

Remove the Chix, rinse if desired and pat dry with paper towels.

Place in an open container in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours for the Skin to dry.

This will give a crispier skin when Smokng or Roasting...

Bubba Chix Rub

1/2C Raw Sugar

2T Paprika (I use Smoked if I'm just Grilling)

1T Cayenne

1T Gran. Garlic

1T Gran. Onion

1tsp Black Pepper

1tsp Wht Pepper

1tsp Allspice

1tsp Bell's Poultry Seasoning or Thyme

Mix well. You can put directly on the skin or mix with Butter, Oil or Bacon Grease and rub on and under the Skin.

Reduce Cayenne to 1teaspoon if less heat is desired.

Good advise from my Cohorts.  Give your Guest the choice of Skin or not... adds flavor and can be discarded easy enough. Just my Honest Opinion.

Have fun and as always . . .
I took Elgins advice. Took the birds out of the brine last night and let them sit in the fridge overnight. Butter and garlic under the skin, olive oil, salt and pepper in top. Smoked with alder and apple for 3.5 hours at 300. Placed in the oven at 350 to crisp the skin. Family loved it. I have multiple requests for meat as Christmas gifts. Did all this for my youngest boys 2nd birthday. Night has come to an end and I am watching snl with a beer....kind of hammered right now :). I will post the qview in the morning....which will be my birthday(38)!.....crap.....guess it's better than not having them......
Well , Happy B-day and send the Q-view . . .

Have fun and . . .
I am a skin on guy.

It can always be removed by those...... "others"?

Meanwhile, it keeps the meat more moist.

Good luck and good smoking.
Last edited:
I know, I know, I am a bad person.  How can it take so long for someone to upload a photo.....I'm just lazy, there, I said it.  Better late then never.....

Sitting in the fridge overnight after the brine (one bird is still in the brine)

Split and ready for some garlic butter

Garlic butter, salt, and pepper added....

Into the smoker

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