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Moist and Tender Chicken With a Crispy Skinned Exterior

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    Moist and Tender Chicken With a Crispy Skinned Exterior

    I've seen a lot of activity lately in The Pit regarding chicken and how to get it moist on the inside with a crispy skinned exterior. The posts are all over the place from Dr. Blonder's Video Seminar threads to the PBC sub-channel. I've created this thread to hopefully get that information all in one location. So, tell us how you like your chicken and how you cook it. Here are some things to consider as you think about your technique.

    What kind of grill/smoker do you use?
    What do you do for humidity? Water Pan?
    Do you dry brine, wet brine, or marinade?
    What temps do you cook at?
    What heat do you use (Conductive, Radiative, or Convective)?
    What's your total cook time typically?
    Do you use two zones, cook low and slow, cook hot and fast, start at one temp and finish at another?
    Do you use any accessories? (e.g. Candy's onion holder)
    Do you have a secret weapon? (e.g. Dr. Blonder's Baking Powder What kind of skin do you prefer? no skin, bite through but soft, crispy, don’t care...

    And last but not least any pics you have to post are much appreciated!

    Click image for larger version

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    #2
    I just got my Vortex and will be trying out on steaks first (indirect w/ reverse sear), then chicken via indirect method.

    If the experience is like many other have had, the skin should get nice and crispy w/o charring.

    Comment


      #3
      For me the skin makes the chicken.
      For whole chicken I dry brine for a minimum of 2 days, tightly wrapped the first day to control moisture then naked there after. It should look like this when ready



      Rub it down with some oil before cooking. If I'm going to use spices, I make a paste of oil and whatever spices then rub the bird.



      Weapon of choice is The PBC aka the chicken whisperer loaded with Ozark Oak lump charcoal. Start with blazing hot temp, about >400 degrees.
      If I'm cooking on one rebar then I leave the other rebar out, lid closed.



      After 15 minutes or so the temp will settle down to about 360, that's my sweet spot. Takes no more than an hour.

      Crispy skin every time.



      I do chicken legs on my WSM 14.5 and 22.5 at 325 - 350. Trick is to take the water pan out, start with skin side down.
      Takes about 45 - 60 minutes. Flip em once.

      To illustrate skin crispiness, if you look closely you'll notice that the skin on the chicken half leg is standing stiff on its own, that's crispy!!



      So, my secret to crispy skin is long dry brine, uncovered, dry skin and cook at high temp.
      For WSM, leave the water pan out.

      Comment


      • Ernest
        Ernest commented
        Editing a comment
        Spinaker, I use cling film wrap, tight wrap so that if there's any water drawn out I want it drawn right back into the bird.
        Longest I've gone is 4 days..

      • mtford72
        mtford72 commented
        Editing a comment
        Whole heartedly agree with Ernest. I've not done the tight wrap on the first day, but I usually do 1 to 2 days uncovered in fridge (sometimes dry brined with salt, sometimes not). It looks exactly as the pic shows, with the skin turning translucent.

        Then butter / oil / fat to cover the skin (with seasonings of whatever variety) and into the grill - hot indirect. 325 - 350 in the weber using the smokenator - no water pan (I remove it completely and find the temp settles at around 350 on the dome), initially 400 with the standard climb down to 300 in the PBC - obviously no water pan there. I don't try to use a combination of temps.

        I spatchcock the bird typically.

        I use the breast temp as a guide, and typically pull the chicken off at 159 / 160. The skin is crispy, very enjoyable and the breast moist.

        That method rarely (read never) misses. You can tweak for even crispier skin by crisping up over direct heat at the end / stoking the coals for 400 or so for the last five / ten minutes. I rarely bother, though.

        Typical cook time is about an hour. But as Meathead drums into us all - it's done when the digital thermometer says its done!

        (my profile pic is a turkey - but it's pretty representative of the chickens in terms of color and crispness - I don't do anything different for the turkey).

        Cheers,

        Matt

      • jitsntricks
        jitsntricks commented
        Editing a comment
        I know I'm extremely late to this post, but thanks for the tips. I've dry brined over night before, but it seems like 2 days will be better.

      #4
      For crispy skin you need moderately high heat and dry place to cool

      Comment


      • dmszemple
        dmszemple commented
        Editing a comment
        Moisture is the enemy to crispy skin

      • IdahoBangBang
        IdahoBangBang commented
        Editing a comment
        dmszemple ... so true. I use a similar technique for whole turkey. Brine in my secret mild brine (lots of veggies, herbs) for 3 days, rinse and dry as well as you can with paper towels, then on a rack in the fridge for a day until the skin is dry. Make oil/herb/spice paste and rub all over (including under breast skin) and put leftover in the cavity. Then I dry overnight with the oil mix on it and bake it next day. 450 F until 85% as brown as you'd like it, then 350 F until breast is 164 F

      #5
      I have made chicken with very crispy skin on my gas grill using the Rotisserie. The trick that I find helps crisp it up is a spray of soy sauce. I know it sounds like it would make it overly salty, but it does not. Every 30 minutes or so I spritz it with the soy sauce form a spray bottle and watch the internal temp.... golden crispy brown. I rub the inside with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and throw in a half onion and or a few apple pieces for added flavor.

      Comment


        #6


        What kind of grill/smoker do you use?
        Kettle -Bullet-Gas

        What do you do for humidity? Water Pan?
        No water/dry pan in bullet

        Do you dry brine, wet brine, or marinade?
        Dry, short soak or long no matter

        What temps do you cook at?
        274-325

        What heat do you use (Conductive, Radiative, or Convective)?
        Radiative

        What's your total cook time typically?
        60min+- (or when done IT 165-170)

        Do you use two zones, cook low and slow, cook hot and fast, start at one temp and finish at another?
        two zone one temp

        Do you use any accessories? (e.g. Candy's onion holder)
        no

        Do you have a secret weapon?
        salt... did I mention salt?

        Pic tomorrow if the creek dont rise.
        Last edited by Jon Solberg; January 10, 2015, 06:51 PM.

        Comment


          #7
          We made chicken wings on the Hasty Bake tonight. Brined with Southern Flavor rub for two hours and basted with a butter/parmesagn/garlic glaze close to the end of the cook. My DW, who is my most fierce critic, said these were my most perfectly cooked wings... ever.

          Here are the wings after brining for a couple of hours with Southern Flavor rub. Click image for larger version

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          Just thrown on the Hasty Bake. I used Kingsford Blue for heat and a Pecan wood chunk for smoke. You can see the Pecan chunk all flamed up in this pic. It quickly settled down to a very nice thin white smoke shortly after I closed the hood. Click image for larger version

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          I cooked the wings on the Hasty Bake at 325 for about 15 minutes, basted with the butter/parm/garlic glaze and let that cook for another 4 minutes. I flipped half way through the main cook (at about 8 minutes) and flipped again after the glaze had been on for 2 minutes (glaze got direct heat two minutes each side). The wings were cooked to an IT of 170F. Served with Arugula salad and black beans. Click image for larger version

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          You can see the skin is nicely crisped and the parm is not overcooked. Click image for larger version

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          Another pic of the final result. Click image for larger version

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          Meat was tender and juicy and pulled clean from the bone. An awesome meal! Click image for larger version

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          Attached Files

          Comment


          • David Parrish
            David Parrish commented
            Editing a comment
            We sauteed some garlic in butter then as it cooled threw in the parm. Wasn't a standard recipe we used. Just winged it. LOL

          • Dr ROK
            Dr ROK commented
            Editing a comment
            Did you use fresh grated parm or the stuff from a box?

          • David Parrish
            David Parrish commented
            Editing a comment
            It's been a while since this cook but I think it was grated parm from a jar.

          #8
          Looks great David!

          After seeing this thread yesterday I picked up some wings on the way home and have them marinading in Mojo sauce:

          http://www.conradricemill.com/Detail...=106&category=

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          Mojo Sauce:

          1/2 cup olive oil
          1/2 cup orange juice
          1/4 cup lime juice
          1/4 cup lemon juice
          4 teaspoons Konriko Dry Mojo

          I am going to do them on the kettle with the vortex and try to achieve the fried chicken like skin.

          I also tried some baby backs rubbed with this stuff for giggles...

          BTW - the vortex was AWESOME for the reverse seared steaks (w/ Tatonka Dust and garlic ghee).

          Hope to have some good results later today - will post pics if successful.

          Here are links to 2 other threads about achieving crispy chicken skin:

          http://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/for...ry-on-a-smoker

          http://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/for...ker/48318-skin
          Last edited by HC in SC; January 11, 2015, 09:50 AM.

          Comment


            #9
            Come on folks, let's get in on this. Let's hear how you do chickens and how your skin comes out!

            Here's my answers to these questions in bold italics:

            Originally posted by Pit Boss View Post

            What kind of grill/smoker do you use?
            Stickburning offset (EOS)

            What do you do for humidity? Water Pan?
            No water pan when doing chicken

            Do you dry brine, wet brine, or marinade?
            Dry brine whole chickens, wet brine pieces sometimes

            What temps do you cook at?
            typically 325-350 if skin-on

            What heat do you use (Conductive, Radiative, or Convective)?
            Science class was a long time ago, I'm assuming lots of airflow makes it convective

            What's your total cook time typically?
            ~2 hrs give or take

            Do you use two zones, cook low and slow, cook hot and fast, start at one temp and finish at another?
            Offsets are 2 zones, I have let the temp rise toward 400 the last half hour of the cook

            Do you use any accessories? (e.g. Candy's onion holder)
            Nothing on the bird other than thermometer probes, but i use a BBQ Dragon as needed.

            Do you have a secret weapon? (e.g. Dr. Blonder's Baking Powder [COLOR=#222222][FONT=arial][SIZE=13px]What kind of skin do you prefer? no skin, bite through but soft, crispy, don’t care...
            I'd prefer bite through crispy, but I regularly get soft. Don't much care for soft skin. I will try the baking soda trick next time.

            And last but not least any pics you have to post are much appreciated!
            Here's a spatchcocking post I did just over a month ago showing how I do it and how it comes out.

            Last edited by Huskee; January 11, 2015, 09:46 PM.

            Comment


              #10
              Ernest,
              Do you always leave your birds whole?

              Comment


                #11
                I use the Traeger "Chicken Challenge" method with great results.

                Grill is a RecTec, fueled with Cookin' Pellets Perfect Blend.

                Rinse and dry the chicken. Brush with olive oil and dust with the rub of your choice. I use McCormick's Montreal Chicken. Put the chicken in a V or U rack, breast side up. I don't tie the legs or wings or cover them with foil.

                On the grill at 450F for 70 minutes. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes (do not tent) and cut into pieces.

                Skin is crispy and the meat is tender and juicy.

                Comment


                • bubbabob
                  bubbabob commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Beautiful bird, Mark. I'm wondering if I can achieve that with my BGE...

                • David Parrish
                  David Parrish commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Of course you can. Give it a shot and let us know how it goes with pics!

                #12
                What kind of grill/smoker do you use?
                Weber gasser & Webber Kettle w/ Vortex

                What do you do for humidity? Water Pan?
                No water pan

                Do you dry brine, wet brine, or marinade?
                Dry brine pieces, sometimes marinade

                What temps do you cook at?
                Gasser: 250 skin-on
                Kettle w/ Vortex: 400-500 skin on


                What heat do you use (Conductive, Radiative, or Convective)?
                Convective

                What's your total cook time typically?
                Gasser: 2.5 hours smoked w/ pecan
                Kettle w/ Vortex: 35-45 mins w/ pecan


                Do you use two zones, cook low and slow, cook hot and fast, start at one temp and finish at another?
                Gasser: Low and slow the whole cook
                Kettle w/ Vortex: hot and fast the whole cook


                Do you use any accessories? (e.g. Candy's onion holder)
                Gasser: metal wood chip box under direct zone and chicken over indirect zone
                Kettle: Vortex (small end up) chicken around perimeter


                Do you have a secret weapon? (e.g. Dr. Blonder's Baking Powder)
                Tony Chachere's, Konriko Mojo Seca, Huli Huli marinade, Zesty Italian dressing marinade (all used separately on separate cooks, of course)
                If just dry brining / dry rubbing then I will spray rubbed skin with oil - I use vegetable oil in a Misto refillable sprayer.
                If using a marinade - IT MUST contain some degree of oil so you get the pseudo-deep fried action on the skin.


                What kind of skin do you prefer? no skin, bite through but soft, crispy, don’t care...
                I prefer crispy, flavorful skin - my wife removes and discards the skin no matter what - even on FRIED CHICKEN. (What a weirdo - lol)

                And last but not least any pics you have to post are much appreciated!
                Here are some pics of chicken wings marinaded in Mojo Seca sauce (recipe above) on the Kettle w/ Vortex. This was my first time trying the sauce in lieu of just dry brining and rubbing - it did make the skin a little more rubbery than the dry brine without imparting much flavor - it seems like all of the citrus juices and oil did make the chicken EXTREMELY tender and juicy, but it completely diluted the Mojo Seca flavor. I will not use the Mojo marinade again w/o tripling or quadrupling the dry Mojo to the mix.

                The Vortex is definitely all that it is cracked up to be. It had a constant convection of 400-425 going. The chicken cooked, but did not burn at all even when I had one spike up to 550 (I didn't notice lid was not set tight and was cracked open slightly - it was only at 550 for about 3-4 mins; but still no burning!!) The handle of the Kettle lid got so hot I had to use pliers to lift it off!!

                Skin was not as cripsy as I like, but that is the tradeoff when you use a wet marinade. I could have made the skin perfectly crisp, but the meat inside would have been dry.


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                Comment


                  #13
                  Click image for larger version

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ID:	52015 I use GMG Jim Bowie, no pan. Still experimenting with brining & marinades & temps. These wings were done on grill grates @ 350. Skin was a little crispy, but I'd like it more so. Just wondering if anybody uses an oil less fryer, they're supposed to make the skin crispy. I'm thinking cook on the grill, then put in the fryer... any thoughts?
                  Cheers
                  Bill
                  Click image for larger version

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                  http://www.homedepot.com/p/Char-Broi...1480/100655049

                  Comment


                    #14
                    Still curious whether anyone has tried the oil less fryer to crisp up the skin after smoking, anyone? ( before I go buy one)
                    Cheers
                    Bill

                    Comment


                      #15
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                      Breading: 1/2 cornmeal, 1/2 flour, spices. MH's Crack n Cheese with Hen of the woods mushrooms. Cider Braised Cabbage
                      Last edited by troymeister; March 22, 2015, 08:07 AM.

                      Comment

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