Doing a comp soon, need to perfect my half chicken.

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by twobeanbbq, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. The comp is for brisket, spare ribs, and half chicken. I have a WSM and a crappy 22.5" kettle grill. I'm pretty confident about my ribs and brisket, but I can't seem to get that perfect skin on chicken. I know about kicking the temp up, but before I get to that stage the skin is basically black. What do I do to keep the skin a nice color and get it crispy and bite through? Thanks for any help!
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
  2. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    For starters why don't you tell us what you are doing, so maybe someone can point any potential problems. Black skin tells me you're smoking low and slow with a lot of smoke. Don't do that.

    As for crispy skin, you might try adding unicorn tears to your rub, as that's about the only way you'll get truly crispy skin off a smoker.

    If bite through skin is what you're after, you need to figure out some way to render the fat and collagen out of the skin. A good method is to place the bird skin side down in a pan with some sort of fat in it, butter seems to work quite well. Smoke at 225˚ for an hour or two and then return to the smoker at higher heat. I don't have the exact figures in front of me, so you'll have to look them up. Myron Mixon's cupcake chicken is a good place to start.

    Good luck in the comp!
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'd agree with MD about the black skin. I don't smoke chicken low and slow anymore. I crank the heat up 325-400 and let it go. Crispy skin great smoke flavor, and consistent color. Another thing, if you're using sugar in your rub your gonna get inconsistent colors. I don't use sugar in my rubs anymore.
  4. Yea that's what I was doing. Low and slow and then I'd kick the temp up towards the end to crisp the skin up. Or at least make it bite through but by that time the skin is black. I don't use sugar in my chicken rubs I know that doesn't work well for the high heat. I need to plan out my schedule to smoke the brisket, ribs, and half chicken all out of my 22.5" WSM. Would you suggest I get coal dividers and do the chicken standing up in my kettle grill?
  5. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would cook the chicken separately in a different cooker that you can get to a high temp.
    twobeanbbq likes this.
  6. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I bet he's smoking chicken with hickory, and using enough to smoke a brisket also. Try pecan, it will win more competitions where you are located cooking birds....LOL

    I would smoke a whole chicken and then split when I was preping for the judges. You get a much nicer smoother smoke color and you have two sides to decide after the split. One to test, one to turn in.

    I don't rub chicken anymore, whats the point, the flavors can't get thru the skin. You are only laying spices on top of the skin. my experience says you can't push herbs or spices thru the fat in the skin. It is why you remove the fat from the brisket and pork, right? Use a light hand if you do sprinkle spices.

    Make sure and oil that skin though, it is cheap insurance that you don't cause it to crack (the skin), and lose those juices.
    Good idea.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014
  7. Nooo I rarely ever use hickory. I mix a fruit wood with pecan wood usually. Or I'll mix oak and a fruit wood. What kind of oil to rub with, vegetable oil? I like the idea of no seasoning so it's just an even color but if the skin stays on they would bite through if still and it would need seasoning, right? Or would I just inject and sauce it?
  8. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would probably lightly inject mine, if no time to brine. A little rub on the skin is fine, but more like a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Veggie, peanut, evoo, they all work, and hopefull the smoke will over lay it so no taste is good taste I would think, although I heard Case before say something about infused oils and that intrigues me.  I think we give judges too much credit for their palettes though. My idea would be perfectly cooked, juicy and let the meat taste it it should.

    I do want ya to understand, I am not a competition cooker or speller. LOL
  9. Yea it's one of those ones for me where I feel confident in my brisket and ribs but chicken is hit or miss for me. I've done beer can chickens, but they were black and the white meat was dried out before the dark meat cooked all the way. What do I do?! Lol
  10. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    No sugar in your rub. Thin Blue Smoke, I prefer a 50/50 mix of cherry and pecan. Smoker running 325+. If required to provide white and dark meat, spatch the bird so you get an even cook.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
  11. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    By no means am I qualified to give competition advice, but in my own personal experience, the only way I have ever gotten crispy skin on a chicken with good smoked flavor was to cook it indirect on my weber kettle with a couple of chunks of your desired wood at about 400. Keep in mind I have been smoking for less than a year but in that year I have done about 20 chickens spatchcocked or halved. Roasting chickens is one of my favorite cooking tasks, so you can imagine that when I started smoking my quest was to perfect the smoked chicken. 400 and maybe a little higher on the weber have been my best efforts. Test run it on your kettle. Cheap experiment and tasty results.
  12. I tried it on my kettle at first I tried to beer can stand it and it was too tall, then my fire started getting crazy from being open I had to remove my top rack and then take the chicken off the beer can stand and laid it flat in a pan. Had I been outside 10 minutes sooner to start my base I would've had a perfect color, I just missed the mark. I injected the chicken with creole butter and a mix of old bay and slap y mama. I have to admit it was quite great tasting. A little sweet glaze on the outside of the chicken and I would be right on. The competition is in Louisiana, does anyone have a good spicy and sweet BBQ sauce recipe? I'm doing some experiments tomorrow.
  13. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    When you beer can a chicken in a weber kettle you put the chicken on the charcoal grate! Take the grill off and there will be plenty of room for it to stand up. All you need is one weber charcoal basket at one side and the chicken at the other side of the kettle. I've found that it usually takes two and a half hours at 280 degrees; for the first hour and a half do it with the beer/dr pepper and then the last hour take it off and replace the grill and finish it with the thighs facing the charcoal basket. I've done it this way many times and it comes out incredible!!!
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  14. That's a great idea! Thanks for the pics. Are you saying you mop the chicken with beer and dr pepper? I'm looking to make a thin type sweet but also spicy kind of BBQ sauce. In Louisiana we love the spice, so I imagine the judges are going to look for some. I want them to Bite through sweet and finish with spice and a little sweet to keep the burn at a certain level.
  15. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    I just happened to be cooking beer can chicken for dinner tonite!:sausage:

    Putting it in the mini...:grilling_smilie:
    No the beer can or dr pepper is put into a wire holder, $3.50 at Walmart, and ithe chicken is cooked with the can inside of its cavity. You drink half of the beer or soda first. You can put whatever mop or sauce towards the end but I usually just let it finish like that.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014

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