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Avoiding Drip Smoke & Taste with Direct Heat?

Hello All,

I did my first spatchcock this weekend and was generally happy with it.  I followed the recipe on the NakeWhiz site and cooked it direct.  The only thing I didn't care for was the smell and the taste of the smoke that was created from the drippings hitting the lump.  I like cooking direct to get that caramelized effect and a little char, but the taste from dripping burning in the lump. 

I used my AR and had the chicken at the felt line.  Maybe the height doesn't matter because drippings drip and hit from any height.   So, is there any secret to doing a direct cook without that smokey taste from the drippings hitting the lump?  I mean, if I put a drip pan below the chicken, I'm effectively going indirect, right?   In fact, I figure I'll try indirect the next time I do a spatchcock.  



  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 8,347
    edited March 2013
    Yes, a drip pan below blocks the direct infrared from burning lump, it is an indirect cook. When you spatch a yardbird, cut the backbone out, remove the "Pope's nose" and trim the fat from the thigh/body joint. Drop the heat to 350 stabilized dome and grill bone side down for most of the cook, flip it for colour if you want near the end. 
    Delta B.C. - Move over coffee, this is job for alcohol!
  • Mattman3969Mattman3969 Posts: 8,056
    Same as Skiddymarker


    2008 -Large BGE. 2013- Small BGE and 2015 - Mini. Henderson, Ky.
  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    I cook my spatchcocked chicken indirect -- and since i use "basically" a foil pan under the chicken, i get some smoke, but i really think it adds to the taste.  And it doesn't smell offensive to me.  Since this method turns out a chicken in about 45 minutes, the heaviest smoke period lasts about twenty minutes.  If you cook indirect, with a water pan under the chicken with water, you might reduce the smoke quite a bit!!  
  • ChokeOnSmokeChokeOnSmoke Posts: 1,914

    Indirect, 400 dome, 40 minutes, crispy skin, Nice!
    Packerland, Wisconsin

  • Crispix49Crispix49 Posts: 191
    Throw a chunk of wood on there...the wood smoke will mask the grease smoke taste
    Atlanta suburbs
    Large & Mini owner
    UGA Alum - Go Dawgs!
  • MrCookingNurseMrCookingNurse Posts: 4,628
    I have never understood why people get an egg and worry about drippings messing up food. What did you do on your old grill? Drippings feel every cook.


  • mb99zzmb99zz Posts: 183
    It's just personal taste I guess. My other grill is a gas grill and i don't get that smell/flavor grilling on It wurh direct heat. It's not that the smoky taste from the drippings was horrible, but I would prefer it not to be there. It sort of reminds me of the bad smoke smell when you first light an egg.

    I did add a little cherry to the fire when i cooked the spatchcock chicken and that flavor was awesome --- but I could still detect the smoke I don't like. Next time I will try indirect.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,020
    did you smell the smoke before the bird went on, really smell it to see its burning clean, until i started doing that chicken absorbed that slightly off smoke like a sponge, i dont get that taste from the drippings, its from the lump not burning perfectly. dont just look at the smoke, really get as close to it as you can and smell it
  • I trim the fat and go raised direct & let the drips fall where they may.
    Flint, Michigan
  • jlsmjlsm Posts: 982
    +1 on trimming the fat, the flaps around the openings and the hunks near the thigh. 
    Owner of a large and a beloved mini in Philadelphia
  • FockerFocker Posts: 8,293

    You could also go indirect for 45 min, pull the platesetter or indirect stone and finish with a direct or raised direct sear to crisp and carmelize.  Most of the fat is rendered by then.

    When you use a drip pan you would be shocked at how much grease chicken produces...nasty.  It has nothing to do with the lump when you are 350+

    I'm with you man.  I pick up the acrid, nasty, off flavors created by the burnt grease.  Maybe we are supertasters?  :))

    Quad Cities
    "If yer gonna denigrate, familiarity with the subject is helpful."

  • robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,907
    edited March 2013
    I go direct raised on the top level of the AR.  350 dome usually 1 hour to 160 breast/180 thighs. Comes out good. I did try to cook one once with no rub and I can taste that drippings flavor but usually the coffee rub hides it well.  Also the Dizzy Pig Raging RIver rubs hide it too.

    LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,

    Garnerville, NY
  • mb99zzmb99zz Posts: 183
    Focker said:

    I'm with you man.  I pick up the acrid, nasty, off flavors created by the burnt grease.  Maybe we are supertasters?  :))

    I like it.  That's my excuse.  My wife would just say I'm picky :)  I'm wondering if perhaps I didn't burn the lump long enough.  I'll try it again...cause it's fun to do so :)
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