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Grilled Whole Chicken disaster

I am used to doing beer can chicken and it works out great everytime.  I tried do just do a normal whole chicken grill that ended up very bad.  It had a horrible smoke flavor and I am trying to find out why.  The key differences is that I used an inexpensive 100% natural lump charcoal and Mesquite wood chips.  I am thinking maybe I used too many wood chips.. or might the inexpensive 100% natural lump charcoal be the issue?

A secondary problem is that it came out very salty.  I used a creole rub 48 hours in advance.  If the rub sits that long, is it too long? 


  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 6,368

    " I am thinking maybe I used too many wood chips.. or might the inexpensive 100% natural lump charcoal be the issue?"


    Maybe and maybe.  Could be that each contributed and the combination was too much.  Chicken soaks up smoke extremely efficiently so it is easy to overdo it.

    I'll let others who are more knowledgeable weigh in on the salty rub question...

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  • DMWDMW Posts: 12,322
    Mesquite would explain the too smoky flavor. It's just too much for poultry. If i use any smoke wood for poultry in addition to the lump, its just a small amount of cherry, pecan, apple, etc. And having the rub on for 48 hrs could explain the too salty flavor. I usually let my chicken dry naked in the fridge for 24hrs or so, add the rub for just the last few hours before cooking.
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  • Mesquite is not a mild wood & poultry takes on a good bit of smoke flavor; that might be the problem. What creole rub did you use? I like Tony Chachere's but I use it sparingly because I don't particularly like a really salty flavor. Maybe the cheap cheap charcoal needed longer to burn off the VOC's? Maybe the ch


    Johnson, Navin R... Sounds like a typical bastard.


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  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,521
    Howdy Chickensteak, 
    As the others have said, mesquite was not a great idea. But that alone probably wasn't the reason for the acrid smoke. Whatever wood you use, you need to allow some time after you put the chips in. The first smoke coming off is very strong. It makes your eyes burn, and makes your food taste nasty. Wait until the smoke is thin, blue, and smells peppery. Good smoke should not make your eyes burn, and if you don't wait for the good smoke….you are destined for over-smoked food.

    Than creole rub that you tastes sounds like in must have been super high in salt. I usually don't rub more than a few hours in advance, but doubt the advance rub would have made the bird to salty. Was the bird already enhanced?
    Better luck next time!
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  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 6,174
    if listed, what's the sodium % on the rub label?
  • 350mg, 15%
  • jaydub58jaydub58 Posts: 2,128
    +1 with DMW; mesquite is pretty strong smoke source.  Rreal good for beef, not so much for chicken.
    John in the Willamette Valley of Oregon
  • Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,560
    Did you change how collect the drippings? If the beer can had a drip tray and grilling it didn't, you would get a lot more smoke and not all of it good.
    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
  • Sounds like you bought lump at Sam's.  I've tried it and not had that problem.  As for the rub, I use a local's which they say is low salt and have been happy with it.  Just got a container of Kirkland's No-Salt seasoning that I'm waiting to try.  I don't tolerate salt well.  
    Dan, Columbia,Mo.
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