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Can chicken be smokey and crispy

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    Can chicken be smokey and crispy

    Hi pitmasters. New to the forum and novice smoker. Have a question for you guys. I want to smoke chicken to get a nice smoke flavor AND crispy skin. I hear that you need to make sure the chicken is as dry as possible to get crispy skin, but it needs to be wet in order for smoke to attach. Can you have both? If so, how?

    #2
    Yep. There are a couple of approaches to try:

    1) Smoke air 325F or so (this likely will not work on pellets which seem to produce little smoke that hot).

    2) Smoke lower, like 250 or something, then grill the skin side down to crisp it.

    The 'must be wet to get smoke to adhere' is a guideline, not a hard and fast rule and, I think, it more true of roast cuts (pork butt, chuck, brisket etc)

    Comment


    • RayBecue
      RayBecue commented
      Editing a comment
      Good tips. Havent “2-stepped” it - smoking then grilling. Will have to try that.

    #3
    Yup. I dont have a pellet grill so when it comes to chicken im usually doing 325 indirect min on my kettle.

    i dry brine a day in advance to help dry out the skin. Then apply butter or oil to the skin and get it in there hot indirect heat.

    Click image for larger version

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    • grantgallagher
      grantgallagher commented
      Editing a comment
      RayBecue mostly preventing the wing tips from becoming a charred mess...the boots just look funny.

    • RayBecue
      RayBecue commented
      Editing a comment
      Ah ok. Makes sense. My wing tips got burned.

    • FireMan
      FireMan commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, I was thinkin the boots weren’t made fer walkin, just aesthetics.

    #4
    I let my Kettle run just about as hot as it will go when cookin' skin on chix. I do try to keep it below 500°. I spin whole chix, and use a Vortex for pieces. I dry brine the day before if possible, and store uncovered in the refrigerator. I do use a tiny bit of neutral flavored oil to help the rub adhere.

    Click image for larger version

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    • RayBecue
      RayBecue commented
      Editing a comment
      That’s a nice set up. I dont have any rotisserie rigs...yet that is 😜

    #5
    The vortex in a kettle works magic on chicken. As hot as you can get, indirect. I just made some tonight. No dry brine or any special tricks to get crispy skin. Just open the package, season, and throw on the grill. Put a couple wood chunks on top of the coals and you get a nice smokey flavor. This chicken was as crispy and juicy as fried chicken with a great grilled, smoky flavor. I rotate the lid 90 degrees every ten minutes, flip after 20 minutes, it’s usually done at 40-50 minutes.
    Click image for larger version

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    • RayBecue
      RayBecue commented
      Editing a comment
      Those are some good looking thighs right there. I will look into the vortex method for the bge. One thing I know for sure is that there’s no way to turn the lid on that sucker.
      Last edited by RayBecue; May 2, 2021, 08:49 AM.

    • Red Man
      Red Man commented
      Editing a comment
      RayBecue I don’t have a kamado, but with your cooker I’d try to get the grate level temp to 400-450 with the plate setter in place. That way you’ve got high indirect heat. Throw a couple wood chunks in and you’ll get smoky, crispy chicken.

    • RayBecue
      RayBecue commented
      Editing a comment
      Thx for the tip. Thats pretty close to what I did last night. Turned out pretty well. Will keep experimenting

    #6
    What kind of cooker are you firin up?

    Comment


    • RayBecue
      RayBecue commented
      Editing a comment
      Im running a bge right now. Thinking about stepping up to a kbq.

    • JGrana
      JGrana commented
      Editing a comment
      I own both a KBQ and a BGE. Killer combo. Smoke in the KBQ the often finish on the BGE. For chicken, it's all KBQ. Smoke a few hours and either crank it up or finish over the firebox.
      The last 2 briskets I did was KBQBGE. KBQ for 5 hours to get that nice smokiness. Get the BGE temp stabilized to around 240 and move over to the Egg until done.

    • RayBecue
      RayBecue commented
      Editing a comment
      Great tips! Cant wait to get on the kbq train!

    #7
    Have any of you ever tried the hot water method for thighs? Supposed to produce some very crispy skin. Thinking about that now, it may be a good way to get the skin wetter so smoke sticks more and crispy at the same time. Hmmm...

    Comment


      #8
      Click image for larger version  Name:	8E9A980C-A5A8-4E69-AEA1-734D9FD346AB.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	1.08 MB ID:	1025926Click image for larger version  Name:	BEB8E892-7A37-4150-862A-E1DCA4A91455.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	1.06 MB ID:	1025925 Absolutely. Really depends on your cooker. I’ve got 3 different styles and all three cookers accomplish crispy and smokey chicken. I always spatchcock the birds. Crank the heat over 400. Try to get 450 on the KBQ, 400-425 is the sweet spot on my kamado. Pit barrel I don’t really check the temp. Probably doesn’t get quite as hot but it’s hanging directly over the flame so it works. You just need to cook a chicken once a week and tweak you method until you nail it. Also, as I’m lazy, I don’t dry my bird in the fridge the night before or do anything to try to make the skin crispy...except cook it. Top pic from the Primo and bottom from KBQ.
      Last edited by JCBBQ; May 2, 2021, 06:30 AM.

      Comment


      • JCBBQ
        JCBBQ commented
        Editing a comment
        RayBecue it’s always a balance between smoke and crispy skin w a quick chicken cook. To my taste crispy skin is a must. Thus, high heat. So I’ll take whatever smoke I get.

      • JCBBQ
        JCBBQ commented
        Editing a comment
        Also higher temps in the kamado makes better smoke than 225...imho.

      • RayBecue
        RayBecue commented
        Editing a comment
        Yup. Makes sense. Thx.

      #9
      I ended up throwing a bird on the bge last night. Stuffed the cavity with butter, lemon, garlic and herbs. 400-500 for about 45 mins. Turned out well. Click image for larger version

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      • JCBBQ
        JCBBQ commented
        Editing a comment
        Ok, you’ve got a kamado. Perfect. Try spatchcocking next time, w the heat deflector in so you’re cooking indirect. And maybe try getting the bird higher in the dome. The reflecting heat off the dome will do wonders on your skin. That said your cook looks excellent. 👏👏

      • RayBecue
        RayBecue commented
        Editing a comment
        Thx for the tips. I may try that tonight!

      #10
      From this past week, there is no sauce on that.



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      • Richard Chrz
        Richard Chrz commented
        Editing a comment
        We like the pieces for easy serving. Remove extra steps when the outcome is not affected. Plus we like thighs, legs, & wings the best.

      • Richard Chrz
        Richard Chrz commented
        Editing a comment
        I think the most important lesson is, there are likely 100 ways to achieve what you want to achieve, discover a few ways that work for you, and work your own magic on them your way!

      • RayBecue
        RayBecue commented
        Editing a comment
        👍🏾

      #11
      I've messed up more chicken than anyone. learning, seems dry brine over nite in frig helps, and cook that yard bird at 400 the only other way is in oil bath, I use a chipotle oil. Your cook looks good.

      Comment


      • RayBecue
        RayBecue commented
        Editing a comment
        Yeah it came out pretty good. Temp was between 400 and 500. Will try a overnight dry brine on one too. Thx for the tip.

      #12
      I like to hang chicken in my vertical charcoal smoker either spatchcocked or whole. The bird is totally dry when it is smoked and roasted over the coals at around 275-300* to about 160* then I put over direct heat on the kettle to crisp up the skin and bring it up to the extra degrees needed. Lesson learned is to flip the chicken with a heavy duty spatula instead of tongs to prevent the skin from pulling apart when grabbed by the tongs. Nice crispy skin with pullback from the dark meat. Chicken is different than other meats that you will smoke, it picks up smoke flavors rather quickly and holds onto them more. I don't feel that moist skin on chicken is important for smoke flavor due to those reasons.

      Comment


      • RayBecue
        RayBecue commented
        Editing a comment
        Makes sense. Good pro tip re using a spatula.

      #13
      Spatchcocked chicken (was dry brined in the fridge for a few hours) cooked over direct heat at 450*. Was smokey, crispy skin, moist, tasty...prob the best chicken ive ever made. Thanks all for your tips.
      Attached Files

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      • FireMan
        FireMan commented
        Editing a comment
        Awesome! It was worth the price of admission!

      #14
      Hey Ray, now try some Wibs!

      Comment


      • RayBecue
        RayBecue commented
        Editing a comment
        I like how you think!!!!

      #15
      I have found if I "dry brine" sprinkling with salt overnight and leaving uncovered in the fridge to allow the salt to work in and dry the skin this helps tremendously. I cook at 325-350 on pellet cooker. Crispy skin and deliciously moist meat every time.

      Comment


      • RayBecue
        RayBecue commented
        Editing a comment
        Sweaty Paul When you dry brine do you set the chicken on a wire rack so liquid can drip down? Also do you spatchcock before or after the dry brine? Thx

      • Sweaty Paul
        Sweaty Paul commented
        Editing a comment
        I spatchcock before and place in wire rack

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