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Pre-making Pulled Chicken Question

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    Pre-making Pulled Chicken Question

    My Sister-in-law is flying in from California today and I'm making pulled chicken sandwiches for dinner. Her plane lands in Boston close to 5pm, so I want to pre-make the chicken. It has been in a wet brine for about 16 hours. I plan to spatchcock it and hot smoke it at 325°. Since the airport is 45-60 minutes away I was thinking of having it done by 3pm, pulling it apart, putting it in an aluminum tray with a cover, and then leaving it in an empty cooler with a towel until we get back. Would it be better to leave the chicken together and pull it right before dinner? Do you think it will dry out the meat either way? If the meat stays above 140° in the cooler it should be safe, right? My estimated time for it being in the cooler is about 2 hours and 30 minutes depending on airport traffic.

    Thanks for any help in advance!

    #2
    Plan your cook and cook your plan. Toast the buns on arrival.
    Save any juice, and BBQ sauce to add as desired.

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      #3
      I have no scientific evidence, but I always try to slice or pull whatever as close to serving time as possible.

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      • MTurney
        MTurney commented
        Editing a comment
        This ⬆️

      #4
      Pulling chicken that isn't very hot ain't fun. I typically sous vide at 140 for whatever time is necessary, then take out the bag while hot and sear in clarified butter and pull.

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        #5
        It should stay hot in a faux cambro for a few hours as long as you have it tightly wrapped in foil. I'm guessing that it will probably cool off as you pull it. So to preserve the density, you may want leave it whole, wrapped well in your pre-warmed cooler* if the cooler is cold, depending on where you live or where it's stored. It should stay nice and hot that way. Then you can pull the chicken just before serving.

        *I think Huskee sometimes fills the cooler faux cambro with hot water from the bathtub or shower tap and lets it sit to take the chill off before dumping the water and loading it with food.

        Kathryn

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        • Steve B
          Steve B commented
          Editing a comment
          Great advice Kathryn.

        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah! The easiest way to heat a cooler! Also the easiest way (IMO) to fill one w/ cold water to defrost a turkey or brisket.

        • N227GB
          N227GB commented
          Editing a comment
          I'm not sure where the OP is but down here in the tropical climate I turn my igloo chest upside down in the sun so the dark color soaks up the rays.

        #6
        Since the air traffic control system comes into play I would wrap whole and put in my oven on its lowest setting covering all possibilities for delays or lost luggage. My oven’s lowest setting is 170F.

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        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          This is good advice, i.e. don't pull the chicken until you get back from the airport, and hold it whole in the oven.

        #7
        Tmorrison80 pulled chicken and pulled pork are something I've done for big parties. When you pull the chicken, shredding it, it will lose a lot of temp. Heck - the chicken is done at 165 for the white and 175 for the dark meat. So the odds of it staying above 140 by the time you have it shredded and panned are low, much less in cambro for a couple of hours.

        I would put the tightly wrapped pan in either an oven on low as it will go (170F is as low as mine will go), or in a crockpot set to the "warm" setting. And preheat the crockpot for a while before you get the chicken into it. I use crockpots for serving pulled pork and pulled chicken all the time, as it will keep it above 140F for hours on the warm setting.

        EDIT: Alternatively, I like the advice above from Donw - holding the whole chicken will prevent it from drying out in a warm oven, and pull the meat when you get back from the airport.
        Last edited by jfmorris; October 21, 2020, 09:26 AM.

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          #8
          Thank you everyone for your help. Her flight is currently running 30 minutes ahead of schedule and we don't have to wait for a checked bag. I will update the results later today. Here's a picture of my second time ever spatchcocking a chicken.
          Attached Files

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            #9
            Thanks for all the help. It came out great! Still very moist and full of flavor.
            Attached Files

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              #10
              That's really good looking pulled chicken! Congrats.

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