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1st cook - spatchcock - advice wanted

edited 8:40PM in EggHead Forum
So last night I fired up my new (large) egg for the first time. Following the advice of many around here, I spatchcocked my first chicken as my first dish. Turned out okay for the first time out, but I encountered a couple of things I would like some help / advice on. I used a chimney to start my fire and had a little trouble nailing 350* but finally did so. However, once I opened the lid to add the chicken (and a pan of veggies) my temp dropped to about 300*. I never did get the temp all the way back to 350*, even with both the bottom and top all the way open. I am assuming that I did not get my fire hot enough at the beginning or leave it at 350* long enough before adding the food??

That all said, the bottom of my bird was charred pretty badly (the rest was nice and juicy). Is this because of my temp issues above, or maybe my prep? I lighted oiled with EVOO all over and then applied Dizzy Dust. Sat in the fridge for about 5 hours beforehand. Direct heat, no drip pan. 3.5 lb bird.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Comments

  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
     
    You egg will go higher in temperature at any time, food off or food on. The problem is simple.

    Heat = Fuel + Air.

    I would think your air holes in the fire grate were blocked. Using a wiggle rod through the lower vent and wiggling to clear an air path will usually resolve these types of problems. You can see a picture of a wiggle rod here. Look about 1/2 way down the page Thirdeye Wiggle Rod

    The charring on the bottom of the chicken was due to more heat coming up from the lump than being radiated off of the dome. This is a common problem with folks cooking pizza.

    The heat from the lump can be radiant or direct heat. To prevent use less lump in the egg, or cook on a raised grid (again to get more distance from the lump) or cook indirect using a Plate Setter or a drip pan of some kind.

    Also, allowing the egg to become more stable will sometimes help. Sometimes it is important for the dome ceramics to be allowed to get to full heat before cooking.

    Another technique, if you notice the food burning on the bottom, turn the food over during the cook. Most I don't find a need to turn the food when cooking on the egg.

    GG
  • Cpt'n CookCpt'n Cook Posts: 1,917
    I don't know about anybody else but I always do a spatchcock indirect using a plate setter or firebricks. I generally go 400-450 degs and cook it 'til it looks done, I almost never check the internal temp of chicken even with my brandy new Thermo pen.
  • Have you checked your thermometer? Sounds like the cooker was hot (charred bottom) but the thermometer said otherwise....
    The Naked Whiz
  • I always either cook chicken on a raised grid or go indirect.

    I usually do chicken indirect to prevent charring. If i could watch it, I'd go direct (on a raised grid) and flip regularly.

    Check your dome thermometer by boiling a pot of water and put the probe in. if it doesn't register 212, there's a nut on the backside that allows you to adjust where the needle's pointin (just like settin a clock).

    You may not have had enough lump (you are using lump Charcoal?) always fill it to the top of the firebox. higher for longer or hotter cooks.
  • I now realize that at least one issue is that I was not using a raised grill (or going indirect). I toally missed that on The Naked Whiz's site. Are there any economical ways to raise the grid? I think I have maxed out my egg-related purchases this month!

    I also may not have been using enough lump. I only used what was in the chimney started.

    Lastly, I will have to check that thermometer. Could be issues there, too.

    Thanks to everyone for their replies!!
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
     
    You probably need more lump than just he chimney starter, but you don't need to fill the fire box full.

    As you can see here the lump is smller pieces and filled to well below the top of the fire box. The height is just above the air holes in the fire box.
    smalllumptst4.jpg

    smalllumptst1.jpg

    GG
  • Look great. Thanks again!
  • tonymarktonymark Posts: 16
    Raise your grill with two firebricks and another round grate (maybe an old weber grate would work). You may even use a cooling rack if not coated with something that can't take heat. Take an angle grinder to any old oven rack.

    More charcoal! Preheat to 500-600 F and then the temp will drop when adjusted. Put small layer of charcoal under paper under chimney started, it will light with the starter.
  • what I did was get an 18" weber replacement grid and added (3) 4 or 4.5" carriage bolts, nuts and washers. It sits right on top of my regular grid so I can do a double decker cook or put a barrier on the lower level for indirect cooking. I did this for awhile before I finally got a platesetter.
    08-22.jpg
    Wih three legs it'll never wobble.

    many folks get the grid and use firebricks to raise it.
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