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First-time chicken is rubbery

Midnight SmokerMidnight Smoker Posts: 273
edited 3:07AM in EggHead Forum
I just did my first chicken in my new Green Egg smoker. The consistency was a bit rubbery - moist but not juicy, and not as tender as I'd have liked. It was almost like cooked ham or a hot dog. I'm trying to figure out what I did wrong.[p]I used the set-plate indirect cooker and cooked it to an internal temp of 180F. The oven temp stayed around 350F to 400F and it took about 3 hours. I used the beer-can method of putting an almost-full can of beer in the cavity and standing it on the end. I smoked with wet alder and mesquite with the basic green egg brand seasoning.[p]The taste was great, but how do I get the juicy, tender consistency?


  • MidnightSmoker,
    Sorry I can't be much help with beer-can at those temps but I've done a slower 240-250 for about 4 to 5 hours (until temp) and it always comes out moist and tender. FYI if you've got more time on hand.

  • Thank you for the response. I will try lower and slower next time.

  • MidnightSmoker,[p]Never cooked chicken indirect or with beer can, but 3 hours at 350 to 400 degrees sure seems like a long time. Any chance your temp reading on the chicken wasn't acurate? I think it's possible you may have over cooked and thus made meat rubbery and not juicy...[p]I would try this cook again sometime cook at an 1 hour+ max. [p]Just my $.02,
    bean town

  • It did take 3 hours to reach an internal temp of 180F. Maybe I inserted the thermometer the wrong way? My only experience is with fish so I'm not really sure.
  • KevinHKevinH Posts: 165
    MidnightSmoker,[p]Try switching to spatchcock chicken. It's practically guaranteed. Don't cook for more than an hour at 375 degrees, unless you have a huge chicken.
    [ul][li]Dead Simple Spatchcock Chicken[/ul]
  • billygbillyg Posts: 315
    At that temp (350-400)it would seem that an hour and a half or a little more would be fine. Rub the skin with your favorite rub and then rub on a little honey or apricot or peach preserve. The skin should be crispy and the inside moist. It just sounds like you over cooked it. Next time don't use the plate setter, just put the beer can in a foil srapped pie pan.
    Sunday I slow cooked a beer can chicken, but had the temp at 225-250 for 3 1/2 hours. Turned out great. The chickens I use are small fryers about 3 to 3 1/2 lbs. Also just use about a half of a can of beer (at room temp)with the top having multiple church key openings (3 plus the pop top) Try and take the chicken out of the fridge about an hour before cooking and put it in a nice cool corner out of the sun. No more than an hour. If you feel apprehensive about this last step don't do it, it should still turn out fine.
    Try spatchcocking a bird next. Bone side down over direct heat at 350 for an hour. No need to turn, check internal temps on all before serving.
  • MidnightSmoker,
    What kind of chicken did you use, A fryer/broiler or a roaster? The fryers are a lot smaller and tend to work a lot better for this methode. A fryer should not take that long at those temps.

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,020
    was it a frozen chicken with solution added or a kosher bird, both these things will effect the texture of the bird. make sure to buy a fresh bird. i cook these until the breast temp is about 165, no higher. you want that can almost empty, 1/4 full. with too much beer in the can it will take forever to get it boiling. try soda or juice with added spice,i like it better than beer with gingerale my new favorite. keep the cook direct and 375 to 400 for roast chicken, this will give you a crispier skin verse a low temp cook with rubber skin. i think your problems were too much beer in the can and over cooking.

  • MidnightSmoker,[p]Personally, I cook my chicks at 325 and cook to 165 rather than 180. Always turns out perfct and moist as can be.[p]Buster.
  • While I'm no expert, I've had mixed results with chicken. Cooked one using the vertical roaster this weekend and it was terrible, yet the one before that was great. I've come to the conclusion that it's not me but the chicken. It was a Perdue oven stuffer that I got on sale and in the past they have been inconsistant. I'd try again using the same method with a different brand of chicken and see if the results are the same.
  • MidnightSmoker,[p]Whole chicken is something I do at least once a week. I did one last Friday using the Weber "Beer Can Chicken Roaster". It was a 5+ Lb fryer set on an inverted plate setter with grid on feet. For the first 20 minutes of so, used a 375+ dome temp and finished at a 350 dome. It was done in 75 miutes and was juicy. I don't eat skin, so I didn't oil it for a crisp skin. The only time I have had a chicken take more than 90 minutes is when I slow smoke 'em at 250 or so. That takes several hours. My guess is too much beer like fishlessman suggested, your temp was a lot lower than the therm said or a combiation of the two. When placing a probe in a chicken, the risk of misplacement is reading too hot, not too low. Even if you pushed it into the beer.[p]Chickens are on sale here for .57 per Lb, so I'd be happy to cook one up this week and photo document the entire process for you. Just let me know.[p]BP
  • BabyBoomBBQ,[p]I would agree as 3 hours is much too long at 350 and even if the temp. was closer to 250 I'm not sure that it would be recommended...[p]You may want to clarify by calibrating your thermometer to begin with. You can certainly stick with your beer butt cooking method but the spatchcock chicken is like clockwork! Check it out and give it a try…[p]
    [ul][li]Spatchcock Chicken[/ul]
  • JimEJimE Posts: 158
    I'm with fishlessman. I'm betting the chicken was labeled "injected with up to 15% broth" or something like that. I avoid that stuff at all costs.... you never know what kind of taste and texture you are going to get.

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