First smoke... Chicken!

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by dallasblues, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. Hey y'all!

    We'll after some consideration and some suggestion from the fine folks on this forum, I've undertaken my first smoke. I'm using my brand new Masterbuilt Pro dual-fuel two-door smoker. Thanks to the guidance of friends here, I'm doing chicken. I'm doing a whole 6.3 pound chicken and a bunch of little drumettes I had lingering in the freezer to be specific. I'll do my best to break down the steps I've taken thus far.

    First... I did the obvious. I thawed the chicken to room temperature and washed the big sucker with fresh water. Then I rubbed a bunch of spices that I like all over it. While doing all of this I soaked a few chunks of mesquite. I've read that some folks soak their wood and others burn it dry. So guess what. I'm doing both. There'll be some wet and dry chunks in the pan. I didn't think that'd hurt. I also put a pan of water in the smoker because the manual that came with it said so. Perhaps I'll try it without once I know what I'm doing.

    Second... I got the heat started with the propane and wood chunks. Smells good already! Then I put the meat in there. Shoved the meat thermometer in the thigh, ran the cord out through the top vent, closed the door, and went inside to make a sandwich.

    Third... I wait. I have absolutely no faith in the thermometer mounted on the door of the unit. It reads 150-175 degrees, but I'm pretty sure it's gotta be hotter than that. The meat thermometer reads 125 degrees already and it's only been in for an hour. So I've got the gas turned down low. I suppose I'll just watch the temperature of the meat and go from there. I'll keep my fingers crossed!
  2. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead


    I did my first chickens yesterday.  I put a thread out there with pictures.  FYI, try to post pictures when you have a question and when you do a smoke.  People here like to see pictures.

    One thing I recommend when doing chickens is brine.  My chickens came out so moist I was shocked. 

    As for the thermometer, I changed my thermometer right away because of what I read here in one of the threads.

    If you like, use the search engine and search for your unit.  You may be able to ask people what mod's they needed to make.

    I personally had to add gaskets because of leaks

    The search engine here is invaluable.

    FYI, my smoke went about 3-1/2 hours at 225F - 250F.  Don't open your doors to much if you.  My smoker lost a tone of temp each time I opened. 

    So please consider posting pictures of your smoke as you go.

  3. We'll.... Here's the pics of what's happened so far.

    I've read about the mods to be done for my particular smoker, and I'm certain that I'll do many, if not all, that've been suggested.

    I didn't brine my chicken. I considered it and most certainly will in the future. However, this might sound ridiculous, but I wanted to simplify this whole process as much as I could... especially during these learning stages. In fact, my rub is very basic. The idea being that I wanted to taste the meat and smoke first and foremost to get an idea as to what I'm doing. I'll add steps after I get these basics down pat.
  4. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    Looks good. You did right with the water pan for chicken. It can dry out quick if you aren't careful. I have to agree with Rob Sicc on the brining, too. A salt brine will help the chicken retain moisture and crisp the skin. Check out this link:

    Also, correct temp = success. If you don't trust your smoker and meat thermometers to be accurate, I would suggest looking into a digital meat and grill temp thermometer.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
  5. Well... If I'm gonna be completely honest about my first smoke then I feel like I've gotta lay out my mistakes out on the table. As a whole, however, I feel like things are still gonna turn out great. It goes like this...

    I kept watching the meat thermometer and after only 2 hours the temp read 165 degrees. To my knowledge, this meant it was time to take the bird out. So I did. It looked and smelled incredible! I took it in to wrap it up, cover it in towels, and let it sit. But a little voice in my head told me I should check the temp again. While it was in the smoker I had the probe inserted where the thigh meets the body. This time I thought I'd better stick in the breast. I got a very different temperature at that point. It was just 125 degrees. So, having already opened the door to take out the bird and shutting off the propane, I just covered it in foil and put it in the oven at 225. The house now smells great and I'm sure it'll taste great too. Things didn't go exactly as planned but the I'm confident the final product will be good. The chicken is currently still in there so I can't give a final analysis as of yet.

    So this is where I think I went wrong. I truly don't know what at temp the grill was operating. The gauge on the door never went above 150 degrees. I just didn't feel like I could trust it. My guess is that I inserted the thermometer probe in a place that wasn't giving me the most useful reading. Perhaps it was against bone? Maybe I would've had better luck going through the breast in the first place. Regardless, I feel like the best thing to do in the future is to work on getting reliable readings from both the smoker and the meat. I was kinda driving blind on this one so to speak. So, it appears that I'll be looking into new thermometers. I've heard good things about the Maverick 732. Apparently it'll handle both of my needs. Of course I'd be interested to hear what anyone else has to recommend.

    So far this has been a fun learning experience. I'm looking forward to tasting the final product.

    This is the bird and little drumettes shortly after coming outta the smoker and before going into the oven.
  6. I always probe the breast to get an accurate reading.  That way you aren't next to a bone. 

    Looks like it got good color!!!

  7. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Be sure to calibrate your therm.  Could save some trouble.

    Have fun and . . .

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