Trying chicken for the first time tomorrow. Advice welcomed!! (Updated with qView!!)

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by bob-b-q, May 18, 2013.

  1. **Updated**

    Well, everything turned out pretty darn well we thought!!  My hats off to all of you who helped out!!!!  Thanks for being such great people to help with someone who had never done chicken before.

    I also created a spreadsheet thanks to Mr. T!!  Going to keep track of outside temp, smoker temps, breast and thigh temps at each hour interval.

    Final recipes I went with.

    Poultry Brine

    ·         1 ½ Gal Water (24 cups)

    ·         1 C Cider Vinegar

    ·         1 C Kosher Salt

    ·         1 C Dark Brown Sugar

    ·         2 T Black Pepper Corns

    ·         2 T Garlic Powder

    ·         2 T Onion Powder

    ·         2 T Celery Seed

    ·         2 T Thyme

    ·         1 T Rosemary

    Chicken Seasoning

    ·         1/2 C Brown Sugar

    ·         2 T Sweet Paprika (Hungarian)

    ·         1 T Kosher Salt

    ·         1 T Chili Powder

    ·         1 T Granulated Garlic

    ·         1 T Granulated Onion

    ·         1 T Cracked Black Pepper

    ·         2 tsp celery salt

    ·         2 tsp Poultry Seasoning

    ·         2 tsp Thyme

    Put 8 cups of water and Kosher salt and Dark Brown Sugar in a pan on the heat to dissolve.  Once dissolved cool completely before making the rest of the brine.

    Brining times are whole chicken 12-24 hours, chicken pieces 2-4 hours, whole turkey 1-2 days, turkey breasts 12-24 hours and cornish game hens 2-4 hours.

    Remove from brine and rinse under cold water for a few minutes.  Pat skin dry with paper towels.  Leave in fridge overnight.

    Coat under skin and on top of skin with EVOO.  Add Chicken Seasoning as rub on and under skin.

    Put chicken on vertical roaster.  Pin wings back so they don't burn.  No water in the pan.  1.5 lbs of wood.  1 lb. Apple and 1/2 lb. Hickory.  Pile in Mound in chip box.  Cook in smoker at 300* until the breast temp is about 155* and the thigh is about 165*.  Crank the heat to 375* to help crisp skin.  Cook until crisp and breast is at 165* and the thigh is 175*.

    **Notes:  Bird was SUPER moist!!!  Very tasty!!  One weird thing though was the fact that one of the wings was a bit UNDER done.  Of all the things I thought could be OVER done was the wings.  Good thing I didn't foil them.  

    I actually used about 1lb of wood total.  I feel like it could have used a bit more smoke so I upped it to 1.5 lbs for next time.  I also want to try and leave the bird in the fridge out of the brine overnight to really give it time to dry out.  I did leave it for about 4 hours this time, but we all felt the skin could have been crispier.  Even though everyone was eating it!  Also, I never mentioned this, but I have a GOSM.  When I did ribs a few weeks ago I had problems keeping the temp low at 225*.  Today I seemed to have a hard time hitting 375*.  It only got to 327* when I pulled the chicken.  Might have to go post something about temps and GOSM on the propane board...

    Anyhow, enough of my chit-chat here are the pics!!  And thanks once again to all for the advice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    In the brine.  I used heavy plates to help keep those babies submerged for about 16 hours.

    Out of the brine, rinsed under cold water for a few minutes and patted dry with paper towels.

    Rubbed with EVOO and rub recipe above.  Inside, outside and under the skin.  You'll notice someones big fat hand tore the skin on the bird on the right!  [​IMG]   So, I just used a couple of toothpicks to hold it in place so as not to expose the meat and dry it out.

    Into the smoker they went.  Funny thing about taking pictures of smoke.  They look a LOT more smokey in the pics then in real life.

    Out of the smoker just 1.5 minutes shy of 2 hours.  I was busy making onion rings and didn't get to test the skin.  Next time I'll have the grill ready to help crisp it up if drying it in the fridge doesn't help.  Or maybe just cook them at a higher temp all along.  Sounds like I need some more birds!!

    Chef's plate special tonight!!  1/4 chicken with cornbread, homemade broccoli casserole, baked beans and homemade onion rings.

    Original Post

    I've gone through a lot of the threads here and have kind of changed some recipes to mine and my wife's liking and added some basic instructions.  Can anyone telling me if a am doing anything glaringly wrong here?

    I definitely am looking for a bird with moist meat and crispy skin at the end.  I had read that some dry the bird out in the fridge overnight to help dry it out.  Some use a basting sauce.  So, I did both.  I'm just really not sure about brining the bird first and then leaving it to dry overnight in the fridge...I'm guessing just the outside dries out and doesn't penetrate the meat??  That will still stay nice and juicy??

    Since this is my first try I want to get the best result I possibly can and welcome any and all advice!!  Thanks!!

    Poultry Brine

    ·         1 ½ Gal Water (24 cups)

    ·         1 C Cider Vinegar

    ·         ½ C Salt - Kosher

    ·         ½ C Dark Brown Sugar

    ·         2 T Black Pepper Corns

    ·         2 T Garlic Powder

    ·         2 T Onion Powder

    ·         2 T Chicken Seasoning (Below)

    ·         2 T Celery Seed

    ·         2 T Thyme

    Put 4 cups of water and Kosher salt and Dark Brown Sugar in a pan on the heat to dissolve.  Once dissolved cool completely before making the rest of the brine.

    Brining times are whole chicken 4-12 hours, chicken pieces 1-1 1/2 hours, whole turkey 1-2 days, turkey breasts 5-8 hours and cornish game hens 1-2 hours.

    After brining use Chicken Seasoning as rub.  Let bird sit in fridge to dry overnight.

    Chicken Seasoning

    ·         1/2C Brown Sugar

    ·         2T Sweet Paprika (Hungarian)

    ·         1T Kosher Salt

    ·         1T Chili Powder

    ·         1T Granulated Garlic

    ·         1T Granulated Onion

    ·         1 T Cracked Black Pepper

    ·         2 tsp Poultry Seasoning

    ·         2 tsp Thyme

    Basting Sauce

    ·         2C Apple Cider Vinegar

    ·         1C Olive or other Oil

    ·         2T Worcestershire Sauce or more to taste

    ·         1/4C Brown Sugar

    ·         1T Smoked Paprika

    ·         2 tsp Granulated Garlic

    ·         2 tsp Granulated Onion

    ·         2 tsp Fine Grind Black Pepper

    ·         1 tsp Celery Salt

    ·         1 tsp Thyme

    ·         2 Lrg Egg Yolks

    Put all ingredients in a blender except oil and blend.  Once blended drizzle in olive oil.  Baste on chicken to start and every 15-20 minutes.  Cook in smoker at 300* until the breast temp is about 155* and the thigh is about 165*.  Crank the heat to help crisp skin.  Cook until crisp and breast is at 165* and the thigh is 175*.
    Last edited: May 19, 2013
  2. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hi Bob.

    Your recipes look like winners to me.  If you brine overnight it should instill plenty of moisture and flavor in the bird.  I can't speak to drying it in the fridge overnight, I've never done that.  I like to brine overnight, then first thing next morning, remove bird from the brine, rinse real good under cold water, then pat dry real well with paper towels.  I will then leave the bird in the fridge while I finish my prep and get the smoker set up and up to temp. 

    I like to lightly coat the skin and under the skin with a little EVOO before applying the rub/seasoning.  It give the finished skin a great color and IMO helps crisp it up.  The basting recipe looks good, but just remember that every time you open your cooker, you are losing heat and increasing total cook time.  Depending on your smoker, it often takes 10 minutes or more for the temp to recover after the door has been opened.  Because of that, I don't normally baste poultry, and they still come out plenty moist and flavorful.

    I cook poultry at about 275* until abut the last half hour (or when the IT of the bird reaches around 155-160*), then crank temp up to 325-350* to finish.  That makes for a nice crisp skin.  When the IT in the deepest part of the breast and thigh reaches about 170*, its done!  I've found that the breasts will often reach temp before the thighs, so you may need to tent the breasts with some foil so they don't dry out waiting on the thighs to reach temp.

    Hope any of this helps...Good luck!  Be sure to show and tell us how it goes.

    Last edited: May 18, 2013
  3. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Bob welcome to the forum,  You certainly are taking cooking a chicken to a different level with each of your ingredients being complex.   You can make a very good chicken with much less effort, but it depends on your taste, besides it can be fun making all the different ingredients and that is what it is all about.

    Your brine although complex is a little weak (imho), I would double the salt and brown sugar and the brine time could be lengthened if convenient, no harm.  You should be able to dissolve the salt and sugar without heating, just whisk until dissolved.  Allowing the bird to rest overnight is a good idea and won't hurt the moistness.  You are keeping notes so just add your results when completed.  Keep track of the type and amount of wood along with the color and density of the smoke.   Consider whether or not you want the drippings to fall on your heat source or capture the drippings.  By capturing the drippings, the bird will have a cleaner smoke flavor.

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

  4. Thanks for the great tips both SeenRed and Mr T!!!

    I have eliminated the baste.  I too was a bit worried about recovery time.  I'll see what I get the first time around and then make notes at to if I need it next time.

    I doubled my salt and sugar.  Eliminated the heating process from the brine.  I'll see how that goes.  Other brines I've used when grilling pork chops I've done the heating method.  If it doesn't appear to dissolve, then I can always heat it up!!  Also, I eliminated the fridge overnight step.  I'll do the rinse and pat dry then EVOO and rub and back in fridge during smoker prep!!  I was figuring overnight seemed a bit excessive.  I think the pat dry step will help with the skin texture I want.

    Tomorrow can't come fast enough now!!

    I'll post my final recipe when I'm done along with pics!!

  5. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Your recipes look awesome!! I love thyme on chicken, it really seems to just fit perfectly. Your basting sauce looks kinda like a kicked up version of Cornell chicken, and I bet would be awesome on the grill. I agree though, basting chicken on the smoker can really lengthen the process. I'm gonna disagree with your omission of the overnight rest in the refrigerator however. While it's not imperative and your chicken will be really good anyway, the devil is, in fact, in the details and drying the skin is one of those details that really helps take it over the top. Just keep it in mind and try it some time.

    On the strength of your brine, there has been some research indicating there is a "sweet spot" for brines, and it's a weaker solution than I would have thought. I apologize for not remembering the numbers, but yours looks like a little over a 2% solution which might work just fine. And not to be negative, but I've found that flavoring a brine is basically a waste of time. The only things that get "picked up" by the meat are salt and water, the other particles are just too big to get on the old "osmosis" train.  So all those spices in the brine are kinda not doing much. I'd save them for the rub. This is my opinion by the way. There are many who swear by flavoring a brine, so you'll have to make up your own mind here and do what works best for you.

    Good luck and let us know how everything turns out!!
  6. Mdboatbum,  I love thyme and rosemary on chicken as well.  As a matter of fact, I see I omitted it from the initial brine.  I have since now added it.  I believe the base for my baste was the Cornell sauce, but have since decided to go without it.  I will have to remember it in case I ever just grill some chicken.

    Thanks for the vote on drying the chicken overnight in the fridge.  Guess the only way to make up my mind is to do it one way one time and then try the other the next!!  By drying in the fridge overnight, do you feel your chicken is still nice and moist after smoking?  Since I've also since decided to brine my chicken for 24 hours, drying in the fridge will have to wait for next time.  I can prepare for it then.

    I do appreciate the words on not flavoring the brine, but this is one i disagree on.  I do an overnight brine for fried chicken in buttermilk and herbs.  I feel that the spices do really penetrate the meat since a lot usually comes off the outside while frying.  I feel, for that application it work really well.  So, I'm applying it to this one this time as well.  Again, like you said, personal choice.

    Oh, another note on smoking actually...How much smoke does everyone use?  I see the chicken could take from 2-4 hours, so does most everyone use about 1-2 hours of smoke?  Advice??
  7. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The time in the fridge to dry the skin has never affected overall moisture in the meat for me. I usually brine first, and don't think I have ever not brined before drying out the skin, so I can't say if it's a product of the brine or not.

    As for how much smoke, I do my chickens north of 325˚, so they're usually done inside 2 hours. Less if I spatchcock them. I run my smoker wide open with smoke the whole time. If I'm using cherry or apple I'll go pretty heavy on the wood, like 4 or 5 fist sized chunks. With stronger woods like hickory I use one or two chunks.
  8. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Bob, After rereading your brine recipe I see it is for 1 1/2 gal of water.  For a 4# chicken I use 1/2 cup Kosher salt & 1/2 cup brown sugar dissolved in 1/2 gallon water then what ever spices desired.  Place a gallon zip bag inside a suitable pot and add the brine.  It should come close to the top, push the air out and zip closed.  You are then ready to refrigerate for whatever amount of time you like.

  9. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Aw right......I'm in for the finale! Waiting for the string of pics I know will be posted soon.....Willie
  10. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    All sounds good and as Willie said, we'll be looking for the Q-view[​IMG].

    Have fun and as always...
  11. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Bob, smoking can be as complex as you want to make it or as simple as just excepting what smoke comes off of briquettes.  Learn to keep good notes if you want and take such things into account as, type of wood and the amount by weight, where it is placed, color, density and the end result.  Maybe the following will help.

  12. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Good job Bob, looks great.


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