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Whole chicken internal breast temp?


Smoke Blower
Joined Jun 6, 2013
I've done the ideal 160-165 internal breast temp and I don't like it. It's almost like the breast meat isn't cooked long enough and a little rubbery.

The first whole chicken I did on the grill (spatchcock style/butter fly) I waited for an IT of 165. Took it off and didn't like the texture of the breast meat....rubbery :-(

My ole lady did one in the oven and we took it out in an IT of about 175. Wayyyyyyy better! The meat was juicy, dark, tender & fell off the bone.

I don't know why people say internal of breat meat 160-165?

Does anybody else cook there whole chickens and try to shoot for a hotter breast IT?
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Smoke Blower
Thread starter
Joined Jun 6, 2013
I smoked a turkey in the past and waited for an IT of 165 breast. I didn't care for it too much.

I have been turned off by poultry ever since.

Please, make me a believer again!!!

Put it this way, I'm looking for that Boston Market and Publix fall off the bone tender and juicy. When they do the rotisserie what IT are they at?


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Apr 22, 2011
165˚ is the minimum safe temp for chicken or turkey. It doesn't mean it's perfect for everyone. If 175˚ is more to your liking, then go for that. For my taste, Boston Market and store brand rotisserie chickens are generally a bit overcooked. That doesn't mean I think you're wrong, it just means we have different tastes. I don't know what IT˚ they shoot for, but my guess is that between the cooking and the relatively long hold times under heat lamps, by the time you eat it it's WELL above 165˚. I also know they sell a whole lot more chicken than I'll ever hope to, so there must something to be said for it. The most important thing is that you cook it the way YOU AND YOUR FAMILY like it. Everybody has their own tastes, and lots of folks might make it seem like their taste is right and everyone else is wrong. Don't listen to them. As long as you're cooking it safely, do whatever you want with YOUR chicken and enjoy it!!


Master of the Pit
Joined Dec 19, 2011
I like my chicken at least 175 in the breast, usually above 180 when finished.  I have found the same as you, when the breast is at 160 to 165, it's too rubbery for me.  Brining really helps in maintaining the moisture in the bird when cooking to this high of an IT.  Steaming really helps as well for increasing the moisture in a bird, this is what makes the beer can or beer butt chicken so popular years ago.  Typically when I cook chicken, I am practicing for competition cooking and in Texas we cook half chickens, so after about an hour of smoke to get a nice color on the skin, I'll throw the halves on a wire rack (also called cooling rack or bakers rack, Mr. BBQ makes a popular model) in an aluminum pan with broth and butter underneath the birds so I get the steaming action without the chicken being submerged down in the liquid.  But in the end, as MD stated, cook it like you and your family likes it, that is what makes Q so great.


Meat Mopper
Joined Dec 4, 2013
Mdboatbum covered the minimum already so I'll just add a foot note: those pop-up timers you find in turkeys and occasionally chicken are set to pop at 180-185°


Smoke Blower
Joined Feb 26, 2014

I had this chicken on the smoker at 250* for 5 hours today.  IT was 175* when I took it off.  Used a half can of Miller 64 with some onion and minced garlic.  Seasoned the chick with some poultry seasoning and lemon rosemary inside and out and plugged the neck w/ a chunk of onion.  Wife gave it 9 out of 10.  Very juicy and tender

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