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First time chicken on the PBC

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    First time chicken on the PBC

    My first 8 cooks on the PBC have been pork (ribs, pork loin, pork butt, and last week, a ham). This week I decided to branch out into chicken. For the past year, I've been cooking whole chickens on my Weber Genesis with the rotisserie accessory, and have had really great results. I use a smoke box with some apple wood chips, and I end up with great crispy skin and very juicy meat. I have been a little hesitant to try chicken on the PBC, fearing that if the chicken came out better than on the Weber, then I'd feel like the rotisserie accessory was a waste (especially at $100 or so).

    Today I decided to try whole chickens on the PBC. I went with two 5 pounders, seasoned with my go-to seasonings of Tony Cachere's cajun seasoning, some garlic powder, and italian seasonings. The chicken was incredible - even juicier than on the Weber, and with a more intense smoke flavor. They were so juicy in fact that a couple of pieces even exploded with a ton of juice after barely touching them. My in-laws were over and they raved about it.

    I followed Noah's approach of cutting the chickens in half and hanging them, but made a few adjustments. My PBC has been running on the lower end lately at around 230 (maybe because of the high humidity here). I wanted to get to Meathead's recommended cooking temp of 325 for crispier skin, so I decided to try going with 100% Kingsford competition charcoal. Because I didn't need a long cook, I added enough briquettes to barely cover the charcoal basket bottom, and used 40 in the chimney starter. So, I was probably using a basket that was around half to two-thirds full when all was said and done. I also lit the PBC according to Kathryn's technique in the sticky links.

    Interestingly, the Kingsford competition helped keep my temps up and around 325 for the cook. A few times I had to crack the lid a bit, but it was fairly stable around that temperature. Reducing the basket size also worked out well, as I had enough heat for what ended up being a 1.5 hour cook (the briquettes were out when I checked them 3.5 hours after I had put the chickens on). The skin was nice, but a little less crispy than what I have been getting on the Weber. I probably need to cook at a slightly higher temp for that.

    One other observation: people have said to go light on using wood with the chicken, and I would agree with that. I added two very small pieces of apple and a very small piece of cherry. The flavor was intense. I also noticed that the smoke seemed to heightened the seasonings i used. I had gone lighter on the Tony Cachere's than I normally do on chickens, and I probably could have gone a touch lighter. Good stuff though.

    I'm very encouraged by my chicken results and so I'm going to try turkey next weekend (if I can find one - most stores around here only start selling them in the fall). Tomorrow though is another pork butt - I found a nice 10 pounder that I plan to cut in half for a nice slow smoke all day
    Last edited by New2Cue; August 1, 2015, 07:23 PM.

    Congrats on such a good chicken cook, New2Cue ! I smoke whole chicken, split like you did, and sausages together in my PBC almost every week. What chicken we don't eat goes into chicken enchiladas--my friends rave about my "secret ingredient" in the enchiladas when in fact it's the PBC-cooked chicken that kicks it up a notch.

    You may want to try PBC's All Purpose Rub on your chicken--rub the muscle under the skin and sprinkle a little bit of the rub on top of the skin as well. Yummy yum yum.

    I also use Kingsford Competition with poultry. It's much easier, as you found out, to keep the temps higher with it.

    If you can't find a whole turkey (and like white meat), smoke a turkey breast on the PBC. It's delicious.

    Congrats again, and smoke on!



    • bep35
      bep35 commented
      Editing a comment
      How about sharing your chicken enchiladas recipe?

    Thank you Kathryn, and thank you very much for all the stickies and guidance you have posted on here. For a newbie to the PBC, this website has been a real goldmine for me because of people like you, so thank you!

    I ran across another of your posts on your chicken techniques. I'll have to try the dry rub overnight and cooking between 325 and 360. At 325 I got decent skin, but I'd like to get it a tad crispier. When cooking chickens and turkey in the oven, I tend to go with higher temps (400+) to get crispy skin yet juicy meat.

    I was just talking with a friend earlier this week about smoking sausages. If I can't find a whole turkey (I love turkey dark meat!), sausages would be a great consolation prize.


      New2Cue , I hang my sausages vertically in a modified sausage basket (handle sawed down to fit into the PBC). There's nothing like a little sausage-generated smoke to help flavor that chicken--or turkey. Happy turkey hunting!

      And thank you for the thank you!

      Sausage basket modified for the PBC:
      Click image for larger version

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      I usually put the sausages under the broiler for 2 minutes or so to get rid of the "tan lines" you see here.

      For the mod, I had a friend cut the wooden-insert handle down so it fits in my PBC:
      Click image for larger version

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        A couple of weeks ago, I tried whole chickens again. This time I tried to keep the temp up around 375. Went with Kingsford competition, and cracked the lid a bit. Incredibly juicy and tasty as the last time.

        The skin was gorgeous as you can see - in some areas, the skin tasted amazing, but in others, it had a hard rubber texture even though it was crispy (hard to explain, but it wasn't as tasty as the skin off the rotisserie on my Weber Genesis). Anyone have any ideas as to why the skin came out like that?

        I found a butcher that can get me whole turkeys. I want to try to do a few turkeys before Thanksgiving to perfect my technique. If the turkey can come out half as good as chicken on the PBC, I'll be happy. I've done turkeys for years in the oven on Thanksgiving for the family and some people have said it's the best they have ever had, but I have a feeling smoking a turkey would up the game a few notches.


          I'm getting a little better at smoking poultry in the PBC. On a separate thread, I noted that I tried out turkey a few weeks ago, which I smoked at about 350-375 and then put in the oven from 400-500 for the last five degrees. I took the oven approach on chickens last weekend, and the skin was a lot better. Still not as good as I get on the rotisserie on my Weber Genesis, but getting close. With the oven, you can see the skin sweating and crisping up - something you don't really see straight from the PBC.

          I might try putting them in the oven for the last 10 degrees next time. I'm also going to have to try the baking powder approach sometime - though, with three kids under the age of five, I usually don't have my act together to plan ahead for cooks


            Man that stuff looks gooooood. I've always loved my PBC chicken. Being able to just rip a whole leg quarter off and put it on a kid's plate really speeds up the serving process.

            4 years ago I had 3 step-kids under 5. Now the youngest is 7.


            • New2Cue
              New2Cue commented
              Editing a comment
              PBC chicken is great, isn't it? It's amazing how juicy it is, to the point that sections of the bird just fall apart. Do you do anything to get better skin?

              Ah, so you know my pain, I mean, enjoyment


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