brining chicken

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Original poster
Oct 26, 2005
Any thoughts as to how long to brine chicken thighs?

Welcome to the Smoking Meat Forums, MoHog!!

With chickens being small, I've never brined them (using water, salt, sugar + spices). I do on occasion marinade chicken pieces when grilling and these I only marinade for an hour or so. Any longer and the acid in the merinade will "cook" the meat.

Hope this helps
Thanks Earl D.
I've been having trouble getting good flavor in the thighs by marinating in Italian dressing so I thought I would try a brine.
Hi Eric,
I agree with Dutch. As a matter of fact, I don't brine my chickens ... even the whole ones. I do brine turkeys but that's another subject. I know it's a personal preference and many smokers do brine chicken. And thighs should be no different. Anyway, some people brine their chickens over night. So I'd suggest that the thighs would require less time .... say three or four hours. Why don't start from there and see how it works. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

Another idea would to inject the marinade directly into the meat.
Thanks for the responses.
I'll be out town this weekend picking up a new pit, so I won't be cooking for a couple of weeks. I'll keep you posted.
yo mohog,
i got this from "MORTONS" meat curing guide
im telling one of my secrets here.
this is very big part of my
"soon to be famous" smoked chicken breasts.

it works well on all chicken.

this turns out great every time.

you rub mortons tender quik on chicken.
1 tablespoon per pound

let sit in refridgerator a hour or so
then rinse off the rub in cool water.
then let dry or pat dry before putting on smoker.

its so easy-- its so good
thanks a lot Larry. I'll be sure and give you proper credit if mine gets famous before yours!
Are you putting some dry rub on after you rinse the tender quick or are you going straight to the smoker?

with your first 2 letters being mo----then ---hog.
i am worried that it could mean missouri---hog.

im in st,ann--suburb of st,louis,mo.
and am wondering how tough the
competion will be [he he]

seriously-- i go straight to smoker when chicken is dry.

i may sometimes try a rub,
but its so good the way it is.

have fun
I'm down in Joplin and an avid Arkansas Razorback fan, hence the MoHog. That's about as creative as I get.
i usually just marinate in italian dressing a couple hours

i will have to try that tenderquick thing

i have heard alot of stuff about tenderquick but i can never seem to find it in the grocery store, what section is it located in?
yo crazyhorse,
i find mine in the kosher salt/pickling spice/canning product area.

its not in most stores. has it in mail order
2 lbs package does a lot.

you can dry cure or brine or sweet picklecure with T.Q.
For chicken thighs what I have done is place them on the grill bast with butter, sprinkle heavily with Lawry's and lemon pepper. (A Cheech favorite) turn over and sprinkle again. This is all happening over a low flame, turn over every 1/2 hour and repeat. Do this for 3-3 1/2 hours and you will have some awesome chicken. (It is even good cold!)
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) – 24 to 30 hours
Chickens, Pheasants – 6 to 8 hours
Quail, Cornishhens – 4 hours
y2k, I totally agree with you about brining and about cooking chickens in parts instead of whole. I prefer to cook chickens whole because I prefer the white meat and when cooking a whole bird you're forced to over cook the breast to get the dark meat I done. The one way I do cook chickens whole is on the rotisserie of the gas grill. Frequently when I cook them this way the breast reaches 190* which is 20* over done when the thigh joint reaches 180*. Even when brined and having the self basting benefits of spit cooking, it's hard not to end up with a dry breast.
Divide and conquer is a much better plan of attack. I even apply this to turkey's. I usually don't brine turkey as I think the commercially applied brine is adequate for moisture content and I enjoy the flavors of turkey with apple/maple smoke without any additional added flavor but that's just me. The Mrs and I both enjoy the white meat and both of her kids like dark meat so at Thanksgiving I cook a turkey breast and a couple of legs, they get their dark meat, I get a nice juicy breast and everyone is happy. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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