Brand New MES 40 + Spatchcocked Chicken = Fail

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by ynot2k, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. ynot2k

    ynot2k Smoke Blower

    I wanted to try out my brand spankin' new MES 40 so I thought I'd go cheap and try something I could afford to fail at - whole chicken - $7.00.

    Spatchcocked and rubbed with SPG.

    I made so many mistakes on this one - here are some of the highlights of my adventures.

    I did not brine the bird.  Not sure if this mattered, but thought I'd mention it.

    i burned the new MES 40 at max temp (275) for 2-1/2 hours with a bit of smoke for the last 1/2 hour to season.  Then wiped down inside and grates to remove and other residual oil.  This seemed to work fine.

    I decided to smoke the chicken at 275 too.

    I had a brand new bag of Alder chips and an opened bag of Mesquite chips so I used...Mesquite.  Fail.  Way too strong and too much "bite".  

    I used the meat probe integrated into the MES.  Fail.  It COULD NOT have been correct.  I should have tested it before use, but did not.  I also could have used my ET-73 but did not.

    In the smoke.  Seemed fine, not too much volume and it was definitely TBS.  I thought I was doing well at this point.

    Then it happened...

    The meat probe on the MES 40 was placed in the breast.  Maybe I should have put it in the thigh?  Either way, the probe read 165 after only 75 minutes.  I thought "wow, that was fast - I expected it to take much longer".  Looking back I could kick myself.

    The bird did look pretty good when I pulled it out.

    Only rested it long enough to take the pic, then started carving.  I knew immediately that the bird was undercooked, but SWMBO was hungry so I hoped for the best and continued carving.  FAIL.

    Skin was like leather.  Not rubber.  Leather.

    Meat was tough.  Too smoky.  Undercooked.  It was juicy, but the juice was kinda pink.  Gross.

    I ate one wing, which seemed to be barely cooked.  Not horrible, but not good.

    The rest went into the trash.

    I share my misery to help others learn from my mistakes.  I hope this thread will prompt recommendations and we can all possibly learn from this.
  2. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well, you covered all the bases on what not to do. However, in your defense, many of us have had the same or close to experience. At least it wasn't a $50 brisket in there. So, go get yourself another chicken and show that MES who runs the show. Mesquite is best left to those born in Texas, IMO. We here in the PNW favor apple, pear or alder. I'd highly recommend a smoke alternative to the chip tray. The easiest in a MES would be the AMNPS for consistent smoke for hours. Chicken is NOT an easy thing to master in a smoker what with the skin issue and all. Many will have the coals going to flop that bird on to crisp it up after the smoking. Yes, in the thigh is normally where you place the probe.....when the thigh is done the breast most certainly is. 'They' say chicken is done at 165 but many here, myself included, like 175-180 to avoid the shocking pink joints.....a real turn off to me. I can handle a bleeding ribeye but cringe at a bloody chicken joint. BTW, many of us have had to dash out for a pizza to toss at SWMBO after a failed dinner smoke.....LMAO.......Later, buddy......Willie
  3. ynot2k

    ynot2k Smoke Blower

    Thanks Chef Willie.

    I have in my possession (but have not yet tried) an AMNPS - brand new - pristine even! 

    My "go-to" smoker is my Traeger, so I always have pellets handy.  I just received the AMNPS so last night would have been my first chance to use it.  I figured I already had too many variables I was juggling just trying out the MES 40, so I left the AMNPS on the shelf.

    I've read lots and lots of threads on the MES 40 and the AMNPS so I'll get there.  

    Yes, I'm picking up another chicken on the way home tonight.  SWMBO is having a "girls night out" tonight so I'll be able to give it another shot without her asking "when's dinner going to be done?"   LOL
  4. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Roger'll be able to monitor the smoke without being scrutinized. Enjoy the house to yourself.....Willie
  5. If your having skin issues, and you can't get your smoker to a higher temp, smoke the chicken at 275 until 165 IT, and them pop it in a 425 degree oven and bake to 175-180 IT.
  6. ynot2k

    ynot2k Smoke Blower

    I like this advice - I'll try it for sure.

    I did buy a another chicken last night night, but sadly got involved in other chores while SWMBO was out.  I'll give it a shot this weekend.

    Thanks for the replies.
  7. If your having skin issues, and you can't get your smoker to a higher temp, smoke the chicken at 275 until 165
    Your welcome and good luck. That advice was from Chef JimmyJ. (I'm using 180 as finish IT because that is my liking. Some will pull off smoker at 145 and bake to 165. I like my chicken done to a higher temp.)
  8. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

                      Hey , Ynot2k , did you enter all this in your "LOG" [​IMG]  Sorry about you bad luck , but happens to all of us... [​IMG]

    Hope next cook is better , and as always . . .
  9. ynot2k

    ynot2k Smoke Blower

    Yes, I do keep a log of my cooks, but usually only for extreme failures or successes.  I had not entered this failure yet, so I will.

    Most of my log entries are about beef and pork - and rub and sauce recipes.  You know, things I've experimented with and then the results.

    Another chicken going on the smoker this afternoon.  I got some Cherry chips to try this time.  Or maybe I'll just go with Alder.  Whatever happens I'm sure it will be much better than last time!
  10. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    As long as you know what you did wrong, you are learning. Now get it mastered because smoked chicken is great!
  11. ynot2k

    ynot2k Smoke Blower

    Ok, 2nd try....

    Looks good.  Smells good.  Resting now.  Dinner in a few minutes....

    Smoked in MES 40 to 165 deg.

    Cherry chips.

    Finished in oven at 400 deg to 180 IT.

  12. That looks like you nailed it. Can't wait to hear the verdict on taste. Thumbs Up
  13. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yea man, that looks great.
  14. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    It's been over an hour and no reply, it must be good if you're still eating![​IMG]
  15. ynot2k

    ynot2k Smoke Blower

    Skin - crisp, but not bite-through

    Taste - great sweet smokey flavor, moist and tender

    I don't think it gets much better!

    Thanks for the help!

  16. Great Job!!!! Looks awesome. Glad it turned out well for you.:yahoo::sausage:
  17. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Man, now I need to get a bird out of the freezer.

    Great job.

  18. ynot2k

    ynot2k Smoke Blower

    It really was great - now I'm trying to think of ways to make it even better....

  19. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    And therein lies the fun of smoking![​IMG]

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