Last Updated on: 23rd October 2022, 01:53 am
Resting is one of the most important factors that can affect the texture of the smoked chicken.
But there is much confusion about this topic due to a lack of information on the internet.
One of them is how long to let the chicken rest after smoking.
As per general guidelines, you should let your chicken rest for 15–30 minutes before serving it.
You will also need to be really careful about resting it for too long.
because it started to cool down and become hardened.
You should give the chicken enough time to rest so that the meat juices are redistributed thoroughly while avoiding letting it rest for too long.
Based on our experience, 15–30 minutes is a good range to rest chicken effectively.
Here are the main points of what we are going to discuss in this article.
- The chicken can be rested for 15–30 minutes, depending on size.
- You can use the faux cambro technique or an oven if you want to maintain the internal temperature of the chicken.
- Resting has many benefits, ranging from redistribution of meat juices to enhancing the flavor of chicken.
You should be careful about carryover cooking to avoid the chicken overcooking.
How long can you rest a chicken
As mentioned earlier, chicken can rest for 15–30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.
If you are smoking a smaller chicken, then 15 minutes will be enough, but in the case of larger birds , you need to give them at least 30 minutes to rest.
The size of the chicken is the main determinant of the time for resting.
The size of the chicken depends on the size of the cow or any other animal when it is butchered.
So, if the chicken is smaller, it will be softer and require less resting time.
During smoking, when the internal temperature of the chicken reaches the boiling temperature, the moisture starts evaporating.
It is also known as the stall phase.
So, due to evaporation, the moisture of the chicken is drawn towards the surface of the chicken.
Due to this, the deeper portion of the chicken becomes dry while the moisture is collected on the surface of the chicken.
If the chicken is sliced immediately after smoking, then the meat juices will spill out and affect the appearance of the chicken.
in addition to the meat juices , rub and spritz can also be present on the surface of meat. in addition to resting chicken after smoking , you also need to give it some time to sink in the rub.
That’s why we rest the chicken.
so that the moisture present on the surface of the chicken should sink in and be reabsorbed by the fibers of the meat.
This process varies depending on the size of the chicken, so it’s important to take the size into account before making the final decision.
What does “carryover cooking” mean while resting a chicken?
Carryover cooking means a continuous increase in the temperature of chicken after it has been removed from the smoker.
Carryover cooking usually occurs in the resting phase.
Depending on the size and texture of the chicken, the temperature can rise from 5 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
So it is really important to keep in mind that the cooking of chicken will not stop after you have removed the chicken from the smoker.
A good way is to remove the chicken 5–10°F before it reaches the target temperature .
For example, if you are aiming to cook a chicken at 190°F , then it is a good idea to remove the chicken at 185°F and place it for resting.
Otherwise, carryover cooking will result in an increase in temperature and overcooking of chicken.
Resting is really a crucial part of smoking.
You need to be careful about both the minimum and maximum range of the chicken to rest.
If you slice the chicken too early, it will result in the spilling of the meat juices.
If you let the chicken rest for a long time , it will continue to cook or cool down. So it is important to set a defined range for the resting of the chicken.
Depending on size, you should rest chicken for at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes. This range is really important for the chicken to rest.
You can’t rest each and every bird for 15 minutes or 30 minutes.
Take into account the size of the chicken and decide based on the ranges given above.
At the same time, you should not get overwhelmed by decision-making because it’s the only way to properly master smoking.
Why do we need to rest the chicken?
Resting is a really important step for chickens.
It is not an optional phase, but it is mandatory for every chicken to rest before slicing it.
There are several benefits of resting chickens.
Some of them are given below.
It allows redistribution of meat juices
Resting chicken allows the redistribution of the meat juices.
When chicken is allowed to rest, the meat juices sink in and are reabsorbed by the meat fibers.
Due to this, the meat juices will not spill out upon slicing.
Meat juices are one of the most important parts of smoked chicken .
This is usually the moisture present in the chicken.
When smoking chicken, the chicken is poked on the surface to check the color of the meat juices to check for doneness.
So you know that meat juices are present on the surface of chicken and spill out upon poking chicken.
But do you know from where these juices come?
The answer is that it is actually the moisture of the chicken that is drawn to the surface during evaporation.
It is drawn to the surface during the stall phase.
But once the chicken is done smoking, the flavor still remains on the surface of the chicken .
So, if the chicken is sliced immediately after smoking, the meat juices will spill out and affect the texture of the chicken.
It increases the tenderness of chicken
In addition to the redistribution of meat juices, resting also helps to make chicken more soft and tender.
The tenderness of chicken usually occurs for two reasons: due to carryover cooking and by retaining moisture if covered.
Carryover cooking is one of the most neglected phenomena in the smoking world.
After taking the chicken out of the smoker, it will continue to increase in temperature for some time.
This increase in temperature will break down the fibers of meat and make it more tender.
Secondly, if the chicken is covered during the resting, then it will retain the moisture of the chicken and cook it by steaming for some time.
It will help the chicken to become even more tender and juicy.
After resting for some time, the chicken will be soft enough to be pulled off easily.
enhances the flavor
Resting chicken also helps in increasing the flavor of chicken.
It’s like giving a final chance to the rub and other stuff to sink into the chicken completely.
The rubbed particles will sink deeper into the chicken along with the meat juices.
In addition, if you have applied sauce to the chicken by mopping during smoking, then resting will have an even greater effect on flavor.
The sauce and rub applied to the chicken will mix up and enhance the flavor of the chicken.
Should you wrap the chicken while resting?
Another hot debate topic in the bbq space is wrapping or covering chicken during resting.
There are thousands of schools of thought on this issue.
One prefers to cover the chicken while the other prefers to leave it uncovered.
And apparently, both of them are right.
There is no hard and fast rule about whether or not to wrap your chicken while it is resting.
It’s your personal choice.
There are benefits to both approaches, and you have to decide which one you prefer, depending on your personal choice.
Covering chicken during resting makes it more tender and juicy because it allows easier redistribution of meat juices.
In addition, it also cooks chicken by steaming for a while, which makes the chicken softer and increases its tenderness.
On the other hand, resting chicken without covering it helps us retain a better and crispy bark.
As mentioned above, while wrapping, the moisture trapped inside the foil can affect the bark of the chicken and make it messy.
So it’s a personal choice whether you want to cover chicken or not.
If you want a tender and soft chicken, then make sure to cover it.
If you want a crispy and good bark , then you don’t have to cover the chicken while it’s resting.
Is it bad to rest chickens for too long?
The simple and straightforward answer to this question will always be yes.
It’s a rule of nature that an excess of anything is hazardous, and so is the case with resting chicken.
You have to set a defined range for the resting chicken.
As a general rule, chicken should be rested for no more than 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, the chicken will start to cool down and become hardened.
So you should consider serving your chicken after resting it for a maximum of 30 minutes.
As discussed above, resting has many benefits, ranging from the redistribution of meat juices to making the chicken tender.
But if overdone, these benefits can turn into cons.
You should consider deciding on a range for resting chicken for only 30 minutes maximum.
The most common effect of resting a chicken for too long is that it will start to cool down and become hardened.
If your chicken is cooled down, then it will not be very presentable while serving it to guests.
You can avoid the cooling down of chicken by resting it in an oven or by the faux cambro technique.
But you might end up overcooking chicken if you rest it for too long.
You need to be really careful about the internal temperature of the chicken while resting it in an oven.
How to rest a chicken with the faux cambro technique?
The Faux cambro technique is one of the most effective for the resting of chickens.
It can help you store your chicken for up to 4–8 hours, depending on how effectively you carry it out.
The faux cambro technique for storing chicken may appear complicated, but it is actually quite simple.
Here is a step-by-step guide to resting your chicken with the faux-cambro technique.
- First of all , you should consider getting a good quality cooler that has no leakage.
- After that, fill the cooler with hot water. The concentration of the water depends on the size of the cooler.
But if you have a bigger cooler , then 3 gallons of hot water is enough.
- After that, close the lid of the pot of water and leave it for 30 minutes.
- Now line the cooler with clean towels. Make sure to line the towels effectively to provide insulation.
- After that , take your chicken from the smoker and place it on a table for a few minutes. It will help the chicken to breathe.
- Now wrap the chicken in foil, but make sure to not wrap it tightly.
- Lastly, place your chicken into the cooler and close the lid. Make sure to check for any leakage before leaving it out there.
By resting your chicken this way, you can easily store it for 30 minutes at its original texture.
You can store it for an even longer time, but it will start to cool down and get messy due to the moisture trapped inside the foil.
It is an effective way to rest your chicken because it will keep the internal temperature of the chicken constant.
By wrapping chicken in foil and placing it in a cooler, we basically minimize the chances of heat loss and increase insolation. by the you can also check our article on How long can a turkey rest after smoking? for more information
How to rest chicken in the oven
If you want to rest your chicken without cooling it down , then the oven is an effective tool to do that.
It can rest your chicken for up to 8 hours before serving.
It is usually used when you have finished your chicken hours before serving.
Although it is a good technique and can help you store your chicken for hours, there is still a risk when doing this.
While resting your chicken in the oven , you might end up overcooking it, which might affect the texture of your chicken.
If you’re going to rest your chicken in the oven, pick one with a low temperature of 160°F-170°F.
If you can’t find such a one, then make sure to find one with at least a lower range of no more than 180°F.
There are no complications involved in the process of resting your chicken in an oven.
You just need to set your oven at the lowest temperature and put your chicken into the oven.
You don’t need to wait for the oven to reach the desired temperature; rather, you can place the chicken inside the oven as soon as you remove it from the smoker.
While putting your chicken into the oven , make sure to place a temperature probe into the chicken.
It will help you to stay informed of the internal temperature of the chicken and avoid it overcooking.
If the internal temperature of the chicken exceeds 160°F , then you should consider removing it from the oven.
Is there a difference between resting and holding while smoking meat?
Usually, resting and holding chickens are confused with each other and used interchangeably.
You can even see pro pitmasters using these terms alternatively because there is no information available on such topics.
The difference between holding and resting chicken lies in the internal temperature of the chicken.
In resting, we cool down the chicken a little bit to allow redistribution of meat juices, while in holding, you need to maintain the internal temperature of the chicken for a longer time.
While resting chicken, we tend to place the chicken at room temperature to allow the meat juices present on the surface to sink back into the chicken.
Moreover, we do it for a maximum of 30 minutes to avoid cooling it too much.
While in the case of holding, we are more focused on maintaining the temperature of the chicken near 160°F to make sure the chicken is served fresh.
That is, we are more concerned with storing than with resting.
In short, resting can be done at room temperature to allow the meat juices to be absorbed back.
While holding, it should be done by faux cambro or by oven to make sure the internal temperature of the chicken remains constant.
Depending on the size, chicken should be rested for 15-30 minutes.
It will allow the chicken enough time to reabsorb the meat juices and enhance the flavor.
You should be really careful about resting chicken for too long because it can result in the hardening of the chicken. if you interested in learning mor then check out our article on How long to let the ribs rest after smoking?
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