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Smoking Hens

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by brud, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. brud

    brud Meat Mopper

    Any of you guys have good experinces smoking hens?

    If so please explain a good procedure.

    I think hens have great flavor but tend to way TUFF. Is there a cure for that?
  2. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Good for jewish pennicillan (chicken soup). Good for gumbo . But not good for smokin.

    Just can't get em tender.
  3. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Have you tried brining them in salt/sugar water? They might be a good candidate for my brine-debrine method. I brine for several hours, then soak in water a couple more hours. Makes big ole breasts really tender and juicy. Not sure if it will work with the hens though.
  4. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Squirrel may be right, I personally have not brined a hen, but I have tried smokin one! And that thing was so tough you couldn't break the leg off, even after smokin 10 hrs. Brining may be the way to go!
  5. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Sorry ive tried brining and all you end up w/ is a moist tough bird.
  6. teewinot

    teewinot Newbie

    Easter, I smoked a large regular chicken and a slightly larger hen side by side on my GOSM gas smoker. I did not brine as I was doing the Beer Butt method and figured they would be juicy enough. I bought the hen thinking it was slightly larger than the chicken and it would help feed the large number of folks I had over.  I brought both birds to 180 degrees in the thigh meat, pulled them off, let them rest, and prepared to serve.  The hen was so tough, my electric knife had a hard time getting through the breast. The chicken was wonderful. I pitched the hen.  My brother in law said that hens are older and that makes a difference in the way they smoke or grill. Fortunately I also smoked a spiral precooked ham and that is a disappointment I will discuss in a different thread. Lesson here is, hens are not a good item for the smoker.  
  7. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I guess I need to get out more. I always thought chicken was chicken. Are the packages labeled "Hen" and the rest just chicken or something. I guess I need to pay more attention when I pick out birds in the future.
  8. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I'm with you Ross. I guess I'm a city boy, but if a hen is tough, then am I eating a rooster when I get a chicken at the store?
  9. Frank Costanza: Let me understand, you got the hen, the chicken and the rooster. The rooster goes with the chicken. So, who's having sex with the hen?
    George Costanza: Why don't we talk about it another time.
    Frank Costanza: But you see my point here? You only hear of a hen, a rooster and a chicken. Something's missing!
    Mrs. Ross: Something's missing all right.
    Mr. Ross: They're all chickens. The rooster has sex with all of them.
    Frank Costanza: That's perverse.
  10. teewinot

    teewinot Newbie

    A roasting hen is older and larger than a fryer which are usually held to around 4-5 weeks in age. If you are frying chicken or smoking it as I learned, you want to limit yourself to the fryers. They are labeled different in the packaging with fryers being called Young Chicken or Young Fryer and Roasters are often referred to as Hens or Roasting Hen or Roasting Chicken.  The fryers are hens too, but much more tender because they are younger.