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First time cooking whole chickens on my new XL BGE fail?

michigan_jasonmichigan_jason Posts: 1,299
edited May 2012 in Poultry

Ok, so I am BRAND NEW here, and first I want to say hello and introduce myself. My name is Jason and I am obsessed with smoking/grilling and finally got the grill I have wanted for years. I'm from the metro detroit area of Michigan and have a family of 4. I really look forward to learning from the masters on this forum. Thanks in advance for all your help.

 

So, now to my first eggsperience. I had 3 whole 6lb chickens given to me for a grill test. I did some research and attempted 2 sittin chickens, and one spatchcock. The spatchcock was injected and rubbed, the sittin chickens were only rubbed. One sittin chicken was lemon pepper rub, lemon juice on the sittin chicken, and onions. The other was a standard poultry rub, with beer in the sittin chicken and onions.

I cooked indirect at 375 and immediatley inserted my meat thermometer probe (kmart) into what I thought was the thickest parts of the breast. I left the grill alone and it seemed to be within one hour, the internal temperature of the breast was already at 165+ I inserted it into another part of the other chickens breast and it read the same if not higher. I pulled all 3 off the grill and closed my dampers. When plating and cutting into the chicken, I discovered that the chicken was pink in the legs and thighs and even the breasts were still mushy and the juices were pink.

I then put all 3 back on the grill, opened my vents to get the temp back up and cooked for what seemed to be another 30minutes. The weird thing is that the second time I put the meat probe into the chicken, this time being more careful as to where I inserted it, it read much lower and took longer to get up to temp. I am wondering if the meat probe being exposed to the grill dome temp made it read incorrectly, or what. I am looking for advice, tips, and or help, because I have guests over very frequently and do not want to look like a fool like I did last night. What gives?

thanks,

Jason



"Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."

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Comments

  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 9,362
    What follows come from my chicken eggsperience on a LBGE-I cook chix (spatchcock is the only way I do them now-but did do a few beer butt (aka sittin I guess) chix in the early days).  I go direct raised grid (cooking grid at the felt line at a minimum) at around 350-400*F, in-line with your cook temp.  They can take anywhere from around 55 mins-75 mins (depending on size of chix) to 160-165 in the thickest part of the breast, with the legs around 175-180 (with spatchcock I put the legs to the back as that is the hottest part of the cooking surface).  Your plan sounds like it should have worked-so my bet would be that you had a temperature indication problem that resulted in the too early finish.  You may want to test your meat thermo as well as check the calibration of your dome thermo.  I'm sure others will chime in-remember it is learning curve and the journey is never complete.  Welcome-
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs 
    Pit Barrel Cooker
    ABC- 
  • michigan_jasonmichigan_jason Posts: 1,299
    So maybe I stuck the probe in too far or not enough?



    "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."

  • Hey Jason, welcome aboard. It could be thermo related but I have another thought that would create this result: the spatch will cook way faster than the sittin. If you were only measuring the spatch and pulled all when it was ready, what you describe would be the expected result (done spatch and undercooked whole birds).

    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
  • Never mind- inreread it and you probed all of them. It's thermo related. Get a thermapen and you'll never have this problem again.
    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
  • michigan_jasonmichigan_jason Posts: 1,299
    i want to be able to insedt a probe and not bave to open the lid though, does the therma pen do that?



    "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."

  • No. Get a meverick e732 for that. That's the standard issue around here anyway. I have concerns about the quality but that's what I use too.
    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
  • twlangantwlangan Posts: 294
    I do spatchcock raised direct as described above and chickens turn out great. 

    Even boneless skinless breasts come out way better than off the old gasser. I'm not fond of them (wife prefers them), but they are definitely more moist off the Egg.

    Invest in a Thermopen - they are the best you can get. Very, very fast and accurate.
  • Doc_EggertonDoc_Eggerton Posts: 4,964
    Chicken can sometimes fool you when it comes to internal temp.  This was not a fail, it was a learning experience.

    XLBGE X 2, LBGE (gave this one to my daughter), MBGE and lots of toys

  • ChubbsChubbs Posts: 6,668
    edited May 2012
    You will also learn with this eggsperience spatchcock is the superior method. Much easier and tastier. This is coming from a guy who was doing beer can chicken for 13 years.
    Columbia, SC --- LBGE 2011 -- MINI BGE 2013
  • BYS1981BYS1981 Posts: 2,340
    My old man grew up in Allen Park. My uncle has been building Fords since he got home from 'Nam.
  • Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,526
    edited May 2012
    I have a cheap Sears meat probe (wired - no wifi).  I did the boiling water test and it reads 7* high.  Now I know and it works fine until I get something slicker (1 month to father's day :) ).

    A Themapen is very helpful in that you can quickly test several areas of the chicken while it is still on the grill.  Sometimes areas are colder than others and if you are taking it off the grill at 165*, I would test more than one spot.

    I spent my early years in the motor city.  Still have some family in the burbs.
    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
  • dlk7dlk7 Posts: 1,034
    Even though a lot of people on the forum like the spatchcocked method better, there are several of us that like the sitten chicken as well if not better.  Yes, it takes a little longer but you might want to try the sitten chicken with a nice rub.  My wife likes the sitten chicken better.  I'm just saying.

    Two XL BGEs - So Happy!!!!

    Waunakee, WI

  • burr_baby33burr_baby33 Posts: 503
    Everyone makes mistakes when starting out with your 1st BGE. It is part of learning and getting better at egging. I did same thing with my 1st chicken. Good calibrated thermometers are essential. Cook to temp, not time. In the beginning I remember my wife saying " the side dishes are ready, how much longer on the chicken?" NO RUSH! Get the chicken legs/thighs to 180-185 and you are good to go. After more hours on the egg you will be able to estimate " time til done" better but If it takes 20 minutes longer than expected, no biggie. Coming off the egg, it will be delicious.
  • MrCookingNurseMrCookingNurse Posts: 4,393
    Buy a maverick and a thermapen \m/

    You'll be set then! Just tell ur wife you only need one 100$ thermometer not 3 100$ pairs of black shoes


    _______________________________________________

    XLBGE 
  • michigan_jasonmichigan_jason Posts: 1,299
    i already ,onvinced tbe wife to let me get the bbq guru digi q dx2 thing, im just nkt sure if i need it.



    "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."

  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 9,362
    i already ,onvinced tbe wife to let me get the bbq guru digi q dx2 thing, im just nkt sure if i need it.
    Here's a different take on the above-the BGE with the lower vent and DFMT  will be able to hold stable temperatures in any range you plan on cooking.  Takes time and practice (part of the learning curve) but with a good remote thermo (mentioned above) you don't need the $$ electronic controllers.  Save or spend those $$ on accessories once you have cooked on the thing for awhile and have a better handle on how it performs/responds. Just an opinion and we all know what those are worth:)
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs 
    Pit Barrel Cooker
    ABC- 
  • troutgeektroutgeek Posts: 456
    Just wait for your first overnight cook, and you'll be thankful for that guru. Not needed, but extremely convenient.
    Large BGE - Small BGE - Traeger Lil' Tex Elite - Weber 22.5" One-Touch - Weber Smokey Joe
  • michigan_jasonmichigan_jason Posts: 1,299
    Wow, I need to stop responding to this thread while driving, my typos are hard for me to read lol. Thanks for the advice with the expensive guru model, I will hold off on that one. How do I test this KMart one that I already have to see if out is accurate?



    "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."

  • Put it in boiling water and see that it reads the proper temp for boiling water in your area. Just google boiling water temps and it will pop up (there are different temps at different altitudes)
    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
  • Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,526
    The water should be at a hard boil.  Insert the thermometer deep into the water, but make sure thermometer tip does not touch the pan.  you may want to use a set of tongs to hold the probe so you don't scald you hands.
    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
  • michigan_jasonmichigan_jason Posts: 1,299
    Will do it right now.



    "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."

  • Bear 007Bear 007 Posts: 343
     Thermopens are expensive but you will use it all the time, your cooks will get  much more consistant and better. They are almost a necessity.
  • BrownieBrownie Posts: 1,023
    Along with checking your probe cal I highly recommend checking your dome thermometer too. Cooking indirect can take longer than direct, and cooking at a lower dome temp (due to an inaccurate temp reading) will really screw up your cooking estimates. Just remember that mistakes with egging will teach you how to achieve great results. Hang in there, you'll figure this out.
  • michigan_jasonmichigan_jason Posts: 1,299
    I hope I do! Because I know this grill is amazing, I just don't like messing up.



    "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."

  • michigan_jasonmichigan_jason Posts: 1,299

    So I just tested the probe in boiling water, with water at a rapid boil it was at 210 degrees. It is damn near spot on. Now my next questions is this:

    Is there a right and wrong way to insert the probe, (such as not far enough in the meat, or too far in, exposing too much of the probe to the inside of the grill in turn getting a higher/lower reading?



    "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    to exaggerate: if you were taking the temp of a hot dog, you wouldn't come in from the side and try to guess where the center is, but rather slide it in from the end so you can be sure you are in the center.

    if you are temping the breast, go in from the thick end horizontally. 
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • michigan_jasonmichigan_jason Posts: 1,299

     

    to exaggerate: if you were taking the temp of a hot dog, you wouldn't come in from the side and try to guess where the center is, but rather slide it in from the end so you can be sure you are in the center.

    if you are temping the breast, go in from the thick end horizontally. 

    I understand that, but will the part of the probe that is not inside the breast gather an incorrect reading from the surrounding heat in the dome?



    "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    the entire probe does not take the temp.  in a thermapen it is the very end.  in other probes, it's the last eighth to quarter inch.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • michigan_jasonmichigan_jason Posts: 1,299
    Ohh ok, so seeing as how my probe read 210 in boiling water, it is safe to call it accurate. Why did it show 165-170 in the breast, and when I cut into it, juices were still pink? Also the leg/thigh was really pink still.



    "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."

  • tazcrashtazcrash Posts: 1,851
    the probe tip probably was in a 165-170 area. But the meat near the bone was less than that.
    Oh, and IME the thighs are always less done that the breast. 
    One great thing with a thermapen is we can slide it in, and watch the temp change to find where the less done is. 


    Bx - > NJ ->TX!!! 
    All to get cheaper brisket! 
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