Better smoke on Split Chicken ?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by old poi dog, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. old poi dog

    old poi dog Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Aloha All,

    On Friday I smoked two chickens using the Beer Can method. I used Shooter Rick's Snake Bit Rub. Like the last time it turned out great. I gave one chicken to a friend and he liked it too. He was commenting on how great the smoked flavor along with the rub added to his dining experience.
    I'm planning to do a split chicken on the next smoke, but I thought I'd ask the question anyway:
    Would smoking the chicken in quarters or halves improve the smoke / rub penetration more so than when the chicken is smoked whole? Thanks for your thoughts...
  2. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Cutting the chicken up would increase the amount of smoke penetration, but whether or not it would make a worthwhile difference I would say it depends.
    More smoke would penetrate into more parts of the bird so there would be more smoke but at the same time the cook time would be shortened.
    I love doing chicken parts and getting a whole leg or thigh cooked all by itself with smoke kissing every part but there is just something different, something special and flavorful about doing a whole bird.
    Will be looking forward to your thoughts after your next smoke.
  3. To add to that I think the bird ends up a little drier when you are not doing a whole chicken no matter how you go about it. With the quartered or halved chicken you would also be able to get your rub on more surface area of the chicken so that would help your rub penetrate better. Good luck and please let us know your results.
  4. tn_bbq

    tn_bbq Smoking Fanatic

    I don't care too much for the beer can chicken. I prefer spatchcock chicken.

    I find that the bones add a wonderful flavor when grilled directly over the heat.
  5. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    I've tried it all ways and I find the meat is best when smoking it whole. Put the rub inside, outside, and under the skin to whatever degree possible. Brining is good too but not necessary.

    The caveat is that if you're smoking at 225, you have to mop the skin regularly to keep it from turning to rubber/leather. Also it helps immensely to turn it over halfway through.
    IMO "beer can" only works if you use a wire frame rather than an actual can as the can prevents the interior from picking up flavor. And you lose natural meat juices with the bird standing up or partitioned.
  6. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like it turned out great! Good smokes.
  7. old poi dog

    old poi dog Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well, I was able to smoke two split chickens today. I was able to get more of the rub into more areas doing em this way. After applying rub between the skin and flesh I used tootpicks to pin the skin back on. Here they are rubbed and ready for the smoker.

    The smoker temp was at 325-330. It took just under 2 hours to get them at 180 degrees. I spritzed them with a wash that consisted of water/cranberry juice every 1/2 hour after the first hour in the smoker.
    Here they are resting

    The wife couldn't detect a difference in smoke between these and the ones that were smoked on beer cans last week. I think the flavor of the rub was infused better in the flesh of the chicken, but I'm not sure if a more meticulous application of the rub on a chicken done on beer can would have a similar result. So for me the verdict is still out. Next time I will do a beer can chicken at the same time I do a split chicken and minus the beer can in the cavity.
  8. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey Opd! Those look like a pretty good smoke. Nice color too. Did they retain their moisture pretty well?

    A couple of the above posts got me thinking. I have done whole birds can style and layed breast up. Thinking back on it now, my best smoked birds were before I knew anything about the can method.

    I remember the first pair I did in my small GOSM about 4 or 5 years ago...they literally fell apart when I cut the breast skin. These were injected with marinade and dry rubbed...very juicy, tender and tasty. I even impressed myself with that smoke...

    I might have to go back to that method just for giggles and see how we like them in comparison to the can-butt method. It does seem that the can is quite a stopper of the thin-blue, and the flavor does seem to be lacking a bit with the ones I've done...even though I use aromatics like garlic, onion etc. in the can liquids.

    I may have to get a couple whole birds again and give the old tried and true method a shot.

    Interesting thread, sure got me thinking back a few years.

    Let us know the results of the split vs whole can-butt method...sounds like the search has begun for another ultimate smoke!!! [​IMG]


  9. old poi dog

    old poi dog Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for the compliment. They were pretty moist, even the breast meat were moist and tender. My wife an I don't want to see pink liquid so I've been smoking the birds lately at 325 and pulling them out of the smoker as soon as they hit 180 internal temp on the thighs. I give them a rest for 15 minutes or so serving them. The skins weren't crisp but they weren't rubbery either. I think on the next two I'l fire up the grill and crisp the skin a bit as suggested. Have fun on your next smoke. We'll be looking forward to your q-views

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