Okay folks, decided to take the plunge and for once and for all put the brining issue to a rest~ in my mind at least. For the record, I have never brined anything before, and never thought to or wanted to, until I became a member of the SMF and met such a fine and large group of "briners", who swear by it. So, in good spirit and open mind, curious to see what all the fuss is about, I decided to conduct a taste-off and compare two identical chickens- one brined, the other not-brined. Four people, two men and two women are the evaluators, myself and my wife being half the group. None of us in the panel have ever knowingly eaten brined chicken, nor do we brine them. All of us curious to see if there is a difference. To start, two identical MBA Brand "Air Chilled Smart Chicken". Why? Because they are air-chilled after slaughter instead of being chilled in a chlorinated tank of water and thus, do not pick up the 6% or so, of added water weight. The "Smart Chicken" will not be pre-loaded with moisture, and thus will pick up as much brine as possible, making the test as even as it can be. Thanks to SUMOSMOKE, she passed on to me an excellent standardized brine she uses herself, passed down from TRAVCOMAN45. I used this to brine one chicken for 24 hours- The next day, I rinsed both well, and placed a bamboo chopstick into the cavity of the brined bird to keep them identified- Both birds smoked "nekkid". Nothing else added, no salt, pepper etcetera. Nothing to interfere with the taste-which is what we are evaluating. Into the SnP at 325F burning applewood- At about halftime (1 and 1/2 hrs) I rotated them 180 degrees- Roughly 3 hours later, they are done. Onto the cutting board for the centerfold pic!- Split each in half to evaluate doneness, interior looks and overall appearance. No difference between the two visible. The brined one is closest to camera- Each half plated to be taste-tested. At this point it is the first time my wife saw the birds; she did not know which one was brined.- Sliced them up to evaluate meat and appearance- They both tasted awesome! here's the wreckage after the review and scorecards filled out- So which one won? Which one was better? Don't know yet. Still have two "disinterested, third-party" taste testers from work who have willingly volunteered themselves to taste my cookin' ! We have "AL", a Process Engineer, and "KELLIE" the Continuous Improvement Manager, selflessly going to taste test the chicken tomorrow for lunch at work. Stay tuned for the results! Stay tuned for the final tally! Is brining better? Does brining REALLY make a difference? Tomorrow I will post the final results!