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Curing Chicken

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Got a 3 1/2lb. fryer in the brine tonight. 10 cups water, 1/4 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar with a tsp. of instaCure nitrite. Stirred well and chicken dropped in. Let it brine from Thurs. night to Sunday morning, and smoke it for smoked chicken!


LL
post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 
Forgot that I added 1/2 cup of apple juice too!
post #3 of 17
Heya Pops..I'm not familar with Instacure. What is the recommended rate of cure per Lb? And with TQ, they recommend ya back off the cure a bit with poultry, due to them being a higher bone/meat ratio.
post #4 of 17
Never heard of that type of brine, seems a long time to soak.
Would think it would be like a salt lick after that long???
Interested in seeing the outcome of this! icon_smile.gif
post #5 of 17
It is recommended that a 4-6 hour salt equilization time be used before smoking, and always rinse bird after. 24 hours is the longest I have seen for a brine. I am concerned that the amount of cure used is roughly the amount used for 5 lbs of meat. That 3.5 Lb bird is prolly 2.5 meat tops.
post #6 of 17
I'd be interested in pictures and the final results. Like the others, that's a long time to brine a chicken. I've never used instacure with poultry. Let us know what happens and how it turns out!
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
It's a takeoff of what my dad used to do.. he'd brine the chicken in the same brine he used for hams, it was a ratio of about 2g of cure with a gallon of water, which is 1 g. per half gallon (8cups). 1 g of cure is just under a tsp. He'd brine chickens for 3 days and turkeys for 6 days.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
The granddaughter got us up bright and early at 5am on a Sunday (can you hear my wife groan from there?!) so no better time than the present to get smokin'! Drained the chicken, put it in water for about 1/2 hr while I got the smoker cleaned and going, then rubbed it and got a can ready. No beer in the house, but convinced my wife she should part with a half a can of her Zinnie.. Got it on the smoker sittin' on the throne! Meanwhile, the granddaughter is lovin' up PJ the dog... that dog just loves her too!
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post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
It's up to 160 in the breast, almost done, spritzing with OJ (drinking a Bailey's OTR while waiting...)
Snapped this pic in WallyWorld when I picked up the chicken, thought it described me perfectly... lol!
LL
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Let it set 10 min., then chopped off a wing and tried it... delicious! Had to go back and devour part of a thigh too to check out the inner meat. Definitely a ham flavor, not salty at all (should have used 1/2 cup instead of 1/4 cup) but did get brine penetration to the bone, a nice pink color in the joints. Think a little more brown sugar too, maybe 3/4 cup, and a cup of apple juice vs. 1/2 cup for more acid. All in all, it was a good soak and a super result!
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post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Wife tried it and loved it, said it was just like dad's, so it's nix on adding more salt or sugar, haha! (My salt tolerance and her's are about 3 to 1!). It's been 25 years since dad died and I'd had a smoked chicken... it's deja vu for sure! It's juicy and tender and pink and hammy and delicious! Hope y'all try it and enjoy it too!
post #12 of 17

amount of cure

Sounds like a good outcome. I was actually going to smoke some Turkey legs today and looked for a brine recipe in Rutek's book and it called for 5 gallons of water 1.5lbs of salt, 1.5lbs of powdered dextrose and 1lb of cure #1. Since I wasn't doing a whole turkey, I cut everything down to 20%, but what concerned me was the large amount of cure. It kinda scared me as even knocking it down to 20% of a pound, it still was almost half a cup of cure. I saw another recipe on line that called for the same and another that only called for 1.5oz for 5 gallons but then it called for 3 times as much salt. I brined for 4 hours but now I don't know if it is safe or not considering when making sausage you might you a teaspoon of cure. Maybe because it is diluted in water it is ok. Anybody have any advice on this. Will this be safe to eat?
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
What's the ingredients in the Cure #1? How much nitrite is in that amount? It's all proportional. The stronger the cure the shorter the pickling time, and vice versa. I misspoke myself before; I use DQ Curing Salt, not instacure (that's what dad used to use from Aula Co.). I apologize. It contains Salt, Nitrite (6.25%), Glycol, Red #3, and Sodium Carbonate. The directions say to use 4 oz. to 100 lbs. of meat, or 24 lbs for 100 gallons of brine, which would be .24lbs to 1 gallon. I used a tsp. to a 1/2 gallon, which is about 1 gram or .1 oz., which is mild. Because of that, I was able to brine for 3 days. At full strength, 4 oz. for 1 gallon, I'd brine about 4 hours. The advantage to a longer brine is juiciness and tenderness, breaking down the connective tissues.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Just to wax nostalgic for a moment, here's some pix of the old homestead in Adams Center, NY, and of some hams and bacons hanging in the drip cooler after smoking. We did an average of 72 hams and 600lbs. of bacon a week, triple at Easter and Christmas, and shipped to every state in the US. Whatever was left from the fresh meatcounter we cured and smoked every week too, from chickens to rib and loin ends, shoulders, rib and rump roasts for corned beef or smoked beef, hocks, feet, center cuts for canadian bacon... again, everything but the oink! I used to have pix of the smokehouses, but they got lost a long time ago. They were Koch gas fired, stood about 11' tall, 2 door. (There's a pic of Dad behind the meatcounter; if you look to his left you see a big barrel on a rack, that was the curing mix we'd get from Aula Co. I have an ingredient label off of one and that's what I used to try and recreate his brine mixture.) I helped sack up all the products into stockinette (like what the hams are hanging in) since I was 5 or so after school - good memories!
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post #15 of 17
Nice pics Pops PDT_Armataz_01_01.gif
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Put another bird in the brine last night, going to smoke it Saturday for the older son's birthday party that night, along with 10lbs. of summer sausage. Got a cheep package of pork steaks I'm going to do Sunday with a 2-2-1, see how they turn out, also.
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
I did change the brine proportions... as it was for my son's birthday, I increased it to give it more flavor; I knew he'd like it. I made it up with:

10 cups water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 tablespoon of DQ Cure

I smoked it until the breast was 170° F, let set 10 min, then chilled for 2 hours until we had to leave for the party. I made up 10 lbs. of summer sausage and sliced up about 6 lbs. of it ahead of time and put it in a ziploc, plus a 3 lb. chunk of Cabot Extra Sharp white cheddar cut into 1"x1"x1/8" pieces with Spicy Brown Mustard and Townhouse crackers on a serving dish. I carved up the chicken in front of everyone, deboning and skinning it (had several jump at the skin, scarfing it down!) and cutting into bite-sized pieces, filling a plate (it was a 5lb. fryer, a big bird). Everybody went absolutely NUTS over the chicken, plus loved the summer sausage (I've taken that for several years to his parties) and cheese, crackers and mustard. No one had ever tasted a true smoked chicken and raved that it was a delicasy (which, actually, it is). As long as it was free, they dove into it! Just about everyone who arrived my son had to take them over to the table to have them try "Dad's pickled and smoked chicken meat", plus it was another excuse for him to grab some more too! And, most of all, my wife agreed it was better than the previous one! So that's my brine and I'm stickin' to it! haha!
I brined it for the same amount of time, 3 full days. If you get the chance to try it, let me know how you liked it!
I'd like to try it with quarteredd chicken legs, the 5lb. bag you can get cheap if the budget allows. Maybe in a week or two.
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