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Ok Folks, any advice on my upcoming big chicken cook for church.

I need to cook 66 pounds of chicken quarters for Wed evening church dinner. The chicken will be smoked on the FEC 100 the day before and reheated on a grill for supper the next night.

Here's the plan. We have 80 leg quarters and plan to separate them. They will be brined for 24 hours prior to smoking. I'll cook all the thighs at one time, then the drum sticks in the next load. I plan to take the thighs up to about 155 degrees, to leave a little room for reheat on the grill the next day.

Any recommendations?

By the way, I'm doing one part salt with two parts sugar for the brine. Any recommendations for aromatics? I plan just to go with Italian seasoning in the water. I have two five gal brine buckets for the brining.
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Once I rinse the brine I put the chicken in a big ziploc bag with Zesty Italian Dressing and Cider vinegar 2:1 for 30-60 minutes. I then coat all over with lemon pepper and Cavender's Greek seasoning.
(If you don't want MSG, skip the Cavenders)
I cook hot & fast at 375 in my FEC for 60-75 min. It picks up some smoke but gets nice and crispy. It's never as good reheated so consider same day. Don't foil tightly or the skin will soften and keep an eye on it so you don't have a grease fire.
Many have told me it's the best chicken they've ever had.
I don't know about Oklahoma but here there is about 30% of people who won't eat dark meat. The way I see it, beggars can't be choosers!
Good Luck & report back.
I thought Smokin Okie always said no more than about 2 hours for brining chicken parts.

The biggest load of chicken I've done was 21lbs of quarters seperated for a block party a couple of years ago. Cooked at 300, skin came out crispy.

If you're going to finish on the grill the next day, slather on some Cornell Chicken sauce during the cook. Nice little tang from the vinegar, but not overpowering. Cut down on the salt from the original recipe though. Original Recipe

Joe, try some of Pags Greek seasoning, I much prefer it over Cavender's.
OK, here's the final Report with PICS

All in All, the Chicken cook went good. Began with two-35 pound boxes of Chicken Quarters which we caught on sale for $10.00 a box. We brined them in a 1 part salt, 2 parts brown sugar brine for four hours with some Italian seasoning in the brine as aromatics.

For brining I secured two buckets at lowes. The United Solutions 5 gallon bucket caught my eye, as it was marked no BPA and food safe and was actually see-thru with measurements marked on the outside.

I also bought two of the Encore Gamma screw-on lids, which are also foodsafe and FDA approved. I love these lids, as you just attached the outer ring to the top of the bucket and then screw on the top. Easy for getting in and out of for overhauling the meat.

I rinsed the brined chicken pieces in my deep sink and put them on the FEC 100. Drumsticks first (78 pieces), which smoked at 225 for 2.5 hours with pecan pellets.

The thighs followed (78 pieces) which smoked for about 4.5 hours at 215. On the thighs, I put two 1.5 inch hickory logs on the log burner for a little extra smoke flavor.

The thighs had a better color than the drumsticks due to the longer smoke. I Rotated the racks during cooking on both the legs and thighs. There were some stubbornly undone thighs that got the top-rack treatment for about 20 minutes after all others were out.

All the finished chicken went in the refrigerator overnight with intentions of heating it on the grill the next day. Well, I arrived late and the person who tried to warm it up on the grill ended up burning many much of the chicken due to grease fires on the propane grill.

The parts that survived the flame were very good, and even most folks loved everything and raved about the ‘blackened chicken. The meat had a great flavor and texture, great smoke ring, in some cases all the way thru the meat. I had a couple of bloody joints on a couple of the thighs, but all in all, it was amazing.

Next time, I think I’ll just serve it hot from the smoker and not worry about the non-crispy skin. Also, maybe some more bbq type seasoning in the brine rather than the Italian, as it didn’t seem to be much flavor-added.
Last edited by chaplainbill
Yes, 70 pounds of chicken for 20 bucks: benefits of living close to NW Arkansas the yardbird capital of the world.

Yes, 4 of drumsticks and 6 of thighs. Could have gotten more in. I forget to mention that I rotated racks half-way thru cooking.

About cranking it at the very end, It takes so long to get up past 300 or so. Maybe 25 minutes. I've tried stoking the firepot to get up to heat faster, and it helps. You can over-stoke, especially with a big load of chicken, as you can get a grease fire REAL fast - ask me how I know!
Last edited by chaplainbill

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