2 Split Birds & Pot-Style Veggies in the Vault: Q-View (finished)

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by forluvofsmoke, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This is my idea of relaxing on Father's Day...cooking for the family and sharing a nice sit-down meal with them. I kept everything pretty simple for today. I had some leftover Blueberry/Cherry/RBP Rub (originally blended for pork, but good with yard bird as well), so in keeping with a lazy day, I rubbed the birds with it after splitting in half and rinsing...no pre-rub oil, either...just toss on all sides and hot the smoke. I may brush on a bit of sauce near the finish after cranking the heat to finish them up.

    The veggies went into the smoke first for good hit of heavy smoke up front. Today's smoke is provided by pecan chips for a quicker onset and heavier smoke up front, and small to medium chunks of apple and hickory. I laid wedge-sliced yellow onion on bottom followed by large dices of yellow potato, baby carrots, chopped celery and minced garlic, further seasoned with black pepper, 6-8 dashes of worsty sauce down the sides of the pans and lastly, sprinkled 1-1/2 Tbsp chicken bouillon over the top...simple. I opted for no added water until a few hours into the smoke...I'll add a cup or so, depending on how much they sweat, just to keep them moist and cook to nice, tender bite.

    Nothing fancy, but simple dishes have proven to be quite good eating:

    30 minutes after getting the veggies into the smoke, along comes the birds...these were still partially frozen when I split them...rubbed and straight to the smoke, stone cold:

    I started the veggie smoke @ 325*, then jacked it down to 220* after tossing in the split birds to let them soak up some smoke...then crank it to around 350* after nearing about 150* I/T to crisp the skin a bit...possibly brushing on some sauce to get nice and sticky when nearing the 158-160* mark...haven't decided for sure, but sounds like a nice change for me...I don't do wet ribs or birds, so why not?

    2 1/2-size steam table pans cover an entire grate in the SV-24, so I definitely wanted them above the birds to prevent heat baffling:

    Normally, I put the veggies under the meat to catch drippings, but I want to save some time by not having to de-fat the veggies (I'm shooting for less liquid when finished, and don't intend to make a gravy this time), hence the added bouillon.

    Oh, and I'm running with a wet-to-dry smoke chamber for this as well...should be around 3 hours high-humidity smoke chamber before drying up the foil liner and transitioning to dry.

    So, I have yet another trial with smoked veggies...lower chamber temps for the duration, with a hit of ~350* temps at the end...we'll see just how tender they get. Whole potatoes will get tender at 260-270*, given enough time, but below 250* is gamble...with the liquids sweating out of the veggies and a bit of added water a few hours in, it should keep things rolling along. I did add 1/2 cup water per pan @ 2.5hrs, then combined the two pans into one and covered after 3 hours of smoke. They'll finish their journey to goodness covered for steaming.

    2.5hrs...lots of shrinkage already, but still pretty moist and a bit of free liquid in the pans:

    Looks like they got a nice amount of smoke judging by color, so the smoke stage is about over. The thinner layers of veggies using 2 pans probably helped a lot with smoke exposure, and of course laying loose and not covered in liquid...can't wait to taste 'em!

    I did a 180* grate rotation to compensate for grate temp variations @ 2.5hrs for the birds...here they are at 3hrs:

    Not much to do now except wait for it. I'll stick 'em for temps @ 4hrs and see where we're at.

    See ya on the rebound with the finish...thanks for peekin'!!!

    Last edited: Jun 15, 2014
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This finished up really nice, other than the chicken skin was tough, but that was my fault for not doing anything to crisp it up. I could have used olive oil before the dry rubbed, or even butter does a nice job. I did crank temps up, but only to about 290* to bring it to reach a finished temp of ~170*. The veggies were all fork tender, except the largest carrots, which were a bit aldente...nice dish though, and the flavor was not too smoky. Seasoning was nearly perfect as part of a chicken dinner...sure, I'd do it again.

    So, coming towards the end of the smoke, I decided to brush on sauce onto the smaller of the 2 birds...not bad at all, and I'm not a sauce kinda guy, but it's a nice change on yard bird.

    30 minutes after saucing...just getting ready to crank up temps after a second temp check on the birds...158-160* here:

    And another 30 minutes @ 290*...total time for the 1/2 chickens was just over 4.5hrs with average smoke chamber temps of around 235*.

    These were really tasty...this stuff was like gold on the dinner plate...it went pretty fast, but everyone had their fill:

    My dinner platter...one sauced leg and one no-sauce thigh:

    Everyone enjoyed the meal, including me. The veggies were quite unique and delicious...best of all, I know a little more about times and temps for cooking them in a pan in the smoker. I do try to change temps a bit every time I smoke veggies just for giggles...never know what the outcome will be 'til you try something different. Chicken was good...could be better, but then I was having a lazy-day smoke, so I didn't get too concerned about crisping the skin, but that was really the only thing that I'd want change, unless of course I decided to just change everything up again on the next round, like I usually do...[​IMG]...always playing with the variables. I did end up with a wing and more veggies before I quit eating...then there was the extra dark German chocolate cake my daughter brought for dessert...that's the most I've eaten in one meal for several weeks...must of been good. There was one breast left and no veggies, so I did the volumes just about right for one teenage boy, one toddler, a 10 month old bouncing boy and 6 adults. Oh, and the chickens weighed in @ 10.88lbs precooked, in case you're curious...the largest of the 2 was roughly 6lbs, and the smallest was a bit under 5lbs, both with giblets, which I ditched from the smoke (this was a twin-pack, and I didn't feel the need to drag the scale out to weigh them separately).

    You can stick a fork in me now, 'cuz I'm done.

    Great smokes to all and to all a good night!!!

  3. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks good to me, Eric!

    Good luck and good smoking.
  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks guys! That had to be one of the simplest and easiest one-cooker meals that I've made for quite a while...and tasty!!This just may be my favorite way to make a complete meal. And now that I've pretty much figured out how much time it takes to get the veggies and taters cooked tender, well, I can make this and similar dishes when ever I want...[​IMG]

    foamheart likes this.
  5. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sorry somehow it appears this came in under my radar.

    That chicken looks outstanding!! If you are looking for a dryer skin, I swear by the 24 hours nekkid rest in the reefer. It will never be crispy without that 325+ maintained heat but it does help with the rubbery skin syndrome..... <chuckles>

    And more I'd like to thank you for showing me something I had missed, I knew, I just never thought of it. Potatoes! I have tried and could never get potatoes to cook properly and you showed me the light. Normally I am a russet or a red tater kinda guy and they never get cooked. I see you used "New" potatoes. They have a real buttery taste too. I have got to try it!  Thank you.

                                                                                  [​IMG]    [​IMG]    [​IMG]
  6. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Foam! Hey, if you picked up some ideas on how to get better smoked potatoes, then I must have have done something right. It does seem there are quite a few that either struggle with potatoes, or gave up on them completely...veggies included.

    Oh, the taters were actually not that new, but I grabbed the smallest ones in the bag of yellows, and left most of the bigger ones that were a little larger than fist-sized (to my med/lg hands), just in case we had an itch to bake (or smoke) them whole. These ones that I did use for this smoke were anywhere from around 3-4 inches long, maybe from 5-8oz.. Speaking of potatoes, I have smoked medium Idaho whole, around 3/4+lbs, and they will eventually get tender, but like all smoked foods, you gotta be patient. 225* won't get them done in under 8-10 hours...they don't seem to respond much until you start touching the 250-260* mark. The monster 1-1/4 to 1-1/2lb Idaho taters are another story...if you're not smoking at 275* or higher, you probably won't be eating them the same day you start them, unless you toss 'em in the nuke to finish 'em up...but that pretty much destroys the great skin you get when smoked on open grates. i like to roll with no pre-smoke treatment for whole taters. Large diced taters of any variety I've tried seem to do well in a pan with other veggies...I think as the veggies begin to sweat, that extra moisture gives a bit of steaming to the taters to help push them along better. I'm with you on russets and reds...golds are a really good potato for most cooking methods, but maybe not the best for cooking whole on open grates due to such a thin skin (well, just my preference, of course), but they are packed with a rich flavor.

    And don't be afraid of the strong smoke you smell from a fully cooked tater you take out of the smoker...the flavor isn't as strong as the aroma, and is actually quite good, even with hickory, cherry and other stronger smoke woods. I don't think I ever mentioned this before, but If you want to experiment, bag your leftover taters with the skin on and toss into the fridge for 2-3 days, then reheat and enjoy...the smoke flavor gets stronger, like when you smoke and age cheese, but the equalization of smoke flavor doesn't take nearly as long to notice.The skin seems to hold onto the smoke, giving off a very strong aroma straight out of the smoker...give it enough time, and the smoke seems to soak into the meat of the potato.

    Hey, if you want some more info on what I've been trying to get a fully cooked tater from the smoker, especially whole taters, just drop me a PM...I just chatted with another member earlier this evening for a bit on that, and typical pot-style veggies...I could copy/paste and let you in it as well. The key factors though are just having enough heat, and, patience...they may cook slow at typical smoker temps, but if you're seeing changes in the skin due to shrinkage of the potato meat, they're cooking. They don't need to have an external water source for moisture when whole...they will steam in their own moisture and evaporate some as they cook...this is where the shrinkage comes from, just as with meats, especially when cooked to high internal temps...moisture loss. When you lightly squeeze the whole tater's skin and it feels hollow, it's either done, or very close.

    I gotta say, this run of smoked veggies was so easy it was almost scary...I rarely get something to come out right without any real planning...kinda threw it together and went with my gut. Well, OK, so maybe I stretched that statement a bit...to say it rarely happens for me would be deceiving...LOL!!! I did shoot from the hip on this one, but all came out quite well. I was really interested in finding out if the diced veggies would cook tender at around 250-260*, and they did most of their cooking at that temp range. Had I not cranked up the temps to 290* to finish the birds, I'm sure another 30-45 minutes would have been about the same texture in the end, because once I transferred them all to the same steam table pan, there were twice as deep, so cooking would have slowed down a bit.

    The rubber-skin chicken wasn't much concern for me with this smoke, but there are a few tricks to minimize it, as you mentioned drying it in the fridge. I haven't tried that one yet. Pre-treatment with some kind of fat, such as rubbing with olive oil or butter before applying dry rub helps, as long as you're not smoking a true low & slow, which birds don't benefit from anyway (other than having more time for exposure to smoke). For pieces and quarters, tossing over a hot grill prior to reaching desired I/T works nicely, but that's a 2-cooker method that some may not have available, or is too much of a PITA to achieve. For me, if a one-cooker method is in the plan, my propane smoker can reach temps around 350-400* above ambient without a wet pan, so it can handle the heavy work for me.

    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  7. vegassmokeout

    vegassmokeout Meat Mopper


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