Spatchy Chicken = Not Impressed

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by jcollins, Jul 20, 2015.

  1. So i tried to cut the spine out of about a 4# chicken... It turned out a tad dry but had great flavor.... Not too sure i will be spatchcocking any more chickens (unless i have to) 

    i used a pretty basic rub 

    1TBS Brown sugar

    1TBS Paprika 

    .5TBS Chili powder

    & SPOG .5TBS of each 

    Pretty tasty combo (my wife cant do ANY spicy)  

    Thanks for looking.

    EDIT: it smoked around 270 to 300 for about 4 hours (another reason i didnt care too much for spatchcocking, although i may have done something wrong....)
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015
  2. link

    link Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Did you Brine it? This will help with it turning out dry. I have done this a few times just like you described but I did brine it overnight first, They have always come out very moist.

    Just a thought.
  3. bkleinsmid

    bkleinsmid Smoking Fanatic

    I would go with a brine also.........and I'm thinking 4 hours is a bit to long at 300*

    What was the IT when you pulled it?

  4. I have thought about brine but just never done it (never thought it was necessary when i did the whole chicken or beer butt chicken)
    i thought the same thing...... i kept checking the IT with my digital thermo and pulled when it got to 165 in the breast..... i think i need to throw that POS out and get me a Thermopen and also im not 100% my thermo that was in the smoker was reading right either...
  5. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I noticed a couple things. 1. If your chamber temp was correct, your chicken was toast after that much time. At 300° a spatchcocked bird should be at temp in a little over two hours tops.
    Which brings me to my second point. The magic in this type of butchering a chicken is that it lays flat on the grate and cooks evenly. A BIG part of that is the removal of the keel bone, allowing the two lobes of the breast to lay flat. Removal of the backbone alone is only half the process, as the breast will still be elevated. If for some reason you don't want to remove the keel bone, at least put the bird cut side down and press on the center of the breast until the sternum and wishbone break and it lays flat. Imagine doing CPR on a chicken if you can't picture what I'm talking about.
    Lastly, do get good reliable thermometers. Nothing, not even culinary classes, made as big a difference in the quality of my cooking as getting and learning to use thermometers. I use an instant read and a remote probe. I'm not exaggerating, they changed my life in the kitchen.
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Sorry, but at that temp, a 4Lb bird is done in about 2 maybe 3 hours tops. Your therm is off, either that measuring the smoker temp, the meat, or both. Here is a popular Brine around here. Not overly salty and hasn't failed in 25 years...JJ

    Juicy Smoke-tastic Chicken and Turkey

    Here is a Brine and Rub that is a Favorite with members of my Family. I like Apple and/or Hickory with Chicken or Turkey. We determine doneness by measuring the Internal Temp (IT) in the thickest part of the Breast and Thigh, 165* and 175*F respectively. For a One Step Smoke with Crispy Skin the birds have to be smoked at a temp of 300-325°F. You can figure about 20-30 minutes per pound to reach the desired IT.

    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 Chili Powder

    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 the Chili Powder to 1 teaspoon if less heat is desired. Add 1T Kosher Salt if the bird is not Brined.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yeah 4 hours is way too long for a spatched bird. You really should be cooking to temp. A properly spatched bird will cook more evenly than any other way. I run my mini around 350°-400° and my spatched birds are always super moist and tender. I cook to temp not time, pulling the bird when the breast hits an IT of 165°. I then tent the bird with foil and let it rest for 30-45 minutes prior to cutting it up.

    None of these birds were brine, all of them were spatched. Here's some reading for you to help with your sketchy spatchy situation.

    Check out the chicken section in my mega link. You can see all of my spatched cooks.
  8. Oops i knew i was forgetting to do something... make it lay flat... as far as thermos i have a digital probe thermos they are both Weber style (see below) i was looking into getting one of the Mav ET 733s  just never got around to it, it worked my last smoke as well so....

    and thanks Chef JJ for the recipes 
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Before you toss the Therms, give them a stir in boiling water. You should get 212°F +/- 1. Anything else and you have a problem. Enjoy the recipes and note the cook times are for Whole Birds. Spatchy's take half that time...JJ
  10. millerbuilds

    millerbuilds Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I agree on everything posted above.  I spatchcock both chickens and turkeys and have never had them turn out dry.

    Based upon your pictures it appears you either did not remove the Keel bone or you have the chicken wedged up.  You want the bird to lie flat.  I recommend a brine a head of time.  Chicken does not require a full 24 hours, you can get by with 6-8 hours.  Your other option would be to inject the breasts with chicken stock and a bit of apple cider vinegar (you can add some other spices as well).

    Hint: I HIGHLY recommend keeping the back bone and neck.  Smoke those next to your bird (don't worry about drying them out).  Do this each time you make chicken or turkey (even the carcass from a whole bird).  Keep them in the freezer and once you have a nice pile, take and throw them in a stock pot or Nesco/slow cooker, cover with water so that you have at least 1" of coverage over everything.  Add a 1/3 cup of vinegar, a couple bay leaves and bring to a boil, once boiling, cut your temp to low simmer.  Let it go for 2 days or so.... filter out the bones and you have created one of the best stocks/bases you will ever have.  You can use it for making soup and pretty much any dish needing stock or broth.  For a real treat replace water with the stock when boiling pasta.  It will add a flavor profile to your pasta dishes that will knock your socks off.

    As for a brine, here is one of my favorites.

    1 Gallon Water

    1 Cup Kosher Salt

    1-1/2 Cups Dark Brown Sugar (or light brown sugar and 1/4 Cup Molasses) 

    2 TBS Ground Black Pepper

    1/2 TBS Thyme (dry)

    4 TBS Worcester Sauce

    2-3 TBS Pickapeppa Sauce

    Good Luck and Smoke ON!

    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015
  11. millerbuilds

    millerbuilds Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Here are pictures of a spatchcocked turkey breast I did yesterday  250 for about 3 hours.  IT was 265, I let it rest (wrapped) for 45 minutes before cutting.

    As you can see from the juice on the cutting board, it was not dry at all.  Hope you can work the kinks out.

    Good Luck and Smoke ON!

  12. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, if cooked properly there is no need to brine or inject poultry in order to get a moist juicy bird. If you'd like to alter the flavor or texture of the meat then go ahead and inject or brine or do both. And yes I do brine and inject poultry, but not to get a moist juicy bird.
  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Quote: "  Chicken does not require a full 24 hours, you can get by with 6-8 hours. "

    This is absolutely true, for Jason's Brine or any 1C Salt/Gal Water brine...But...It should be noted that Jason's delicious sounding Brine recipe ( I got to try it!) contains 2X the Salt that I use with the overnight to 24 Hour soak. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I once had Leg Quarters in my brine for 3 1/2 days before I could smoke them. The meat was not at all salty, nor did it get mushy, as can happen from spending too much time in a brine. No contradiction taken or intended, just pointing out the difference between the brines...JJ[​IMG]
  14. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It can all be solved very easily. Get a remote temperature sensing device. They are numerous enough and pretty inexpensive. I use a maverick, but like I said they are numerous.

    When the probe in the breast dings in at 165 pull the bird.

    It makes smoking easy, safe and delicious.
  15. Thanks for all of the replies, First off after further pondering i believe my smoke chamber temp was alot lower than i thought, i do not believe the temp probe i was using to monitor the smoker temp was meant for that sort of thing, therefore i will have to find a good one to monitor the temp in the smoker. Any suggestions on a good therm for ambient temp? 

    As far as the pulling temp it was pulled at an IT of 165 in the breast... the chicken was great it had great flavor all that was wrong was it was just a tad on the dry side, so i will definitely be trying a brine next time i smoke a yard bird as far as the spatchcocking i am going to have to work on finding the keel bone and getting that part out.

    Again everyone i greatly appreciate all of the information. 
  16. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    For a good digital therm get a Mav732 or 733 or the iGrill2. With whatever you get test all that you use prior to using.

    For spatching watch this video. You really don't need to remove the keel bone. With the birds cavity facing down, pressing with your palm between the breasts will crack it and the bird will lay flat.

  17. [​IMG]  I have two sets of kitchen shears and didnt think once to use them.... that would have mad things A LOT easier and i will give spatchy yard bird another go and thanks DS for the vid as far as thermos i am thinking the ET-733 they are only 70 where as the IGrill2 is 100 and i have read the IGrills dont work the best on an Android

    BUT i have another ? so say i buy a bird and wanna brine it should i brine it whole or spatch it before i brine? Thoughts?

    Thanks again for the info.
  18. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    4 hours....WTF???     Don't blame the spatchcock, blame your over cooking it. Here's a bird i did the other day, 400* for 1 hour and done. 

    Not that there is anything wrong with brining but I never do, I cook my birds hot and fast 350-500 plus degrees and they are flooding in juice..every time.    BTW flipping the bird skin side down is great to do part way through the spatch cook for better tasting skin.   Not a fan of blocking the coals with a pan either, you should consider taking out your pan for it. 
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2015
  19. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Whole, Spatched or Pieces, don't matter, the Brine will work tenderizing and seasoning the bird. Many commercially produced Chickens and most Turkeys are " Enhanced " aka already injected with a Brine from the packer. These birds can go directly to the smoker or be brined first to get your choice of flavor in the meat...JJ
  20. millerbuilds

    millerbuilds Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member


    You are correct, thanks for pointing that out. I sort of skipped over that part....I would never go for more that 12-14 hours in a Med-heavy brine. The Pickapeppa sauce it the ticket to the brine. I have been known to dump in part of a bottle of wine as well!  Thanks for the catch!

    Smoke ON!


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