I know this is an old thread but I was poking around the site when I saw this.
Perhaps I'm in the minority here but I always brine my birds, whether it be chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail or even cornhish hens. Personally I think a brine is an simple and great way to add flavor and moisture. Also do to the space limitations in the ECB SnP, caused by the curve of the sidewalls and the protrusion of the thermometer, I have found it easier to lay my chickens down than attempt to beer can them. For example last weekend I was able to get 6 chickens in my smoker when they were on their backs but only four standing up. Unfortunately, by doing so I loose the advantages of the steaming that beer canning provides and I think the brining makes up for it.
This is a brine I've used both in the stove and in the smoker that I think works well, although I did use Jeff's brine recipe on the last cornhish hens which I really liked.
2 Qts Apple Juice
1.25 cups of black diamond koser salt
1 lb of brown sugar
(bring this these to a boil until sugar and salt are dissolved, let cool to room temp and add the following)
3 Qts cold water
15 whole cloves
8 garlic cloves - pressed
3 Tbsp coarsely ground pepper
2 bay leaves
3 Oranges (quarter them and squeeze the juice in first and then drop in the peel)
Cool it down to 40* then add your bird(s) - I use a five gallon bucket and this will easily brine either 6 cornish hens, 3 chickens, or 1 turkey. just make sure to keep them all completely submersed.
Brine times that work for me are as follows
Turkeys (over 15lbs) â€“ 24 to 30 hours
Chickens, Pheasants â€“ 6 to 8 hours
Quail, Cornishhens â€“ 4 hours