Smoking 6lb chicken roaster

Discussion in 'Grilling Chicken' started by cornman, Oct 10, 2016.

  1. cornman

    cornman Smoke Blower

    Still new to smoking, and smoked my first chicken yesterday...sort of. After 3.5 hours, it still wasn't fully cooked. Close, but no cigar. It was going on 7:00 pm and the family was getting hungry. I pulled it off and put in the oven to finish. Had smoker up to 250 the whole time and seemed to be going well....just couldn't get it over the top. Should I have started earlier or is there something else I should have considered? I was using a WSM with the chicken on the top grate, all vents open. Thanks.
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good question Cornman.  Without getting technical the answer is pretty simple; use a higher chamber temperature next time.  Personally, when I smoke poultry, especially skin on, I use a chamber temp north of 300F.  I also dry smoke (no water in the water pan).  The chicken is done in 2-3 hours and I get a nice bite through skin.  A 50-50 mix of hickory and cherry wood chunks in the smoker is what we like best for both flavor and coloring.  Below are two 6 lb'ers on a dual beer can chicken rack that were smoked in my WSM.

  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you were using a WSM and had all the vent open you should've had a higher pit temp than 250.

    Need to know more about your set up.
    1. What size WSM
    2. Water bowl, empty or filled with water
    3. Type of fuel
    4. Are you measuring pit temp with the stock therm that came in the dome of the WSM or are you using a remote therm at grate level

    As mentioned poultry does better at higher pit temps. I shoot for 325-350. At the lower temp I can see a good sized whole chicken taking 4-5 hours. If you were using the stock therm it's also possible that your pit temp was lower than what was reading. The stock therms are notorious for being inaccurate. Mine is 20-25 off. If you were using a remote therm have you tested it to make sure it's accurate? I test mine monthly.

    If you were using water in the pan don't. Leave the pan empty (line with foil for easy clean up). I smoke using a dry pit and in the WSM I can maintain as low as 180 and as high as 500 and anywhere in between with minimal adjustments.

    For faster cooking chicken look into spatchcocking the bird.
  4. smokinal

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

    It's hard to figure the cook time, you just have to guess & hope your close.

    I would say that 3-4 hours at 250, would be a good estimate.

    Did you have a good therm, checking the temp at the grate level?

    Could be you weren't at 250.

  5. cornman

    cornman Smoke Blower

    After smoking some other items, I think my chicken issue was primarily a few things. One was time...I started too late and didn't give myself enough time. The other was the temperature. I did have 250 most of the time, but didn't give the coals a chance to get going once in the smoker. I've figured out (the hard way) that letting those coals get hot in the smoker too (not just my chimney starter) makes a huge difference. This is what's making this fun...learning by doing. Thanks for the help!

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