I believe a dry brine requires salt. However, drying overnight uncovered in the fridge should have been a huge help. Also the initial quality of the bird is a huge factor. Some of the big brands sold at grocery stores is loaded with extra fat under the skin which is problematic. I often raise the temperature to 400 to get crispier skin in the last 1/3 of the cook. Also I utilize the upper rack if possible as the heat rolls off the top of the cooker which helps in the crisping. I’ve done tons of whole birds and love me some chicken. I like spatchcock method because it allows for the skin to have maximum exposure and will cook faster and more evenly. You can even cook skin down for a portion of the cook to help with your issue. Just keep at it and make incremental adjustments until you find what you like. Recipes are simply guidelines for ballpark results. Every bird is different as are the other proteins. The journey can be part of the fun. Sounds like it was a good start to me. EnjoyWell, just did the chicken this evening.
I followed these guidelines, going for the dry brine on a rack in the fridge overnight. The next late morning I wiped the salt off the now-dry skin an put it back on the rack in the fridge. I put mesquite into the Traeger and set it to 325; while it was heating I put a rub on the chicken (Penzey's 33rd and Galena, which has no salt).
I have Meater thermometers, so I put two in the chicken (breast and thigh) along with the Traeger's probe, because why not. Oiled the grate and cooked.
I went by temperature, not time, so I pulled it when both Meaters had hit 165, confirmed by several spot checks with my Thermapen (about an hour and a quarter). Strangely, though the Traeger's probe was roughly parallel to one of the Meaters, it read >10 degrees higher. I suppose it could have somehow been right below the skin but I hadn't thought so--I even removed and reinserted it to be sure.
Gave the chicken a rest and carved.
The meat was tasty--moist and flavorful, and I could taste the smokiness. The skin was a big disappointment though; I've read others who've said that theirs was rubbery, but my chicken's was like leather. I guess the salt really dried it out but the grill never crisped it. My cardiologist would probably be pleased that I skipped the skin, but I do enjoy having a bit. Eating this skin, though, would have been masochistic.
Usually, my favorite spatchcock chicken recipe is this one from the NY Times (sorry, paywall). Fabulous results--crispy skin, drippingly moist interior. I don't know if this can be translated to the Traeger.
Ah I see. No salt after the dry brine. Sounds like a good plan to me.I did a dry brine overnight with kosher salt mixed with ground black pepper, only wiping it off with a damp paper towel late the next morning (about 18 or so hours later), and let the skin dry off (from the damp towel) for a few hours.
The chicken I had was from a local farm.
I'll try raising the temp the next time.
Traeger grills are EXTREMELY good at cooking chickens (and for that matter turkeys). In fact, the best poultry I’ve ever had has come out of my Timerline.Brand new to Traeger, and I was thinking of doing a whole chicken--mainly because I already have one from a local farm in my freezer that I'd been meaning to use.
I've come to like doing whole chickens in my Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven (from the Instant Pot company)--they call it an air fryer but it looks like a cube-shaped toaster oven. For whole chickens and the like it has a rotisserie attachment, and it does a great job of roasting an up to almost 4-pound whole chicken in about an hour, moist inside, crispy skin.
From what I've been reading here, it's not so easy to do a whole chicken on a Traeger (I have a Pro 575). You need to spatchcock it, and people still report getting rubbery skin. Some advice has been to skip the smoking step and do it all at about 350 to ensure a crisp skin.
Presumably, one benefit to doing a chicken in a pellet grill is some smokiness. I suppose the question isn't can I do a whole chicken in the Traeger, but should I?