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Smoked Chicken Skin


BadRabbit
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I love smoked chicken but the skin always turns out rubbery and inedible. I realize this is because the temp never gets hot enough to render the fat and get it crispy. Does anybody have a good process for achieving both a tender smoked interior and a crispy skin?

I was thinking of brining, smoking and then allowing to cool before grilling or flashing in a very hot oven. Any thoughts?

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Probably not the answer you're looking for, but when I make little "hams" with duck breast, if I don't use the skin I crisp it in a skillet on fairly low heat. Sort of a chef's treat and there aren't very many things lovelier than eggs fried in smoked duck fat.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Probably not the answer you're looking for, but when I make little "hams" with duck breast, if I don't use the skin I crisp it in a skillet on fairly low heat. Sort of a chef's treat and there aren't very many things lovelier than eggs fried in smoked duck fat.

Yeah. I've deep fried the skin before and they make a really interesting crisp but I'm looking for something that will enable me to serve the chicken in halves or quarters with crispy skin still attached.

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I was thinking of brining, smoking and then allowing to cool before grilling or flashing in a very hot oven. Any thoughts?

I have tried this. What happens is that the rubbery skin contracts and tears apart. It won't work.

I would love to know the solution also. I have tried wet brining, dry brining, leaving it uncovered in the fridge to dry the skin, etc etc. The only method which seems to work is to ladle hot oil onto it after it has finished cooking.

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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Cold smoking and finishing by frying for a short time in a pressure cooker, ala KFC, would probably also get you the crispy skin you're looking for (a local restaurant here does exactly that, and it works wonderfully.) Then you've got the option of possibly even battering the skin....

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Searching some competition BBQ bulletin boards could render some detailed methods for you... "bite-through" skin (vs. rubbery/fatty) has been an obsessive goal for what is sent to the judging tables for a while now. One method I recall is to peel back the skin, scrape out some of the fat, and reapply the skin w/toothpicks which can also be used to stretch it out a bit.

Jerry

Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

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I finish my smoked chicken legs on a hot grill to finish rendering out all the fat. Usually use the gas grill for simplicity sake. Works very well, and its easy.

This is what I do as well. Not too hot since the grill and fat leads to flair ups but hotter than the smoker.

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I start the chicken on the top rack of the grill, or over indirect heat skin-side up to avoid said flare-ups. Once the fat has mostly rendered out, I'll move them down/over to the hot grill and finish them off skin-side down to really crisp up the skin.

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Then you've got the option of possibly even battering the skin....

You are evil; but in a good way :biggrin:

Ah, well, a life without fat isn't worth living, is it? I've always maintained that the vehicle we're given for this life isn't meant to be returned in good shape.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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You could always pass a kitchen torch over them after they're smoked.

 

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– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Several years ago a Weber rep was domo-ing a kettle. He fired up a charcoal chimney of natural lump charcoal and dumped it into the middle of the lower rack. No other charcoal was used, just the one chimney full. He may have thrown in a chunk of wood, I usually do. Pecan or apple.

The chicken was cut into the standard 8 pieces and places around the charcoal. I think they used some rub. Took about 45 minutes or so and the chicken was done perfectly. Indirect heat but still pretty hot.

This is now my go-to method for barbecuing chicken, skin is crisp and the meat is done all they way through. For me, this is a much better process than smoking at 250.

That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

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I agree with Mike the chilihead. I find that, for my taste, slow smoking poultry like you do pork or beef gives you too much smoke that overwhelms the meat and leaves you with the rubbery skin issue. I've been grilling chicken more or less as described in Mike's post for years. Indirect around the fire to start, I move more over the coals as the fire cools off somewhat. Gives a gentler, grill smoke taste and nice crispy skin. You can baste with a little barbecue sauce thinned down with vinegar at the end. Changes the skin texture a bit, not as crispy, but nice caramelized sugar char.

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A long time ago I smoked chickens that i brined in a cabinet smoker I made myself. Hard-wood chips in a heavy pan on an electric 'hot-plate' for the smoke.

it was a sort of low and slow sort of thing. I then took the chickens and placed then in a low oven to 'finish' ie get fully cooked.

I then bagged them and chilled them and gave them to friends. 'The best smoked chicken' they all said. True.

but as you say, the skin was left on to keep the chicken moist. no one would eat it.

moving on: consider 'beer can chicken' on a grill. webber works very well for this as you set it to 350 F. it need not be a beer can. the chicken just sits on the can and 1/4 of the can is filled with water/beer and it provides moisture for the breast to stay moist.

you brine or not. you do a 'skin rub' or an 'under the skin butter/rub with some rub on the skin itself.

you add hard wood to the webber grates for smoke, and once smoking you add the BCC.

you cook at 350 for 1.5 hours. it needs no 'mop'. You can add a 'finishing sauce' for a few minutes at a higher temp you like to get a glaze.

leave those extra chickens you want to keep w/o that last glaze. it gets gummy then next day.

those chicken you chose to keep you refrigerate for a day or two. It wwill give you the most astonishing meat for other things. the meat actually improves in the refrig.

not the skin that has the finishing sauce on it. eat those right a way.

happy cooking

Edited by rotuts (log)
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