Chicken Attempt #1

Categories Barbecue0 Comments

Most of my grilling equipment managed to come in this weekend — a new dual probe thermometer, a slow n’ sear and gasket. Oak wood chunks came on Saturday.

Gasket went on Saturday after I cleaned the lid in the bathtub. Used a multipurpose cleaner that I hoped wouldn’t be toxic. In any case, I’m still alive and it’s Monday.

Since the weather was pretty nice on Sunday, I went ahead and attempted to smoke chicken wings for the first time. I ended up spending most of the afternoon cleaning the grill with grill cleaner that I got from Bed, Bath and Beyond (apparently from the Beyond section). It worked okay, I think I managed to get about 70 percent of the grease out — the remainder was mostly on the top edges and the super chunky parts. Managed to use more than half a roll of paper towels.

Didn’t do too much preparation for the chicken, just straight lemon pepper as always.

After several misadventures regarding my thermometer (I didn’t have the right screwdriver to open up the back to install batteries), I finally got it working. Mostly just used the grill temp probe, which got thoroughly smoked.

I got the slow n’ sear in place and tried to light up the coals as per the instructions given. It ended up being a bit too windy so I just lit them in the chimney before putting them in the corner. I need to get the starter cubes — they’ll probably light more easily and won’t cause as much ash as lighting random sheets of paper on fire.

From there I put about a 4/5ths of a chimney’s worth of coals since we weren’t doing a full 10 hours cook. Chicken wings were expected to take about an hour or so. I somewhat haphazardly placed the wood chunks — In the future, I’ll have to figure out how to space these apart to get consistent smoke and to maintain an even temperature since they eventually ignite.

I waited until the temperature hit around 250 before putting the chicken on — at which point I remembered that I had forgotten to fill the water pan. I ran upstairs, boiled some water and brought it back down.

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After that it was mostly smooth sailing. I opened up the lid a few times to configure the bottom air vents — I’ll need to get a sharpie or something so that I can do that without looking next time.

Though I was aiming for a temperature of 250, I couldn’t seem to get it any higher than 225, which is the target temp of the slow n’sear, according to the instructions. I opened up the vents to try and heat things up, but it really only appeared to drop the temperature even more. I’m gonna have to figure out how to get the temperature up if I want to do briskets — not sure how I’ll be able to hit 275. At the very least, the temperature was mostly stable sans my attempts at fiddling with it, ranging between 219 to 226ish.

After an hour or so, we took the chicken off after a brief sear over the hot portion of the grill. The ones farther away were a little underdone (140 degrees or so), but the searing should have brought it up high enough. It was bit dark to make sure I wasn’t burning anything though.

Overall, the results were okay. Jennifer seemed pretty impressed at least. The wings definitely have a pronounced smokey flavor, though maybe even a bit too much. I had the brief impression that I was eating chicken ham.

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Lessons learned:

  1. Need to get starter cubes.
  2. Have to try lining up the wood chunks/spacing them out correctly. Have to make sure there’s not too much smoke?
  3. Having the dual probe through the vents can make it hard to maneuver the lid. Luckily Jennifer was around to help me hold stuff. I’ll have to think more about how to handle this. However, for longer cooks, I shouldn’t have to move stuff around too often.
  4. Gonna have to figure out how to get the temperature above 225. Less water maybe? Marginally more air? I may have also opened up the vent too much.
  5. Supposedly, the slow n’ sear can hold a temp of 225 for up to 10 hours, though it looked like we had run through half the coals already. (I might just be overthinking it though).
  6. I’ll have to try marking vent locations with a sharpie so I can avoid having to open the lid (and get blasted by smoke).
  7. Need to read the instructions for the thermometer better, couldn’t get it to resync after a while for some reason.
  8. I should probably take better pictures.

The weather next weekend doesn’t look too great. Snow is expected on Friday. I may try to do pull pork next next weekend.

 

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