First Spatchcock Chicken with subpar results. Suggestions needed. (w/Qview)

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by rbranstner, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yesterday I tried my first Spatchcock chicken and it didn't turn out as my other birds have in the past. Normally I am a beer butt chicken guy  and I love how juicy they come out and how wonderful the skin tastes. This time I wanted to try and run the smoker at a little higher temp to try and get the skin  just a little more crispy but the end result was very dry/leathery skin that you couldn't even eat because it was so dried out and there was no way you could rip it off to eat a piece. The inside meat was very nice and juicy but the skin was really bad. I ran the smoker at 275 the whole smoke (around 2.5 hours) until the internal temp reached 165-170 then I pulled it off and tented it under foil until I got things cleaned up. In the past I have smoked my chicken at around 225-250 then maybe kicked the heat up to around 300-325 for the last 30 minutes to crisp up the skin a bit but I was  looking for a bit more crisp this time but it backfired.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    My thinking was I need to go back to smoking at 225-250 and then just kick it up even higher at the end 325-350 to crisp up the skin  or just smoke it at 325-350 the whole time like I use to on the grill.

    One more thing to add is this bird has been in my freezer for several months. Any chance the skin was compromised because of the long freezer time? I didn't really think so because I have smoked many turkeys with great skin that have been in the freezer for an extended period of time.

    Here are some pics.

    All rubbed up with some Garlic & Herb, Old Bay, Pepper and a touch of salt.


    All finished and ready to carve.


    Here is a side shot.

  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I have never tried a spatchcocked chicken before, I do like you and always do beer can with very good results.

    I always do the BC chicken at 325. The skin is crispy & the meat is juicy.

    I wonder if it's because the chicken was small.

    Normally I would think you would spatchcock a bird if it was too big to get through the danger zone in time.

    Or maybe it would be better to put it skin side down when you smoke it, if it's small.

    Hopefully someone who has done one successfully will be along shortly, I would like to know the answer too.
  3. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yea I am going to  do them at around 325-350 next  time. I'm guessing that at 275 it just dries out the skin. Normally when I was at 225 the skin was still soft so I  would  kick it up to 300 at the end but it wasn't quite crispy enough that is why I tried 275 the whole time. Live and learn I guess.
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Hey that's what this hobby is all about, trying new ideas.

    Sometimes they really work, sometimes they don't.

    I must have smoked 100 racks of ribs & I'm still trying to get the one that Judy likes.

    I just got back from Costco's with a 3 pack & will try again tomorrow.

  5. I tend to do chickens either beer can or spatched with the higher temps like you're thinking of doing it next time. Still both are always juicy and crispy skin.  Plus when I think ahead enough I like to brine mine with apple juice, bourbon, peppercorn and a little bit of salt plus water to fill.   Usually fit into a ziploc bag which I can seal out all the air. Overnight in fridge and then smoke...always a better flavor according to my wife and seems like they are more juicy.

  6. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I will definitely agree with the brining the bird. I normally do but I didn't have time this go around.
  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Crispy skin happens when the Fat gets hot enough to Fry the Skin. This happens at 300+*F. I think you are right, 275* just turned the skin into Jerky...JJ
  8. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Jerky is a pretty accurate description of what I had with my skin.
  9. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I do mine at 225 then finish at over 300. When I crank up to 300 I brush the skin with EVOO. It helps to crisp the skin up. Hope that helps.
  10. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ross... just did two spatchcock chickens last weekend, and I agree with Bmudd. Cook it low and slow how you normally would then I just tossed mine under the broiler in my oven for about 3 minuts. Skin crisped right up but chicken stayed super moist.
  11. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't spatchcock, but I do agree with others.  My shot in the dark is that it was too long at a medium temp.  Either higher and quicker or lower and blasting it at the end might be the key?

    Good luck and good smoking.
  12. austexrod

    austexrod Fire Starter

    Hey Smokin Al, What is the danger zone that you and other people speak of. I plan on smoking a 16# spatchcocked Turkey and would like to avoid it all cost. Is it involve using a lot of ice, because I read somewhere the guy was trying to defrost at the same time but was packing ice  around it at the same time. I thought this was very counter-intuitive.


  13. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    The danger zone is when the internal meat temp is between 41-135 degrees. This is the temp where bacteria will grow. You have 4 hours to get it from 41 to135. If you take it out of the fridge & put it on a 225+ degree smoker, you basically have 4 hours to get the bird to 135. That will be easily done with a 16# spatchcocked bird.
  14. subvet

    subvet Fire Starter

    Next time, you might try brining it in buttermilk.  This will help with the moisture factor on spatchcocked birds.  Then as aforementioned, bump your temps up above 300* to finish it off.
  15. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ross, I have heard a lot about the Buttermilk soak subvet was mentioning and will try that next Chick cook I do, but to get back to the discussion , I always either Brine or soak my birds in liquid , it just seems to be juicier. I've done both Spatck and BC bird and the skin is always great , and I cook them at 300*f. So all that could have a bearing on it? I just know that if it ain't broke, why fix it[​IMG]

    Just sayin'......
  16. I get the crispiest skin by plunging the bird into boiling water for 30 seconds and then into ice water to cool, repeat once...dry the bird off well before adding heat. 
  17. owlcreeksmoker4

    owlcreeksmoker4 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    yah I agree with JJ sounds like it was just a tad too cool to fry the skin

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