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What kind of smoker do you use? Is your question related to home or comp cooking?

Crispy skin is next to impossible in a smoker. Many competition cooks carry a small grill to finish chicken with (or cook start to finish) on.

That said, there are several ways to produce good bite-thru skin:

If cooking thighs you can remove the skin, entirely or leaving it attached on one edge. Using the edge of the knife blade, scrape the fat on the underside of the skin until only skin remains. Some comp cooks apply Moo Gloo or Transglutaminase to the bare thigh meat before replacing the skin...keeps it from sliding off when eating.

You can also use a Jacardi tool to perferate the skin of thights, breasts or whole birds. This allows the under-skin fat to render as it cooks.

Some folks apply oil, soft margarine or even mayonnaise to the skin.

I find that smoking chicken at 300 or higher will produce a better skin. An FEC will climb to 424. By cooking on the lowest rack position and placing a shelf, covered with foil, just above the chicken will trap the most amount of heat.

Hope that helps.
I prep my chicken by applying a rub both under and on the skin. Followed by a little olive oil massage to the skin. I allow this to sit open on the counter for an hour or two. Little air drying if you will but I've gone without sitting with the same results.

In my FEC120 I start the chicken low, say 200º, until the internal temp hits 100º then crank my unit to 424º for a finish internal temp of 160º. Start to finish is always under 2 hours.

I end up with a very juicy product with crunchy, bite-through skin. Granted a little more smoke might be nice but I don't think the FEC's are known for producing a heavy smoke flavor. Not to mention I can't get mine to burn under 200º anyway.

Can't say I've ever had complaints on my offerings.
Last edited by imabadman

In my FEC120 I start the chicken low, say 200º, until the internal temp hits 100º then crank my unit to 424º for a finish internal temp of 140º.

You finish to 140 degrees?? I can't see you getting a 25 degree bounce for the breast, and 30+ for the thighs.

What temp are you finally cook to?

Just curious.
Not to discount the original comment,because PitMasters must be "Reality". Big Grin Naturally,we all know that you aren't allowed to use a fork to eat bbq. Razzer

Like the good cooks above said,there are tricks that many of us may use.

As a trip to the real world sometimes is delivered,we took a "busman's holiday " this weekend and judged-just to see what is out there this fall.

Our six man table was made up of all Master Judges-including the Table Capt.Three of us also were cook teams.
Of the six entries,four had skin on thighs-one had been finished on a charcoal grill.[We all commented how it actually ate like real backyard bbq chicken].Two had pretty much bite thru skin.
The other two were skinless,smoked thighs. .one deboned.

As many judges will attest,against the rules,judges push the skin aside and bite straight to the meat. Eeker

The three cooks paid some interest to the skin,but tend to focus on how well the product was cooked.

This doesn't directly address the opening question,so what does it really mean?

Heck if I know,I'm just an ol' country cook. Wink

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