Author Topic: To vent or not to vent  (Read 3779 times)

Offline Mplsgordon

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To vent or not to vent
« on: December 05, 2006, 08:14:12 pm »
I'm still on the uphill side of the learning curve, but I've had some decent results so far (and no lack of volunteers to eat the product!).

However, when I'm smoking chickens, I get really tough, rubbery skin.

I saw a post somewhere that suggested keeping the vent from half-open to full open when doing poultry to let moisture out, which will prevent the rubber skin. I had been keeping it only about 1/4 open to keep some heat in the box--it's well below freezing here.

But I'm also noticing that there's a frozen puddle of ice (under the leg that's slightly lower) that must be coming from the box. So should I open that vent more? And, is there a general guide to venting anywere?

Thanks!

Offline West Coast Kansan

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Re: To vent or not to vent
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2006, 08:23:51 pm »
Not sure about a general guide. I wish there was.  Moisture in the bottom of unit = open the vent more.

Any sign of smoke at the seam between the smoke generator and the opening in the tower = open the vent more. 

I will usually adjust mine to satisfy the no smoke at the generator guideline.

Crispy skins and the smoker just dont go together in my experience. Others here may have figured it out but I have not made it happen.

Several posts here discuss open roaster in the oven or pass across the grill to crisp them up...

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Offline manxman

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Re: To vent or not to vent
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2006, 01:16:31 am »
Quote
Crispy skins and the smoker just dont go together in my experience.


Yes, I agree, usually put mine in the oven to crispen up the skin. Also tend to have to keep the vent wider open for chicken than other foods, half to fully open as you say.
Manxman

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: To vent or not to vent
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2006, 02:36:59 am »
As stated, there are no general rules, except with chicken always open the vent further. The amount you need to open it will vary due to the different moisture levels in the chicken you purchase. I never have mine full open when I have chicken in it, I usually start off with it half open (some times 3/4 open if I have a lot of chicken), after being in the smoker for a while and a lot of moisture has escaped I will then close the vent down to about 1/4. You will not get a crispy skin doing this, but the skin will be edible; not tough and rubbery.

If you have the original BS, moisture dripping out of the bottom of the door, can cause more problems than messing up your deck. The circuit for the thermostat is located under the door, and that moisture has the potential to leak into that area, and the faceplate is prone to cracking. If opening the vent further does not resolve the problem of liquid dripping out of the bottom of the smoker, raise the front of the BS about 1/4" to keep the built up moisture in the BS.


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Offline West Coast Kansan

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Re: To vent or not to vent
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2006, 08:29:56 pm »
Habs, Thanks for the thoughts on the initial and later vent position on chicken.  I have not tried the ending position.

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Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: To vent or not to vent
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2006, 02:36:06 am »
WCK;

Most of the time this works. It all depends on how much moisture was in the skin, and/or if the poultry has been injected. It's hard to explain, but you can tell when most of the moisture is out by holding your palm over the vent. After testing the moisture content this way a few times, it becomes easier to judge. When doing chicken wings, 5 pounds or more (not advisable to do more then 5), I find I need to keep in open the full time.


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Offline MallardWacker

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Re: To vent or not to vent
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2006, 11:23:33 am »
Quote
Crispy skins and the smoker just dont go together in my experience. Others here may have figured it out but I have not made it happen.

Been doing chicken for a while now, especially thighs.  Usually "Mallards Trifecta", Smoked thighs, Old's Candi-zed Baked Beans, and Old's Mothers Raw Apple Cake, makes a great Sunday afternoon dinner.

Everyone stated it better than I, chicken needs to be vented more, for a while now I have been finishing my chicken on the grill...to me there is no other way...with or with out sauce.


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Mike
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Offline Wildcat

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Re: To vent or not to vent
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2006, 04:28:49 pm »
Those look exceptionally good.  I think next time I will finish on the grill vice the oven.  I like a hint of charcoal flavor anyway.
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Offline West Coast Kansan

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Re: To vent or not to vent
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2006, 06:02:22 pm »
MW they are beauitful things!

Habs, I know what you mean on feeling the smoke. A hand in the stack is old trick on guessing temp on prior smokers... my son nails it to a couple of degrees - that IS hard to explain.  I will give it a go. If the skin can be made edible that would be a success.

Something about MWs pictures that are hard to leave however.

Often times our chicken will be the bone in split breasts and I have started to just peel the skin off the top to wrap under to the bone side. Been telling myself it keeps moisture flowing past the meat. Doing this though the skin is sacraficed.

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Offline Mplsgordon

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Re: To vent or not to vent
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2006, 11:37:14 am »
Thanks for all the help, guys.

I have a good local source for very fresh  ;D (just kilt yesterday) chickens. They are very flavorful and very juicy--in the right places. My wife purchased two more for me yesterday, and this afternoon they will go in above some rather crappy rib tips that I'm smoking just because they're there and need to be done with.

I'll get the camera out and detail the operation and let you know the results.

Oh, and as for finishing on the grill: I'm guessing we're talking about a bit of sauce brushed on and then a quick trip on and off just to put a nice crust on things?