My family gave me a double beer can chicken holder this past Christmas. I think brining and beer canning a chicken or turkey guarantees moistest breast meat you'll ever eat. I've used the holder a couple of times since Christmas but I didn't brine the chickens, and the results were moist and fine but the flavor was nothing that knocked my socks off. Well, that changed today when I tried a few new things. I'm still trying to find my socks.
BTW, the recipe below is for smoking it on a WSM. I'm sure you can adapt it to your smoker.
I shigged Alton Brown's Orange Juice brine recipe off another website online, then changed it to what I wanted to try.
Smoked Double Beer Can Brined Chicken
The brine I used for the recipe was also injected into the breast meat prior to brining. The brining recipe below makes enough for two large 6 lb chickens. The meat was moist, delicious, and oh so flavorful. The pink salt gave the meat just a very slight hint of ham flavor that complemented the brine and hickory smoke nicely.
1/2 tsp Prague #1 Pink Salt
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 quart orange juice
1 quart water
1 quart ice
1 quart cold water
2 6 lb whole chickens
2 cans ginger ale (or beer or any soda except diet. If you have empty cans cheap white wine works too)
McCormick's Sweet and Smoky Rub or any rub of choice. Keep it simple and keep it light.
1. Use a large pot or Dutch oven to mix all the brine ingredients except the ice and the last quart of water. Stir over low heat to mix and dissolve the ingredients while stirring. Turn off heat as soon as all the ingredients are mixed. Add the ice. The brine should be cold before adding and injecting the chicken.
2. Rinse the fresh chicken under cold water then place in the cold brine in the dutch oven. Inject the breast meat about every one inch while it is sitting in the brine then move the chicken to your brining bag. Repeat for the second chicken. Pour the remaining brine and last quart of cold water over the chickens, seal the brining bag, then brine for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator or a cooler packed with ice jugs. The brining process changes the protein structure of the meat and allows for higher internal temps that still give a moist final product.
3. Just before you are ready to remove the chickens from the brine fire up the smoker loaded with your choice of charcoal and three fist sized pieces of hickory wood. THIS IS A DRY SMOKE so do not use water in the water pan. Put a drip pan on the lower grate. Bottom vents are about 1/4 open, top vent about 1/3 open.
4. After brining, drain the brining bag and discard the brine and the brining bag. Rinse the chickens again and dry them with a paper towel.
5. Take two cans of ginger ale and pour half of each can in a glass. Drink it. Put the half full cans in the beer can chicken holder.
6. Sprinkle the chickens lightly with the Sweet and Smoky rub or your rub of choice. The brining adds enough flavor that you just want to lightly flavor the skin.
7. Using both hands stretch the breast cavity open and put both chickens on the can loaded stand, breasts facing outwards.
8. I let the majority of the white smoke burn off but I actually load the chickens in the smoker just before the smoke turns light blue. The beer can loaded chicken rack needs to be placed on the grate directly over the drip pan. The temperature when I load the chicken is usually about 275°F in the smoker. Insert the food probe vertically down into the breast meat.
9. The chamber temp will drop to about 225°F to 235°F after loading the cold chickens. Let the smoker run up to settle around 260-275°F on the Maverick 732 chamber probe. The lid temp was reading 250F. Don't worry about the climbing temp. It all works fine and makes for a crispy skin.
10. Pull the chicken off the smoker when the IT of the breast meat is 172-175°F. Trust me, even though most say to pull chicken breasts off at 165F, it won't be dry. The brining and loaded cans allow for a higher temp in the breast meat.
11. Let the chickens rest about 30 minutes then serve.
We've been picking meat off one of the chickens every time we walk into the kitchen. My wife just left on an errand and her mouth was full of chicken as she kissed me goodbye. That my friends, is the perfect compliment.
Edited by Noboundaries - 4/13/14 at 7:28am