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Tips for chicken breasts

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I know I might be in the minority here but I much prefer chicken breasts vs legs and thighs.  So I'm looking for tips to make sure the meat stays juicy.  I've grilled chicken before with propane and it's ok but to me seems a bit dry.  Trying to avoid that with my smoker.

post #2 of 7

In my personal experience the common mistake when cooking poultry and especially white meat is that it's usually dried out by overcooking.  Internal temp is critical IMHO.  Brining will help to retain moisture and infuse flavor but still need to pay close attention to internal temps when cooking.

post #3 of 7

Per the suggestion of nepas some time back, I have become a regular user of Amesphos at 0.4% to maintain moisture in meats...  plus using salt and sugar at 2% and 1% respectively...   Dissolved in 5-10% water weight or chicken stock, of the meat hunk and totally injected....



Manufacturer: Ames Company
16 oz. Amesphos, specialty sodium triphosphate blend for meats, seafood and poultry.

AmesPhos improves texture, maintains that fresh-made taste, and reduces bacteria.

Phosphates are used in a wide range of processed meat, poultry and seafood in which they perform several functions. Phosphates improve the retention of natural fluids in the animal muscle that would otherwise be lost in the aging, cooking or freezing process. They also act as protein solubilizers to aid in binding processed meats. Their presence results in improved texture, flavor and color.

Due to a unique instantizing process and the combination of short and long chain phosphates, AmesPhos will dissolve completely at temperatures as low as 20 F and in the presence of salt. Additionally, AmesPhos will dissolve completely in hard water and will not cause phosphate precipitation.

Combination of: Sodium Tripolyphosphate; Sodium Pyrophosphate and Sodium Hexametaphosphate
Appearance: White granular powder

  • Improved cooked flavor.
  • Reduced loss of meat fluids.
  • Increased tenderness and juiciness
  • Improved firmer texture
  • Better and faster color development
Suggested usage levels:
One third to one half of one percent (0.3 to 0.5%) of the finished product weight.

Edited by DaveOmak - 7/8/16 at 5:58am
post #4 of 7
Without having to add anything to the bird, the most important thing is to not over cook. If you don't have one get a good instant read thermometer. I have the $25 one made by Lavatool and it works great. Pull the breast when you hit 160-165, let it rest 10-15 minutes then serve.

I cook plain breasts all the time for my wife and they are never dry. I do nothing to them. No brine, no spices, nothing. all I do is watch the internal temp.
post #5 of 7
I like brining my chicken for 3-4 hours before smoking. It gives the chicken better flavor.
For chicken breasts I have been using split chicken breasts with skin.
I try and smoke @ 300 till "IT" hits 165 degrees.
post #6 of 7

i have been using the basic poultry brine i found on here, makes the skin a little chewy but thats just fine. i spatch whole birds, brine for 24 to 48 hrs. breast won the bone work good too. sometimes i inject some brine right before i smoke . i do these in my BIG electric smoker at 225 to IT 165 ... cant go wrong.
NOW THEN ... skinless boneless breast is another story. i just rub them and put them in my pellet grill/smoker at 325 to an IT of 165 and they are unreal moist !!!!! even 3 days later out of the fridge they are still juicy (i make big batches when i cook ... LOL ) it seems that convection action of a pellet grill is the trick ....



I take a standard poultry brine of:

1 Gal Water
2.5 oz Salt - Kosher
2.5 oz Sugar
1 ½  tsp Garlic Powder
1 ½  tsp Onion Powder
1 ½  tsp Cajun Spice (Louisiana Cajun Seasoning)
1 ½  tsp Celery Seed


To that I add a grocery store size bottle of Kraft Catalina Salad Dressing and a bottle of Crystal Hot Sauce. i use whatever hot sauce i have... usually sirachi.





post #7 of 7

A good thermometer is critical.

For breasts I pull them out of the smoker at 158.

Tent them with foil & the carryover cooking will get them up to 165, which is the safe temp for chicken.



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