Pulled Chicken?

Discussion in 'Grilling Chicken' started by tropez, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. Hey all.

    I want to try and eat a little healthier while smoking my own food so I'm trying to cut down on the fatty meats a bit. Usually I default to pulled pork for my cheap lunch meals but I think I want to try and do the same with chicken.

    I'm thinking of using white chicken breasts, no skin.

    Olive oil, then rub

    Then slow and low on the smoker, just like I would cook a pork butt.

    My question here is when should I pull the meat off the smoker (temp wise) for the best pulling. The last time I pulled my pork butt it was at 195 and a bit tough to pull, since then I read many others wait until 205. How about for chicken? Stick with the same temps? Use different temps?

    Any advice or tips is appreciated.

    -Tropez
     
  2. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    Poultry is definitley a different animal (no pun intended)...dont take your chickens that high especially white meat or it'll be dry. i would take the breasts to 165 and take them off. I've only smoked chicken breasts once and they came out a big dry...i've had better luck with whole chickens and then cutting out those breasts and pulling them apart. So you might want to look into doing whole chickens. you could save the dark meat for soups or something else.

    You could try putting mayo over the breast to act as a fat layer to keep is moist...the mayo should cook off but keep your breast tender. Just a thought
     
  3. Thanks for the tips.

    For some reason, the breasts and thigh quarters are always much cheaper around here vs. the whole chicken, very odd in this market.

    I may try the mayo route, or just try my go-to olive oil method as well.

    It's only chicken, I may just give it a go and see how things turn out.
     
  4. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    i would have suggested wrapping in bacon but your trying to go the healthy route :)
     
  5. You're killing me smalls! 
     
  6. Yeah, I know, but I like the conversation, it adds to the community I feel.

    Most all of this stuff can be found online via Google but it's the conversation with others where I find the enjoyment and the usefulness of these sites.
     
  7. redneck69

    redneck69 Smoking Fanatic

    to help the breast meat from drying out..try brining..here is a great one to try...you can eliminate the the kosher salt and use sea salt, also substitute coconut palm sugar for the brown sugar...you can also add a few more spices depending on what your taste buds like....i added some allspice and a few others to increase the flavors...if your doing breasts, brine for for 2-4 hours and thighs 1-3 hours...one thing the recipe doesn't say is to put in the fridge while brining....whole chickens you can do overnight in the fridge for up to 10-12 hours

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/a/tips-slaughterhouse-recipes-for-poultry
     
  8. Great tips, thanks.

    I always brine my chicken before cooking. It's Interesting that you have the breasts in the brine for that long though. The notes/guide I had for chicken pieces were to brine for 1.5 hours. I guess sitting the he brine longer is a good thing and can only add to keeping it moist? Should I worry about keeping chicken in the brine too long (or is that not an issue), not sure what happens there?
     
  9. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Use boneless, skinless thighs for pulled chicken. Season them, cook at 250°-275° with your favorite wood for about 1 1/2 hours, then put them in a foil pan covered in your favorite bbq sauce, seal the pan with aluminum foil and cook at 300° until they fall apart. About 1 1/2 hours more.

    Breasts will be too dry for pulled chicken, drumsticks have too little meat.
     
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Unless your Brine is really strong, more than 1/2C Kosher Salt per 1/2Gallon Water, I have found whole or parts, an overnight to 24 hours makes no difference in quality or saltiness. Breast meat is just not my first choice for pulling, it will be dry. Give it a shot it may be to your liking...JJ
     
  11. redneck69

    redneck69 Smoking Fanatic

    brining the chicken to long will make it like a sponge and the meat will have a really weird texture and also fall apart when pulled out of the brine mix...if you have a tenderizer that has spikes on it that punctures through the meat you don't have to brine near as long around 1/2 the time
     
  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I totally agree and have read that the stronger the brine the less contact is needed. Example, 2C salt to 1 gallon water with no more than 4 hours for whole birds...But...This really depends on the Brine strength. I use 1/2C salt to 1 Gallon of water and because of at emergency, wife went into labor, the chicken quarters sat in the brine 4 days...It was perfect, perfectly seasoned, not mushy or too salty. Additionally for the last 20 years I have never brined whole bird or any parts less than overnight, 12 hours, both at home and in several restaurants I worked. I have gotten rave reviews and even I have family members that request Roast Chicken over steak or seafood when they come to visit...JJ

    BTW...That is a Very Cool Avatar Redneck!
     
  13. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    X2

    i know you said you want to eat healthier but, Breast meat is too lean Jimmy's correct, I would use at least a 50/50 mix of thigh meat to breast meat.

    Whole birds for pulling would be your best bet, skin can be fried in a frying pan and added in thin strips to the sammy, much like bacon.

    How does pork compare to other meats for fat, calories and cholesterol? Pork today compares favorably for fat, calories and cholesterol with many other meats and poultry. While providing a greater amount of vitamins and minerals, many cuts of pork are as lean or leaner than chicken. Pork tenderloin, for example, is just as lean as skinless chicken breast and meets the government guidelines for “extra lean.” In total, six pork cuts meet the USDA guidelines for “lean,” with less than 10 grams fat, 4.5 grams saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving. Any cuts from the loin - like pork chops and pork roast - are leaner than skinless chicken thigh, according to USDA data. Pork steaks or roasts from the leg ("fresh ham") are also lean choices.

    Serving Sizes and Nutritional Profiles of Lean Meats

    3-ounce cooked serving:

    Calories

    Total Fat
    (g)


    Saturated
    Fat (g)


    Cholesterol
    (mg)


    LEAN CHICKEN

    Skinless chicken breast*

    139

    3.1

    0.9

    73

    Skinless chicken leg*

    162

    7.1

    2.0

    80

    Skinless chicken thigh*

    177

    9.3

    2.6

    81

    LEAN CUTS OF PORK

    Pork Tenderloin*

    120

    3.0 

    1.0

    62

    Pork boneless top loin chop**

    173

    5.2

    1.8

    61 

    Pork top loin roast*

    147

    5.3 

    1.6 

    68

    Pork center loin chop**

    153

    6.2

    1.8

    72 

    Pork sirloin roast*

    173  

    8.0

    2.4

    76

    Pork rib chop** 

    158

    7.1 

    2.2 

    56 

    LEAN CUTS OF BEEF

    Beef eye of round *

    141

    4.0

    1.5

    59

    Beef top round***

    169

    4.3

    1.5

    76

    Beef tip round*

    149

    5.0

    1.8

    69

    Beef top sirloin**

    162

    8

    2.2

    76

    Beef top loin**

    168

    7.1

    2.7

    65

    Beef tenderloin**

    175

    8.1

    3.0

    71

    FISH (*dry heat,**moist heat)

    Cod*

    89

    0.7

    0.1

    40

    Flounder*

    99

    1.3

    0.3

    58

    Halibut*

    119

    2.5

    0.4

    35

    Orange Roughy*

    75

    0.8

    0.0

    22

    Salmon*

    175

    11.0

    2.1

    54

    Shrimp**

    84

    0.9

    0.2

    166

    * Roasted,  ** Broiled,   *** Braised

    Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database Release 18 or the 2006 Revised USDA Nutrient Data Set for Fresh Pork.

    What about Ostrich, now this would be fun to smoke and is lower in fat than turkey.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2013
  14. Wow, that's much much longer than I have ever gone. 

    My brine was as follows:

    1/4 cup salt

    2 tbsp sugar

    2 quart cold water

    Then based on what was going in the brine:

    • Whole Chicken (4 pounds) - 4 to 12 hours

    • Chicken Pieces - 1 to 1 1/2 hours

    • Whole Turkey - 1 to 2 days

    • Turkey Breast - 5 to 8 hours
    • Cornish Game Hens - 1 to 2 hours
    I may have to give your method a try.
     
  15. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    In my opinion breasts don't make the best pulled chicken. Thighs are the best. I never brine my chickens. and I have never had a dry piece of chicken, unless I've over cooked it (happens to the best of us, especially when drinking and smoking...) For smoking skinless breasts I prefer to use a lower temp than I normally do. Right around 250* and cooked to 165*. Breasts do make the best chopped chicken sandwiches, wraps, etc. Thighs I'll run right up at 275* and cook to 165* foil and rest for 45min-hour then pull. Probably the unhealthiest part is what ever you slather all over the meat before and after. We usually go light on the rub and very little sauces afterwards.
     
  16. Very useful info. Maybe it's not that much of a difference health wise, but maybe nice for a change of pace then.

    Ostrich, really... LOL 

    I need to master the pig, the cow and the chicken first!

    ;)
     
  17. Ah ha! Maybe I change it from pulled chicken to chopped chicken this next go around. Tell you what, I cooked some split breasts, non-brined, on the "smoke" (sub 180) setting on the Traeger when I first got it a few weeks ago, it ended up cooking like 12 hours. The skin was crap (rubbery) but the meat was fabulous. I had planned on going slow and low, 180-225ish this next attempt as well.
     
  18. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The Brine you used is a similar strength to mine and you would be fine with the timing you posted or going over night. I have run the whole gambit from 1 Hour to as posted 4 days but my brine is relatively weak or half the typical recommended salt by most recipe authors.

    For Safety purposes, Less that 225*F for large Quarters or Whole Birds is not recommended but you will be ok with the smaller quick cooking Breasts...JJ
     
  19. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yep at the lower temps you'll get rubber skin every time. I've found that brined and injected also contributes to a rubbery skin. The bird that I did last night I injected one side for flavor. I smoked high temp like I always do but the skin didn't crisp up. Even when I put it direct on the coals. No biggie just didn't eat the skin. Typically get a nice crispy skin.
     

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