Newbie (finally) schools himself - opinions appreciated

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by michaelt1959, Aug 22, 2015.

  1. michaelt1959

    michaelt1959 Fire Starter

    Well, for a year or so now I have been telling myself that my (Brinkmann) offset vertical was doing a decent job - yes, she leaked heat and smoke but I kept trying to convince myself it was not that bad. Better than springing for a "quality" pit of some kind.

    Boy was I wrong to think she was not leaking much ...... I finally broke down and bought an after market mod kit (see pics attached) and does it make it difference!!!  She is now completely sealed, not leaks, and my maiden cook with the mods of spatchcock chicken (halved) may be the best I have turned out yet.  Pics attached.

    The mods to seal her up are straightforward and I won't waste anyone's time with those pics. But, I would like opinions at my effort to rig a tuning plate in the cooking chamber. I found that the left side of the chamber was considerably hotter (40 degrees and more) than the right so in an effort to even out the heat distribution I rigged a 15 3/4" 1/4" cast iron plate on the water pan holder. Seemed to really make a difference when I test it (less than 10 degrees differential side to side now all the way up).

    Comments/insight/opinions appreciated on whether the tuning plate rig makes sense. .  Spatchcock pics also follow as well.

    Added this piece of cast iron to the water pan rack then replaced water pan with sand pan. Seemed to function well and really even out heat, etc.

    Spatchcock bird follows. Marinated 24 hours in apple juice, white wine, salt, pepper, garlic, turbindao and ranch dressing seasoning.  Then dried skin for 4 hours in frig.  Then injected, added rub, and dried another 2 hours before smoking.  Sauce is a bourbon-chipotle glaze. Glazed at 400 degrees for 20 minutes but skin was still fairly rubbery. Damn!

    Pic below is after 2-plus hours @ 300 and at a 160 internal temp when I moved the halves.

    First glaze of the halves on a Charbroil Red Convection Grill (propane) @ 400 degrees for 20 minutes

    Just out of 400 and 3 coats of glaze

    Turned out very juicy - rubbery skin, however.

  2. cats49er

    cats49er Meat Mopper

    good looking chicken.nice work on the mods 
  3. floridasteve

    floridasteve Smoking Fanatic

    Great job, both on the smoker and on the bird!

    I hope you post more. :biggrin:
  4. garyhibbert

    garyhibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    That yard bird looks like some really fine eating.

  5. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Michael, That chicken really looks good. I'm sure your mods have been a big help. Next time, put your bird skin side down for 20-30 minutes on the high hear to crisp the skin, then turn up and put a coat of glaze. Try not to get it too done before moving it to the hot grill, so it doesn't overcook while you're glazing. You might want to try one coat or two quick coats and reserve some of the glaze warm for the table if someone wants extra. Excellent job, keep on smokin', Joe.
  6. michaelt1959

    michaelt1959 Fire Starter

    Hi Joe. Thanks for the suggestion.  The mods have indeed been a big help and turned the iron into an entirely different piece of equipment so it is going to take some time to re-learn it.

    Question, if I may. You suggest not getting it "too done" before moving it to the hot grill.  I moved the bird @ 160 internal to my hot grill.  In your opinion is that too late or too soon ....?

    Thanks for the insight and assistance .....
  7. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    165-170* is a good finishing temp, so depending on how hot the grill is and how long you plan to leave it, I think 155-160* is about right. I have a grate in my FB, so its very hot and I usually try to move at 155*. Let me know how it turns out. Joe
  8. michaelt1959

    michaelt1959 Fire Starter

    Thanks for the advise ... like the idea of using the grate over the FB. Unfortunately, I don't'/can't use the grate on my FB because the door to the lower FB (where the vent is located) is too small to allow for the addition of fuel (wood) .... extremely poor engineering design, so  I load through the top-load FB door and don't have the grate in.  So, I move the bird to a CharBroil Red Convection propane grill fired up to 400, but I have modified her to a quasi-smoker and at about 300, when the stick starts to smoke, I shut off the propane fuel and the let the stick do the work from that point forward. Seems to work pretty well thus far .....

    I will try the "turn it over" suggestion next bird ... probably 2 weeks from now.

    Thanks for your insight .... I am learning something new everyday thanks to helpful members like you on this site.

    "Till the next smoke" ......
  9. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great looking bird!

    If you are marinating/brining to get batter skin you have to dry the skin better before smoking. I do a min. of 12 hours usually more like 24 in the reefer uncovered. Or my buddy Woodcutter taught me 30 mins with a small desktop fan is equal to 12 hours of dehydration in the reefer. Even a cured/brined meat under the fan less than an hour and you can see the fat lipids turning a yellow under the skin. This will help you a lot in your quest for that crisp fowl skin.

    If ya get a chance try it. Personally I see nothing wrong with the bird you posted. I would be proud to serve that to my guests.

    Looks like your time and effort really made a big difference, Grats on a fine job.
  10. michaelt1959

    michaelt1959 Fire Starter

    Thanks for your insight and comments .... that darn "bit through skin" thing will drive someone to drink .... even MORE!!!! [​IMG]

    Posted the results of our effort earlier today .... "Root Beer Ribs".  One of our better days... or so we think so.
  11. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Michael, I didn't see any pics. Did I miss something?
  12. michaelt1959

    michaelt1959 Fire Starter

    Hey Joe.  The pics of the mods and the bird are both below my initial thread opening. Thanks for inquiring ....
  13. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    OK, I thought there were some new pics. My mistake

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