Smoking a chicken

Discussion in 'Grilling Chicken' started by bradc86, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. I'll be smoking a chicken Saturday for the first time. I've had great success in the past with pork and Boston butt, including a pork loin this past Sunday, but am looking for any tips on chicken. My main concerns are keeping it from drying out. Thanks in advance. Brad
  2. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What kind of smoker? The only way I know to dry chicken, is to over cook it.

    It doesn't need brine, or injection, bacon wrapped or any fancy procedures.

    Here some ideas and some different ways to try after you become bored.

    Smoked Chicken w/ Q-View

    Injected turkey but its all the same......... Just a flavor modifier like the brines and stuff.

    Smoking Turkey w/ Q-View:

    Its all pretty simple. High heat, low heat, major smoke minor smoke, flavor enhancements, breast down, breast up, rubs, stuff, mop, spritz, etc etc..... Its still a chicken.

    BTW when ys get a mins, drop in the Forums section "Roll Call" and introduce yourself please, you need to see the secret handshake. So the guys can say hi and help with you assimilation into the Borg.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2014
  3. woundedyak

    woundedyak Smoke Blower

    What works for me is a good brine. You can google "brine recipes" and get a million different version. spatchcock it, skin side down. Hit it at about 275. Roll it over when the thighs are 140ish. Yank it once the thighs hit 160ish. Wrap it tight in foil, then wrap it a few times in a towel and let it rest for about 30min. The quality of the bird makes a huge difference as well. Start learning about what makes a good bird. Some types take better to "slow and low" some take better to hot,fast. Once you learn that, you will never dry out a bird. Chicks love juicy birds.  IMO, Spatchcock a leghorn or marans direct around 375-400 is the best tasting ever.
  4. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Chicken will NEVER be dry unless it's over cooked.   I never brine and my birds are dripping wet inside also I've cooked them 400-500* and the turn out awesome.    

    So what's your smoker?
  5. Thanks guys. I always heard the breast gets dry, but maybe it doesn't. I just have a Brinkman charcoal smoker. Not a fan of the electric ones.
  6. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That's Ok, to each his own. But there will be loads of brinkman smokers here abouts.
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  8. Hi. I just smoked 2 chickens for the first time last week. I brined them. Used a BBQ rub on one and Jeff's recipe in his book up in smoke on the other. I used a smoke hollow smoker. They turned out awesome. Not dry at all. My girlfriend said she's never cooking another chicken again. I'll be smoking it. Take that as she liked it also.
  9. Thanks again guys. Looks like I won't have to worry about it drying out. So a question about the skin. I've read up on how to get it crisp, but is there any certain ingredient(s) in the brine that I don't want to leave out? I usually never follow any recipes, and just throw stuff together, but I don't want to leave something important out and it be a bust....
  10. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You'll probably will have to embarrass yourself to cure that just throw stuff together like I did. A brine is very definite parts of salt and sugar. Herbs, flavoring, fruits and spices are all your call but the sugars and salt and their proportions in the cure you sort of have to balance to your taste. And once you get it, you'll want to always stick with it. If you over do it, it may be salty, under do it and its bland, brine too long the texture changes while too slow and you don't get the flavors impregnated below the surface.

    Besides the heat, probably the biggest "secret" towards a crisp skin is let the chicken, after the brine, after patting and drying, that you leave it the reefer over night uncovered to allow the reefer to dehydrate the skin. Yes it formed the Pellicle, but heck, you can do that in 30 mins. with a fan. But over night in the reefer deep dries the skin.  

    My suggestion is why not smoke the bird with no brine, no injection, just smoke the chicken. Salt and pepper, and light smoke, so you can se what the chicken can and does taste like before you start trying modifiers and enhancements.  How can you know what the brine brings to the party if you don't know what it is just to taste the chicken? How can you know how much smoke to use if you don't start minimalistically, you need to set a good base as a norm so you can understand what each modifier and enhancement brings, then there is different smokes, temps, rubs, etc etc etc...... there is at least 1000 different ways to smoke a chicken. If you don't know where you are starting how can you know what to do to achieve where you want to end up? A plain smoked chicken with nothing but salt and pepper, if you can't make one delicious that way, all the secrets and tricks imaginable can never help you.

    You've got to start somewhere.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2014
  11. Thanks again guys. The chicken turned out 10X better than I expected. I let it soak from Thursday morning to Friday morning and then dry in the fridge from then until Saturday morning. I ended up just going with my own mix of seasonings on the brine, and no rub at all.
  12. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Pretty chickens there.... Juicy?
  13. It was so juicy everyone was asking me if I was sure it was done. I was very surprised and happy with that part.
  14. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


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