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For lunch today I had planned to smoke a chicken. As it turned out, my Gran Daughter wanted one so, I wound up smoking two.
Prepared the chickens by doing all the thawing and trimming Friday. Made my brine using this recipe:
1/2 cup Morton® Coarse Kosher Salt
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon allspice, ground
1 cup sage, fresh, whole
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon ginger, ground
6 cups water
8 cups ice, crushed or cubed.
1. Combine ingredients for brine, except ice, in a large stockpot.
Saturday found me removing the chickens from the brine and rinsing under cold running water. Left them to drain then patted dry. A generous coat of extra virgin olive oil was applied all over both birds. Loosened the breast skin and put oil in there.
Then comes the rub. I used Lawry’s Chicken & Poultry Rub. It has an aroma and flavor that I really like. Wrapped in plastic wrap and returned to the refrigerator for another overnight rest.
7:00 A.M. Sunday morning I placed them on the top rack of my Smokin-it #2 and set the Auber controller for a cooking temperature of 250 degrees and with the probe in the breast of the smallest chicken it was set for 165 degrees internal temperature.
3 hours later the Auber was sending the “End” signal. Opened the smoker and checked both chickens with my instant read thermometer to find that they were done.
Moisture was dripping from both birds onto the floor of the smoker even though I did not add a water pan to the smoker. I have it is not needed for the brined chickens.
Low and slow is the catch phrase for today when you mention good BBQ.
It’s not always the best way to go. For example, poultry don’t seem to benefit from low and slow. Some of the thinner cuts of meat like ribs don’t get as much benefit from low and slow as a heavier cut like a Boston Butt.
Rule of thumb: The thicker the meat, the lower the cooking temperature. The thinner the meat, the higher the heat.
For the “Low and Slow” :
I keep my cooking temperature around 200°F – 225°F. The goal is to slowly raise the internal temperature of the meat to 180°F and then hold it there for about an hour. “Slow and low” is the mantra. Cooking time will be about 1.5 – 2 hours per pound of meat, but can vary based on thickness and whether or not it’s bone-in or bone-out.
I urge you to go to Amazing Ribs website and read the research.
With all the information on the internet why do we need another web site?
Three reasons come to mind:
1. While there are lots of very good sites for cooking, BBQ and smoking meats most of them are biased toward something. I am also biased. For many reasons that will become apparent later, I prefer the electric over the other types.
2. Most of the web sites that review smokers give the electric smoker a bad rap as being flat, tasteless and dull.
3. Most recipes are tailored to some other type of cooking appliance.
There are hundreds if not thousands of recipe site on the web. Why are we different?
All recipes are for a electric smoker. Most, if not all can be prepared with the cheapest smoker on the market. (Some will work better than others.)
There will be a limited number of recipes in each category. If you would like to submit a recipe, send email to recipes
I have owned many smokers and enjoyed some good food produced by each of them (also some that was not so good).
I used a cheap offset for several years until the firebox burned out. Mostly my fault for not cleaning after each use. Then I bought a Lang reverse flow smoker. Lots of improvement over the cheap offset. 1/4 steel holds the heat a lot better and the reverse flow has more even heat. I enjoyed this type of cooking for many years and would recommend a reverse flow stick burner to anyone that has the time, energy and desire to spend long hours preparing the meat and tending the fire. I takes a special person to be dedicated enough to sit up all night to produce really good pulled pork.
After a lot of research where I considered:
1. Cost. I had already invested well over $1000 in my current smoker so I wanted to limit my spending to around $500.
2. Set it and forget it. It had to be a smoker that would run for at least 12 hours unattended.
Item 2. To be able to run unattended for this long eliminated wood burners without some type of automatic feed system which puts it out of the budget.
A gas fired is subject to run out of propane unless you start with a full tank. Probability of having lots of partial tanks was not appealing.
Got it narrowed down to an electric smoker but which one? I started reading reviews and forums. Most all the cheaper electrics get bad reviews. Poor construction, leaky doors, thin insulation etc: I came across the form for Smokin-it brand smokers. There I found a group of people that all seemed to be pleased with their smokers and the company. The smoker is similar to two others, Smoking Tex and Cookshack. The Smoking Tex is just a little higher while the Cookshack is considerably higher.
If I was a young man and looking for resale value I would go with the Cookshack. But since I am 80 years old and only want a smoker that will do the job for the least amount of money, I chose the Smokin-it #2.
It is a good smoker right out of the box. However, it did not give me everything I wanted for a true “set it and forget it” smoker. It has a control that goes up to 250 which is not as high as I like for some foods. And it only allows you to cook by time unless you use a remote thermometer and then you must be available to turn off the smoker.
The total solution was to install a Auber WSD-1200GPH PID controller. This cost another $200 which brought my total cost to more than the $500 I had hoped for. But, it is total control. You can set it to do anything you like. For example: set it to cook at 225 for 10 hours and then hold temp @140 for x hours to give you time to get home from work. Or, you could have it cook at 275 until internal temp reaches 199 then drop back to 140 for safe food temp for any length of time.
What ever you want, it will do it. A true “set it and forget it”
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