Newbie preping 1st smoke on ECB for tomorrow, chicken & salmon, advice would be appreciated.

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by seannyob, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. Folks,

    Howdy. I'm SeanO from Yorktown, Virginia.

    I've set up my ECB with the usual mods, and have some nice hardwood briquettes from Trader Joe's--they're all natural--and some mesquite wood chunks.  

    I picked up a lovely roaster chicken and a pound of Alaskan salmon to smoke tomorrow for my guests.

    I'm going to brine my meats tonight and smoke tomorrow.

    My one looming question is this: smoking times for chickens on the web vary wildly. I'll be picking up a precise thermometer tomorrow, so I'll know the temps at each stage of the process--but can anyone give me an idea how long a 5 1/2 lb bird outghta smoke?

    I plan to start my bird out on the lower rack, then add my salmon about an hour before the guests arrive.

    Any other advice?

    Thanks in advance!

    SeanO
     
  2. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Fl
  3. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    At about 250 smoker temp I would say about 3 + - but you want to smoke to temp not time. 
     
  4. X 2 to many variables
     
  5. Thanks everyone for the input--it's greatly appreciated.  

    I'm brining the meats at the moment--up late to make sure everything tastes great.

    I'll cook to temp as advised.  I have small meat thermometers for each slab so things are done for sure.

    I really appreciate the support from these forums.  It's nice to know you don't have go on this adventure alone!

    Thanks again!

    SeanO
     
  6. smokinal

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

    Don't forget the Q-view Sean!
     
  7. red dog

    red dog Smoking Fanatic

    You might end up with fishy tasting chicken if you do it at the same time and you wouldn't want chicken juices dripping on your salmon. I would consider doing the salmon seperately ahead of time, then clean the smoker before doing the chicken.
     
  8. Here we go, with Q-view as requested, Al!  [​IMG]

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well it's over now I must say it was a (qualified) success.  Short version: the salmon came out lovely. The chicken, not so much.

    Although my guests felt the chicken was tasty & moist, I found it to taste...well, like crappy, baked chicken with way too much mesquite flavor.  Like I said to the wife--I would've enjoyed eating a 

    rotisserie from the local grocer more, and it would have been cheaper.  So, what went wrong?

    Well, I guess the answer is, I don't really know.  Maybe I just don't like smoked chicken?  I think that's largely true, but I also think that there was a bit too much white smoke, although perhaps some more seasoned (ahem) folks will weigh in on the issue.  I was shooting for that ellusive (for me) Thin Blue Smoke.



    So.  Too much white smoke? I think so, but it was either this, or nothing. I couldn't find a happy medium, adding & removing bricks, what have you, etc....  Also, I have a buddy who insisted on "helping."  Which meant more mesquite than I would have liked ended up in the firebox.  ;)  

    Anyway, like I said, everybody else like the chicken.  I confirmed that I do not like the taste of mesquite, and neither does the wife.  Why didn't I get hickory?

    This was a 5 lb. roaster, cooked beer-can style with a rub from a cookbook that was actually not too bad. I did brine the chicken overnight, and it was somewhat juicy, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I might have enjoyed, for instance, a rotisserie chicken from Costco or something.  So to me that means it's not worth it, esp given the amount of work and long cooking times, extensive fuel, etc.  I expected, with the extensive brining, something very moist & juicy & delicious.  Also, I think that I love the crispy exteriors of baked chickens much more than the result from the smoker.  And I just don't want to cook it two ways...

    It looked and smelled great in the smoker, though.

    [​IMG]

    I also smoked a 1 lb salmon.  (My smoker has two racks.)  I cooked to temp, about one and a half hour cooking time, and the brining process had created a lovely pellicle which locked in the salmon fat, the result was a very mild smoke flavor which coupled with my newly invented "Seanny's unPatented Fish Rub (NoMark) (No rights reserved)!!!!!" It was pretty awesome.  It was very juicy and delicate--almost the texture of butter--on the inside, and crispy & flavorful on the outside.  

    They tore it up.  

    [​IMG]

    So, of moderate interest, perhaps, might be the rub recipe, which I will share when I get home this evening.

    Many thanks again to those who posted their advice and to all of you for the support!

    SeanO in Yorktown.
     
  9. Hey Sean,I thought the smoke was fine. I smoke a chicken almost every weekend as

    I love it through and through. you'll like your chicken much better with a few added steps:

    1. Inject every muscle you can. I use a mix of melted butter, onion powder, garlic powder

        white pepper (Small amounts ,no more than 1/8 tspn, very light on the white pepper)

    2. I'm not sure which rub you used, but the chicken appeared fine. I use Jeff's rub with a

        few mods, less brown sugar, add paprika, call me crazy but it works for me and all who

        have eaten it.

    3.Every chicken I smoke takes no longer that three hours, and I use 5 - 5 1/2 lb birds every time.

       Again, I smoke temp not time but surprisingly enough that's the mark. IT 165*

    Other than that, I think everyone is skilled at one more than the other. It depends on what

    you love the most. Thanks also for the video and please post again next itime, I like real time action...James
     
  10. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Welcome !
     
  11. fatback

    fatback Fire Starter

    Sean,

    I encourage you to experiment more with chicken before you give up on it. It sounds like you have already learned a few things.

    Mesquite definitely has a stronger smoke that does not agree with some folks. I don't care for it myself. (though I sometimes add a chunk to pecan-smoked brisket) Too much mesquite -- well it just compounds the problem. Next time try hickory or any fruit tree wood. Regarding the skin -- crispy skin can be hard to attain on a smoker, but try cooking at a slightly higher temp next time.

    Good  luck.
     
  12. Hey thanks you guys for the encouragement.  Maybe I won't give up on chicken just yet.

    If any of you are interested, lemme share with you my rub.  Like most recipes, I adapted this from somewhere else, changed quite a bit, and loved it. It is quite salty, which is how I like it.  

    I might tone down the salt in the future, so if you try that, make sure to report back.

    Seanny's unPatented Fish Rub*

    2 Tbs of a sea salt (kosher, whatever)

    2 Tbs celery salt

    1 Tbs minced garlic

    1 Tbs onion powder

    1 Tbs ground mustard (I use Superfine, Double Ground)

    1 Tbs paprika 

    2 teaspoons brown sugar

    1 teaspoon nutmeg

    1 teaspoon allspice

    cayenne to taste (start with a teaspoon)

    cracked pepper to taste (again, start with a teaspoon)

    *No rights reserved! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2011

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