How long to smoke a chicken?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by aklee987, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. aklee987

    aklee987 Fire Starter

    OK, this is not the normal "how long to smoke a chicken" question.  I understand that you want the meat to reach 165 or 175 depending on the cut of chicken. I plan on doing whole chickens.

    My issue is not with not having enough time, my issue is having TOO much time.

    I want to smoke a chicken and take it to work for lunch. I work an hour away from home and leave my house at 6:45am.

    Can I smoke a chicken (or three) overnight, wrap in foil/towel/cooler, then take it to work?

    Will I dry out the chicken by cooking it too long? The latest I can put the birds in the smoker is 11:00pm, I really don't want to stay up any later. 

    Any advice? Or should I forget about taking chicken to work?

    Any help would be appreciated.
  2. smokinal

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

    This is a good question for Chef Jimmy J. If he doesn't see this just PM him.
  3. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I think it would be fine, keep it wrapped in foil. You may have to give it a nuke or two in a microwave once you get to work, but really....nothing wrong with cold smoked chicken either.
  4. aklee987

    aklee987 Fire Starter

    I'm not too worried about keeping the chicken warm once they are wrapped in foil/towel/cooler.  Unless you guys think I should put them on ice in the cooler?

    I'm more worried about the 7 hour cooking time. Will that be too much? Any recommendations on cooking temp?  I'd really prefer not to wake up in the middle of the night to mess with the bird. 

    Like I said, I can put them in the smoker at 11pm at the latest, and can take them off at 6am.
  5. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    You could just get up about 4 or 4:30 and smoke them for a few hours in the morning.  Just a thought...then foil 'em, and cooler 'em until ready to eat.
  6. berninga87

    berninga87 Smoking Fanatic

    Thats a tough one, even if you get up again at 4AM after going to bed at 11 I feel like that would be too long..Mine usually take only about 3hrs max. Are you planning on brining them? That will help with moisture. I always brine mine and smoke between 280 and 300*. I suppose you could drop the smoker temp a bit and try to do them slower...but I have always had better luck with higher temp. 

    Although, when I do smoke brined chicken at the higher temp, It reheats in the microwave very well, never had a dry one. So you could do the day before(or a few days before) and reheat it, I really dont think you'll be disappointed. I'll smoke up a whole chicken on Sunday and make everyone at work jealous of my lunch til Friday. If its something that you dont have a choice but to do it overnight, Al is right, PM Jimmy J, he's really good about getting back to you soon and can definitely help you out.
  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The issue is Chicken just don't take that long!...An overnight smoke will be too long and you risk either having dry birds or pulled chicken because they fall apart...I would definately Brine the birds, Smoke them off at 225*F to 165-175* and wrap them in foil and refrigerate until you take them to work for reheating...I guess a Microwave is the only way to reheat? I don't know how many you are feeding, but Chix Halves are an individual portion, they should be around 1.5 lbs each...Breast and Leg Quarters are also good to provide for individual meat preference...This is my go to Brine...JJ

    Families Favorite Brine

    1/2C Kosher Salt

    2T Paprika

    2T Gran. Garlic

    2T Gran. Onion

    2T Dry Thyme

    2T Black Pepper

    1C Vinegar (Any)

    1-11/2Gal Cold Water to cover Chix

    1/2C Brown Sugar, Optional

    1T Red Pepper Flake Optional

    Starting Two Days out...

    Mix well and Soak the Bird over night or up to 24 Hours.

    Remove the Chix, rinse if desired and pat dry with paper towels.

    Place in an open container in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours for the Skin to dry.

    This will give a crispier skin when Smokng or Roasting...

    Bubba Chix Rub

    1/2C Raw Sugar

    2T Paprika (I use Smoked if I'm just Grilling)

    1T Cayenne

    1T Gran. Garlic

    1T Gran. Onion

    1tsp Black Pepper

    1tsp Wht Pepper

    1tsp Allspice

    1tsp Bell's Poultry Seasoning or Thyme

    Mix well. You can put directly on the skin or mix with Butter, Oil or Bacon Grease and rub on and under the Skin.

    Reduce Cayenne to 1teaspoon if less heat is desired.

    Good Luck!
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
  8. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    OR, as Flash mentioned , cook the Evening before,cool in Referigerator and Mucnh it Cold , a nice Q-sauce and Mac Salad , you'll be good to go...

    they look great done Beercan Style and can be Nuked with no damage to the taste.....;}-
  9. aklee987

    aklee987 Fire Starter

    Thanks everyone so much for all the information.

    Looks like I will definitely be smoking these in the evening a day or two prior. Then putting them on ice, then to the fridge until I take them to work.  And a brine before the smoking.

    Another question:

    If I WANT "pulled chicken", how do I get that?  Is it a temperature thing? Or a wrapping/braising thing?
  10. smokinal

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

    For pulled chicken we spatchcock the chicken & smoke it at 225, bone side down in an aluminum pan with a little chicken broth & a couple tablespoons of rub in the pan too. Use a pan with high sides because all the juices from the chicken will fill up the pan. You will have to discard the skin, which makes it healthier anyways. On occasion we do it this way. Fry up some bacon & set it aside, but leave the grease in the pan. After you pull the chicken take the chicken skin & chop it up into little pieces & fry it in the bacon grease. When it is nice & crispy. Take it out, chop the bacon into little pieces & mix the two with the pulled chicken. This is a real treat, not to healthy, so you only do this once in a while.
  11. aklee987

    aklee987 Fire Starter

    Thanks, SmokinAl.  Do you smoke it dry first? Or is it raw when you put it in the pan with the liquid?
  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    LOL...Holy Smokes AL!...I was just going to tell him to foil the Bird with his choice of liquid and cook another hour....But this recipe is freakin' DECADENT!...Good one!...JJ
  13. smokinal

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

    It's raw when you put it in the pan with the liquid. Remember just a little liquid at first, maybe 1 cup, because the bird will generate a lot of juice.
  14. smokinal

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

    As long as you have your Cardiologist on speed dial it's a killer recipe. Pun intended!

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