The Acceptable Chicken Skin Quest - MES Chicken Smoking

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tallbm

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I believe one person mentioned that they reset their pid so it was back to the out of the box default settings with better luck and didn't autotune. Proportional=past values, integral=current values and derivitive=future anticipated values yet to come based on the p and i. I don't know how long it takes for the d values to learn and minimize cycles. Strange that the circuit doesn't stay closed to reach your desired temp. Someone with a pid could be more helpful on how quickly the process takes.
-Kurt
I think a few more cooks/smokes will iron out any user error and kinks with the system.  Worst case scenario I would just run autotune each time to get it up to temp.  Autotune doesn't seem to have a problem lol.
 

dr k

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I like the pid threads because with my mailbox mod and high heat quick disconnect flag lugs I did before my mes gen 1 40" turned 1 years old, it appears inevitable that something else will fail. I'm considering flipping my heating element so it's in the middle of the smoker laying on the rails. It already is from the factory but in the corner like all the rest. I guess it was too expensive to make the chip loader longer and the tube it slides into to get it to the middle of the smoker. Let us know how the pid learns over the next smokes. I may build one from the great threads we have here on SMF.
-Kurt
 

tallbm

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I like the pid threads because with my mailbox mod and high heat quick disconnect flag lugs I did before my mes gen 1 40" turned 1 years old, it appears inevitable that something else will fail. I'm considering flipping my heating element so it's in the middle of the smoker laying on the rails. It already is from the factory but in the corner like all the rest. I guess it was too expensive to make the chip loader longer and the tube it slides into to get it to the middle of the smoker. Let us know how the pid learns over the next smokes. I may build one from the great threads we have here on SMF.
-Kurt
Well I put another smoke under my belt using the PID.  It went well.  My lesson learned was to make sure the small PID probe is unobstructed.  It is much smaller than the Maverick probe and can get lost behind a piece of meat thereby making it difficult to read temps.

Now I think I'm going to play around with a 325F smoke or two on chicken quarters to see if that does the trick for the chicken skin. I will also know how well this smoker holds up at this temp.  I'm not worried about the metal I'm more worried about the insulation and wire coating.  I will watch it very closely because I'm pushing the limits a little.  I think I'll cook at 275F and then try to finish the last hour at 325F and see if that improves anything. 

With as little as I spent on this Gen 2 smoker ($40) I think it's worth giving a 325F cook a shot.  I'll be watching like a hawk :)

If no luck then I will switch back to the plan of smoker to oven to try and get acceptable skin.
 

tallbm

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I believe one person mentioned that they reset their pid so it was back to the out of the box default settings with better luck and didn't autotune. Proportional=past values, integral=current values and derivitive=future anticipated values yet to come based on the p and i. I don't know how long it takes for the d values to learn and minimize cycles. Strange that the circuit doesn't stay closed to reach your desired temp. Someone with a pid could be more helpful on how quickly the process takes.
-Kurt
Thanks for the input Kurt.  I've since done another smoke.  The issue was user error on my part.  I placed the PID probe in a spot where it was kind of hidden/blocked off by a chicken quarter.  The PID prob is much smaller than the Maverick hybrid probes.  The PID Probe needs unobstructed exposure to the air and temp and all is good.  

I'm going to play around with some 325F smokes and watch the smoker like a hawk.  I'm thinking smoke at 275F then try 325F for the last hour and then go from there to see if any progress is made.  If none is made then I will return to the oven finish ideas :)
 

tallbm

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Well good news and bad news.

Last night I smoked 5 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast and I did a whole chicken.

I also used a vertical poultry roaster rack (think beer can chicken rack) for the whole chicken.

I decided to try with the PID set to 325F.

The whole chicken had 100% completely acceptable and edible chicken skin with no issue!!!!

BUT, I goofed up with putting my PID smoker probe in a spot where it wasn't reading temperature correctly.  It was being blocked by the foil pan the while chicken and roaster were sitting in.  Anyhow the maverick was reading fine on the rack with the chicken breast (above the whole chicken).  The maverick had a tmep of 280+ the whole time.  This is the bad part.

So in all I achieved acceptable and edible skin.  It was not crispy but was soft like oven roasted skin and completely fine.=

I need to be able to fix my issues and try again to get a repeatable setup going.

Also my new 350F rollout limit/snap disk switch tripped.  It is a manual reset so I reset it.  I thought the switch tripped was because heat was trapped between the two racks I was using BUT today I was smoking some chicken quarters to try and repeat success and the switched it flipped twice.  After the 2nd flip I reset the switch, turned the power back on and watched what was going on.  I saw some light generate from the connector to the switch! 

I turned the power off again and looked closely at the connector.  It is not looking so great and needs to be replaced.  I wont know why it is "shorting" (for lack of a better term) but I will find out when things cool off and I pull the ware and connector.  My guess is the clamp from the wire to the connector is loose or the connector is loose on the roll out switch. I will be getting to the bottom of this and will correct it so there are no safety issues. 

It's good the safety mechanisms are doing their job!  Now I just need to go fix the issue and this time when everything is done I plan to turn it on and look at the connections to ensure the problem is resolved  

So as I said, Good: acceptable chicken skin,  Bad: need to repeat and having some equipment issues to fix before I attempt again.

I hope this info is helpful for everyone to use and learn from :)
 

zwiller

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Did some drums over the weekend and extremely happy with my results. While I still grill them I am confident you could eat them out of the smoker. Day before smoke, dry with paper towels and apply dry rub and place on a rack in fridge overnight UNCOVERED. I don’t go crazy with the paper towels but I do make an effort to ensure they are dry. Skin will be tacky next day. Day of smoke, fan form a pellicle until near dry to touch. 30m to hour. Smoke until desired IT. Mine took forever (5hours) so pulled them 165F+ but was aiming for 180-200F. They looked great and skin was nice and dry and firm. Sorry no pics was rushing to get to an event.

I rest after smoking in fridge covered overnight and grill on med to high heat next day or so. Place a few in large bowl and dust with a little more rub toss and serve. I am pretty much doing this to all smokes and could not be happier. Breaking the process up over 3 days works really well for me. Used Todd’s Pitmaster Choice and it was just phenomenal for bird. Easily the best chicken of my life last night from $.79/lb drums.
 

tallbm

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Did some drums over the weekend and extremely happy with my results. While I still grill them I am confident you could eat them out of the smoker. Day before smoke, dry with paper towels and apply dry rub and place on a rack in fridge overnight UNCOVERED. I don’t go crazy with the paper towels but I do make an effort to ensure they are dry. Skin will be tacky next day. Day of smoke, fan form a pellicle until near dry to touch. 30m to hour. Smoke until desired IT. Mine took forever (5hours) so pulled them 165F+ but was aiming for 180-200F. They looked great and skin was nice and dry and firm. Sorry no pics was rushing to get to an event.

I rest after smoking in fridge covered overnight and grill on med to high heat next day or so. Place a few in large bowl and dust with a little more rub toss and serve. I am pretty much doing this to all smokes and could not be happier. Breaking the process up over 3 days works really well for me. Used Todd’s Pitmaster Choice and it was just phenomenal for bird. Easily the best chicken of my life last night from $.79/lb drums.

Thanks for the input!

I need to come back to this thread some.
I know I am having good success with 325F smokes to where I get edible chicken skin.
On stuff like chicken wings I smoked until the wings were about 75-80% done and then finished them on the grill and the skin was fine.
Using a vertical chicken/turkey rack and doing 325F helps as well for whole chickens and turkeys.

I never did get to far with my transfer to oven tests as they simple ones I did just didn't work out well but the propane grill has been fine.

I hope more people keep posting their tips and tricks here so we can get a good set of options to deal with this issue :)
 

zwiller

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Forgot to post the most important info! I smoked these at 225F AKA "rubber chicken skin temps". I planned to test the skin but ran out of time and was scrambling. Gonna run them at 275F next time to speed things up. An alternative to the fridge/fan things is run the smoker low around 130F for a few hours to dry them and form pellicle. Since I will definitely be making these again I will try and post pics/test skin off the smoker etc. That said, the char and sear of the grilling really make them pop, much like ribs. Maybe you get some of that at 325F?
 

tallbm

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It depends at 325F. Sometimes I get some crispy or near crispy, sometimes it is just moist tender bite through.
So I don't have consistent results other than being consistently edible :)
 

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