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New user unhappy with BBQ chicken on Kamado.


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Hello, I've had my Kamado for about a year now and am making great steaks and ribs but have had very poor results from my chicken thighs.  My strategy with other grills is to cook them over indirect heat until done and then slather on the bbq sauce and continue cooking for 10-20 minutes.  This method has always worked great with both my charcoal Weber and propane grill.  With the Kamado however the skin comes out very rubbery with the meat underneath kind of dry.  I've tried cooking both indirectly with the plates underneath and also direct heat without the plates.  I've tried increasing the temp and decreasing the temp but still get the rubbery skin.  What am I doing wrong?  Or more importantly how do your do it right?

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:welcome: BrewinProf.  Crispy skin can be pretty elusive on a kamado largely, IMO, because of its moist cooking environment.  Making sure the chicken is patted dry, seasoned, and then rubbed with the quality oil of your choice helps.  Some cooks like to refrigerate the chicken overnight, uncovered, before seasoning and rubbing with oil.  I'm sure others here will have suggestions that work for them.

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2 hours ago, BrewinProf said:

  My strategy with other grills is to cook them over indirect heat until done and then slather on the bbq sauce and continue cooking for 10-20 minutes.  This method has always worked great with both my charcoal Weber and propane grill.  With the Kamado however the skin comes out very rubbery with the meat underneath kind of dry.  I've tried cooking both indirectly with the plates underneath and also direct heat without the plates.  What am I doing wrong?  Or more importantly how do your do it right?

From your description detailing  your cooking method, It sounds to me like your probably over cooking your chicken. I cook chicken to an IT of 165 and then pull it. The meat is never dry. If however, I cooked it to 165, then sauced it, and let it cook another 20 minutes, it would almost certainly come out dry. If you want to sauce your chicken simply take it to 140 or 150 IT, sauce it and then pull it at 165. I think that will take care of the dryness. Ps. I pull chicken Brest at 160 because they have less fat and do have a tendency to dry out. On the matter of dry skin. Try patting your chicken dry with paper towels and then letting it  air dry in the fridge uncovered  for about 2 hours prior to cooking.  I do this and then when the skin is dry, I give it a thin coat of olive oil, and sprinkle it with fine kosher salt. This works for broken down or whole birds. When I do a spatchcock whole bird, I do it on a 2 zone set up. I let it come up to say 140 on the deflected side and then flip it over and let it finish to 165 skin down on the direct heat side. The skin comes out much crisper, this way. Best of luck, half the fun it learning how to get closer and closer to the result you're looking for. happy cooking. 

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I definitely recommend that you buy an external-reading food thermometer, then use this to guide your cooking.  I bought a wireless unit at Home Depot for about $35.  It has one probe to tell you the oven temperature – the thermometer in the lid is almost certain to be wrong – and another probe to tell you the temperature of the food. Insert it into the thickest part of a representative piece of meat. (The sensor, according to the manual, is 3/4" from the end.)

 

Determine your "target temperature," then remove the meat from the grill 10ºF below that point. Wrap ... "tent" ... the food in aluminum foil and keep the temperature probe in.  Over the next fifteen minutes or so, the food temperature will rise that additional 10 degrees, as the temperature probe will confirm.

 

The key thing that I find about this is that it is absolutely predictable(P.S.: I "sear" in a cast-iron skillet on my stove.)

 

The key difference between "kamado" and "everything else" is that predictability.  Which does take a little bit of getting used to.  In my view, a kamado grill functions as a charcoal-fired convection oven.  With the same level of control.  With practice, you can literally set the thing at a temperature and watch it stay there for many hours without human intervention ... and still have charcoal left over.

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Give this thread a read. It really helped me get chicken skin crispy, especially on thighs. It’s harder to get crispy chicken skin on a Kamado because they don’t have the airflow that metal construction has. The ceramic also helps with moisture retention, which is great for the meat, but not for crispy skin. I cook my thighs indirect at around 425° and they turn out great, but use an instant read thermometer to make sure you’re hitting your target internal temp. Thighs are very forgiving. I’ve taken them all the way to 180° and they still were moist and tender.
 

Here’s one of my thigh cooks using the methods in the thread - nice and crispy! Good luck!

 

image.thumb.jpeg.5d054c84633379d182aab028f79af142.jpeg

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Get some ultra fine salt like popcorn or canning salt - almost flour like.  Season on the bone side with whatever you like, pat dry the skins and season with the salt.  Pull the skin tight and tuck it around under the bine side.  Place the thighs on the grill at around 375 degrees using an indirect setup bone side down.  Make sure you keep the skin tucked tight.  Don't flip it or mess with it but just let it cook until you hit your target internal temp.  I normally pull thighs at around 175 I.T.

I get crispy (almost air popped like) results doing this.  I believe the salt is key.  Also, do not use frozen, only fresh.  Good luck!

 

The last photo here gives you a good look.  I did add paprika to the skin on this cook for color but it is optional.

 

 

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14 hours ago, Ginger Ale said:

Looks different from the Bon Appetit photo...is yours spatchcocked?  

 

Must...try...

Yes, spatchcocked. The 12" Lodge CI is big enough but only just. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have dry brined (Salt/Pepper even mix'ish) overnight in the fridge uncovered for 24 hours, and it doesn't matter what you cook it in, it's going to be crispy because the salt is going to pull that moisture out of the skin.  I my Kamado I did a spatchcock chicken last week and the skin was amazingly crisp!  

 

 

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On 7/20/2022 at 4:40 AM, lnarngr said:

Also, try this. It's not exactly what you are trying for but it's very good:

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/no-fail-roast-chicken-with-lemon-and-garlic

20210419_213724.thumb.jpg.1ac0d3bc75e4bd3af8fb2a106251b2b1.jpg

I love to do pan roasted chickens, this one looks perfect. I use my lodge 13" pan and usually throw in some carrots I give a head start in the microwave and some asparagus which finishes up quickly. Fun cook. 

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