Chicken turned out poorly - But why?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by brywd, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. brywd

    brywd Newbie

    I'm fairly new to smoking our meals and overall have had success on most attempts to date, but last week I had what I think everybody would agree was a fail if you could have tried it out for yourselves. I think I set myself up for failure from the beginning on this but was hoping for some answers as to how to make sure this never happens again.

    So the bride and I were in Costco and I decided to do some wingets on the smoker and we grabbed a giant bag of them from the frozen section. I'm assuming this might have been mistake number one for some reason but we've always had good luck in the past on the BBQ with these.

    I made up a brine with water salt and brown sugar and soaked the wingets for about six hours in the fridge. Not wanting to make up a rub I grabbed a store bought poultry seasoning bottle from the pantry and gave them a good coating. Pleased with myself at this point I put them in the smoker with the temp. At 225f. For wood I used Apple because we were hoping for a light smoke taste.

    After they were cooked they were pulled from the smoker and placed on a Weber Gas grill to make the skin look the way my wife prefers. If chicken has what she calls "Jiggly" skin she won't eat the chicken. The wingets were on the gas grill which was running at around 450f if the the gauge on the front was to be believed for about two minutes per side. When I pulled them off they looked and smelled amazing.

    So we sat down for dinner and with the first bite I knew this was an effort wasted if I didnt learn what went wrong. The wings were so salty that I coulnt eat them. I ended up scraping all of the rub off of the few I choked down. That made them edible but the texture of the meat was like eating rubber. I've never experienced this before, but the meat was chewy and a weird texture. The next morning my watch was too tight to wear I'm guessing from taking in so much salt. Two full shelves of wings on my smoker were tossed in the garbage as a result of screwing this up so badly.

    So does anybody have input to what went wrong here? THX

  2. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Store bought rubs are notoriously high in salt. The wings also were likely already injected with a salt solution, so brining just added more salt. The texture could be any number of things, over brining, under cooking or maybe they were just badly processed at the factory. Try again with a home made rub and a lighter brine. You'll get there!
  3. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    gotta agree. if i brine i never use store bot rub. the combo is too salty. i just make a quick rub with brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, n whatever i feel like, but no salt.. this takes 2 minutes.

    since i often brine, i'm using up my store bot rubs but won't replace them.

    when you buy poultry, read the label. if it's been injected, don't brine. pretty much every turkey i see has been injected n many chickens too.

    not sure why they were rubbery. i'm sure someone here knows.
  4. most chickens are enhance, means that they are already soaked in a salt water solution. you can raise the temp up on chicken to at least 275-325 degrees, that will help. learn to make a salt free rub. if you need help there is a lot here, just go to the nav bar on top of page, or search google for a salt free rub.

  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Did you check the wing temps with a therm.... at 165-170 they should have been good....

    In the future, when making a brine, I add the weight of the meat to the weight of the water and add 2% salt so the meat doesn't get over salty....   Enhanced meats screws everything up when it comes to additions of salt...

    Rubbery meat ???   could be it was dehydrated from the salt....  don't know for sure.... 
  6. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I always use fresh wings................
  7. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Some bags of frozen wings are already "breaded" ... are you sure they weren't ?? when in the store again look at the same bag and see if they were already "enhanced" or "breaded" .... I agree that store bought rubs are nothing but salt and MSG's ( I hate em)...
  8. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I have had good success brineing injected poultry. It depends on the solution that they are injected with. A butterball turkey, for instance, is enhanced but not overly salty so it can still be brined. 

    You have to be careful on the brine time. A small cut like a winget that potentially was enhanced probably only need 1-2 hours in the brine.

    Everyone is right on point with the salt comments. My wife and I are not big on salty food so I always make my own rub. It amazes me at what a lot of people consider to be an acceptable salt level.
  9. brywd

    brywd Newbie

    Thanks for the replies guys.  To answer a couple of the questions...  Yes I used a thermopen and yanked them when the temp reached 165f.   Second, I never knew that chickens were already injected in many cases and didn't need brining.  This step was way out of the norm for me and added time and effort and truthfully I was just trying to cross from just burning food on a grill to the next level.  That'll sure be something I check in the future though and brining will be for the right reason and not to just say I did it without understanding when and why to do it.  3rd I certainly would have never guessed the bottle that said poultry seasoning was basically a jar full of dirty discolored salt.

    The crazy part of this is that I had a large ziploc bag in the freezer with our favorite rub that I had made a few weeks ago but just grabbed that bottle of salt claiming to be a poultry seasoning instead.

    Superbowl Sunday I smoked some chicken using the homemade rub and it came out fantastic.  With the leftovers I made a pizza on the BBQ last night.  Two successes in a row cooking outside and getting' some confidence back.

    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  11. red dog

    red dog Smoking Fanatic

    Glad to hear you followed up with a success. I always check the ingredients on seasoning  labels.  If the first thing listed is salt beware! I know a lot of people brine all their poultry but I never brine small pieces.

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