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Frequently touched on and we started talking about it in another thread, so let's get this one out there.

In the smaller CS's (Smokette and 50's) the temp only get's to 250 and the skin comes out rubbery.

Here's my question.

Do you really eat the skin or
Do you want the skin to look pretty for presentation or
Do you sauce it up and cover it up or
Do you pull it off anyway.

Crisping the skin takes heat and 250 just isn't enough. No amount of mayo, oil, whatever at 250 will do it, it has to get hot to dry out the oils in the chicken skin and hot heat does that.

I not finish mine in the FE and get it to 325 to 375 and it does great job in only 15 minutes or so.

If you're smoker can't get to those temps, and you HAVE to have crisp skin (again, go back to the list) then you have options.

Finish it in a hot oven.

Finish it with a hand torch (the kind chefs use)

Finish it on a charcoal grill (like contests cooks do and this is also good if you add a sauce to thicken it up)

Finish it on a gas grill (can you take the gas, really?

Let the ultimate chicken crisping thread begin. Big Grin
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I guess my thoughts are..
Presentation.. chicken/turkey with crisp skin is what one thinks of when (s)he thinks of these birds. It's perception, I think.. kinda like the thread Tom brought up about the blood around the bones in today's chicken. How easy will it be to convince people that that's ok? I've talked about it around the table with guests.. and the resounding comment about the blood is "UGGH."

The other thought is that some folks like the skin and others don't I'd like to be able to give my guests that option. I know skin is not good for you.. but it sure does taste good.. Confused

Since I bought Betsy, I have been pulling the skin and applying the rub, putting the skin back in place and smoking.. the 008 has NO problem keeping the chicken moist, even if I have a brain f@rt and forget to pull it on time. When I pull it from the smoker, I remove the skin on chicken.. on turkey, typically I leave it in place and slice it thin.. the skin pretty much falls off that breast meat.. thighs and legs I remove the skin. The rest goes into a soup pot.

I thought the first time I made soup with smoked turkey I had died and gone to heaven... Yeeee Hawwww!!

Ok, here is my 2 cents:

If I just want smoked chicken or turkey breast meat for sandwiches etc. I would slow cook it and throw away the skin. Don't care about appearance.

My favorite whole chicken is rotisserie for which I use my Weber charcoal kettle, indirect coals and wood chips chunks. I am usually done in 60-75 min at 300-350. Presentation looks great and I do eat some skin this way.

One of my other pet cooking projects has been perfecting "hot wings" on the gas grill. In my area, wings and drumettes are always way more expensive than thighs and legs plus I like more meat. I buy bone in skin on thighs on sale when possible. I have experimented many ways and can get fairly crisp skin but found I still threw it out most of the time. This is my current method:

Remove the skin from bone in thighs. Sprinkle both sides with your favorite all purpose rub or just salt and pepper. Grill on gas or charcoal grill with 2 heat zones so you can move the pieces if getting too dark or flare ups (much less often without the skin). I try to keep the temp 300-350 to avoid burning or cooking too fast. Brush on your favorite hot wing or BBQ sauce during the last 15 min, turning every 4-5 min. Serve with extra sauce. My current #1 is Buffalo Maid hot wing sauce.

The skinless thighs seem to be the perfect chicken piece for this method. They take on a great glaze/light bark, have a good appearance, texture and flavor without the skin. I have been making them a lot for football parties and all my friends rave.
Number 5,

Your post is exactly what I have experienced. I have smoked birds and the thick rubbery skin was always removed when sliced. I have crisp up the skin in the ceramic Grill Dome and still removed the skin before slicing.

The only skin I have ever enjoyed over the meat is from a roasted duck - ruined the kitchen oven, three hour to clean the oven, shelves and pan. Even that was not worth the trouble. Give me smoked meat - I just use the skin to keep the meat from getting dry and it still takes your buttered cheese cloth to do that. Wink

As for the 008-50 models not getting hot enough, why doesn't Cookshack change the heating coil and thermostat to correct the problem, most of us would pay for an upgrade Confused

I am planning on smoking a couple of chickens tommorow in the 55. I was thinking of trying the butter soaked cheese cloth tecnique that I used on the Thanksgiving turkey, per Smokin's guide. The skin turned out nice on the turkey, might work on the chicken as well. I will let you know. In the past I have finished the chickens on my gas grill and the skin seemed ok. Personaly I don't eat the skin, never have. Roger
The wife and I only like the breast. I put about 4 tbl spoons of rub in a pan with 2 bottles of cheap Itialian dressing, and soak 5 or 6 breast in that for a hour or so, take it out and dust the brest good with more rub, smoke them at 225 for about 5 hrs or so. Then a quick trip to the gas grill if I want them crispy on the outside. The moisture is fantastic and so is the taste
I did not mean to diverge from Cookshack chicken issues in my post. This may be my essential question then:

We all know why brisket, butts and ribs REQUIRE low and slow smoking. Why bother spending hours (3,4,5 whatever) slow smoking chicken when you can achieve the same (or better) results in less time by other cooking methods. I love to cook, but I also like to be practical. Can you really taste a difference in chicken done slow then either crisped or whatever????
Sacmer, that's the reasoning behind the 250 deg limitation question. On a stick burner you can smoke poultry at 350 deg and you get a quick cook, smoky flavor, crisp skin, moist meat, etc. But the you�re dealing with the downsides of firing that baby up.

To us consumers, it seems like a sensible and simple request to crank more heat out of a Smokette. But Cookshack set the 250 deg limit based on a manufacturing, marketing, or other standpoint that we're not privy to.

I guess in the mean time, those of us with young kids who eat more chicken skin than meat will have to fire up the log burner or finish our birds on the grill. Or cook it another way.

Sure would be nice to have it all, though.. But I'm just speaking idealistically.

I see that your last post on this subject suggested that you had some items to add... I'd love to know what those might be.

My wife and I run the Texifornia Tamale Company, and the facility we recently took over came equipped with a CS 350; a relic of the BBQ place that existed here before. This has given us a lot of luxury to experiment with new types of tamales-- our smoked and pulled pernil tamale is maybe the best pork tamale ever made if I do say so myself. We're wondering how we might increase our usage of this incredible piece of equipment, and crispy skin on chicken is something that we LOVE. Unfortunately, the CS350 maxes out at 300 degrees.

We're going to begin experimenting by smoking a good local-organic free range chicken that we use in our chili verde tomorrow and any advice beyond the excellent tips I've already read here would be great.


Originally posted by Shantyhag:
Unfortunately, the CS350 maxes out at 300 degrees.

Congrats on the success. Smoking stuff can add a level of flavor others can't achieve. Try smoking your beans for another change of flavor.

300 isn't bad, try it.

Typically it's 275 and above, just really depends on the fat under the chicken and if it can render fully or not.

Humidity (in the smoker) and fat (under the skin) are the culprits for chewy/rubbery skin.

Do you have a grill? You could smoke and finish on the grill.

If this gets to be too off from Chicken Skin, just post a new thread and we'll help.
Hi, Smokin! Thanks for getting back to me. We do have a grill, though it's gas and rather small (the whole kitchen is smaller than we'd like, but the commissary we really want is step 2 in this process).

We're marinating tonight, citrus under vacuum, and smoking in the morning. We experimented yesterday, and will report some results on wednesday. I'm going to try three ways: smoke at 225, finish at 300 for final hour; smoke at 225, finish in oven at 375; smoke at 225, finish on a hot grill, 350-400 (given that precision is harder). I'll report back, and thank you for the help.

PS, Last night we did bacon wrapped chicken breasts, skinless, in the smoker for 2.5 hours at 250... the bacon turned out crisp and delicious, the chicken exterior perhaps TOO dry. Topped with a quick alfredo it was amazing, but if we end up doing it as a to-go item then I'll want to play with the heat... the take-away for this was the bacon crisp and delicious at that time/temp.

You're marinading, I'd brine chicken breasts. If you have to marinade, do so with thighs.

You'll get a juicier chicken.

For the bacon, crisp that on the grill just like you would chicken skin.

Me? I'd cook the breast to 140, then throw on the grill and pull at 160 and watch the bacon/skin. The 140 is not a magic time, it's an estimate. Pulling then gives you 20 degrees to allow the skin/bacon to crisp.
Here's the secret to crispy skin in a smoker: brine the chicken as usual; put in refrig uncovered overnight to dry. Just before putting in smoker, dip in boiling water for 6 minutes. Let dry for a few minutes and apply a dry rub.

I did this in my FEC 100 and smoked it at 160, then bumped it to 225. Skin came out crispy; not perfect, but pretty darn good.

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