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Smoked Beer Can Chicken

July 30, 2007

A couple of weeks ago, while searching for something I no longer remember, I ran across some homegrown software for the Stoker called StokerLog. It looked pretty neat, and I planned on running it for my next BBQ session. Days became weeks, and although I didn’t have the time for some slow cooking, I really wanted to give the software a spin. So I gave beer can chicken a go. It turned out fairly well- here’s a screen grab just before pulling the chicken (click for full size):

Its showing the Stoker was set to maintain 350F and to alarm when the food reached 175F. The graph charts the fire temp (red), food temp (gray), and fan cycles (blue). Ignore the data before about 17:20, I was fooling around with things… I’ll absolutely use StokerLog for most cook sessions going forward- thanks Amir!

I won’t however be doing a beercan chicken in my smoker again, due to some limitations in my setup.

Cons:

  • My small setup didn’t allow for a vertical chicken and placing the drip tray far enough away from the coals. So the drippings essentially vaporized, giving the chicken a slightly burnt-fat taste on the skin.
  • It also meant no pan drippings to make a sauce.
  • Lastly, a 1 hour smoke session wasn’t enough to penetrate the skin, so the flavor wasn’t all that different from an oven roasted chicken.

Pros:

  • It kept the heat out of the kitchen! On the hot summer days, why add more heat to the house?
  • It was a nice proof-of-concept. The terra cotta pot and Stoker held the temp within 0.6% at 350F. Impressive. I can’t wait to see how stable things will be at a relatively cool 225F next time.

Here’s the result- tender, slightly smoky goodness:

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