As a newbie to the smoking game, I'm testing out variables to try and make the best smoked food as efficient as possible. This was my first go round with chicken, so I thought I would test to see what impact brine and rub had on thighs.
Here's how it went down:
- Purchased 20 chicken thighs at my local grocery store.
- Brined 10 thighs for 12 hours using the Slaughterhouse brine recipe. Left the other 10 in the sealed package.
- The next morning, I removed the thighs from the brine and patted them down to help dry them out. I took half of the brined thighs and seasoned them with Shooter's poultry rub. The other 5 brined thighs were left without rub. All 10 brined thighs were placed atop paper towels on a baking sheet and left to dry in the fridge for ~12 hours.
- I sliced open the unbrined thighs, and applied the rub to 5 of the thighs. I left the other 5 without rub and returned the opened package to the fridge for ~12 hours.
- Heated smoker to 350F using pecan pellets.
- Removed all 20 thighs from the fridge, placed in smoker with skin-side down for ~1 hour until IT reached 170 (did not flip or rotate chicken while smoking).
- Served to my family without them knowing which was which, in hopes to get unbiased feedback on whether brine or rub really make much of a difference.
The overall consensus was the following: brine + rub >> brine >> rub > nothing
- Brine made a MAJOR difference in flavor. The brine + rub was voted the favorite
- Rub made a MINOR difference in flavor. The brine was better than the no brine + rub.
In the future I will continue to brine and rub, but I was unable to get the crispy "bite through skin." The meat was very juicy at 170F IT, maybe too juicy? Flavor was excellent but I want to work on that skin. I thought the 350F would have taken care of it. Maybe I need to let them dry for more than 12 hours?
Edited by kaz4121 - 4/23/16 at 6:33pm