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Ratio of 1 gallon of water to 1 cup of kosher salt and 1 1/2 cups white sugar. Then add optional stuff (soy sauce, hot sauce, herbs, etc).

See my post on smokin chickens and smokin yesterday's catch (in the fish forum).

I alway brine overnight.
Thanks for the info...everything looked very tatsy!!!

I know from some of the research I have done people state that for a whole chicken you only need to brine for 4 - 6 hours depending on who you read after. When you say overnight are you saying 8 hours? More or less?

The first time I ever brined, it was 8 chicken thighs. They turned out good, but too salty...because I brined them for about 12 hours...maybe longer. I also probably didn't rinse them off enough either.

Thank You!!
I usually put them in the brine at about 10pm and get them out at 8am. So, 10 to 12 hours is standard for my brining.

I now make sure that my rub contains no salt. The one time I used a rub with salt, it was too salty.

See my smokin' chickens link in the poultry section.
I too brine over night. In fact the last chicken I smoked was brined for something like 20 hours. The original plan was to start the brining at 5 pm and get up early the next morning before church and get it on the smoker. Well, getting up early didn't happen, so I had to wait until after church. You can see the end result here.

The bird was fantastic. The skin was perfect, and the meat was so tender and moist.
I also use either a red or white wine in my brine, and some times a beer or whiskey. But if you use wine, never use cooking wine, it's just to salty. Always use a table wine. That goes for anything you cook with wine. And if you use a rub, make sure it has no salt. If there is a store bought shaker of seasoning you like, don't use it on something you've brined. Look at the ingredients and try to make your own. It's trial and error. You never know, you might make a concoction that you like better. That's how it's done anyway. If you'll look at the recipes here on this site or any other site, I'd venture to say that, even though they include measurements, most of the authors don't measure anything. The only time precise measurement is an absolute must is in baking. That's because consistancy has to be correct and the volume of active rising agents need to match the volume of inert ingredients.
One thing I've learned about smoking is, trial and error is the only way to success. When you get the perfect brine, rub, sauce, meat, etc, record your data so you'll know what to do next time. I have a 3 ring binder that is specific to only my smoking. And it's close to me all the time, so when I have an idea in the middle of the night or while doing my business
, I jot it down so I'll remember. It's a 1 inch binder and it's so full, I'm going to get a 2 inch today. I am learning all the time. And just when you think you know it all, come to this board and you'll gain even more knowledge. I am so glad I found this site. People here are so willing to show off their masterpieces and help when you don't know something. Go to a BBQ competition and see if you get the same results.
One things for sure if nothing else is, and that's patience. Leave the doors to the smoker closed. If the temp is right and the smoke color is good, you know it's going to take several hours. Just remember, every time you open that smoker, the temp will drop. Mine drops 75 to 100 degrees when I open it. But it's a big smoker with a relatively small fire box. And I built it that way on purpose. Before I started using this smoker, I had a habbit of building way to big a fire. Not that I don't have to once in a while now but it's a pain to have to remove coals. But that has more to do with the quality of firewood, that I am using than anything else.
Well that was long winded for just a brining question. Sorry for the epic saga. Gotta go now though. I have more work to do on my smoker mods, so I can use it without improvising.
I brine chickens for only 4 hours in the fridge with 1c salt (Not iodized) to 1 gal H2O..For turkey, I use a cooler and the brine is the same salt/water ratio with other goodies added. But, instead of using all water, I use 1/2 crushed ice to keep it cold in the cooler. Don't want any nasties growing. I brine the turkey for at least 12 hours and rinse well..

Here's a recipe a friend of mine uses:

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 black pepper
1 tbl cayanne pepper
4 whole garlic heads peeled or crushed
1 large onion
hand full rosemary
hand full thyme
5 bay leaves
4 stars of annis
2 or 3 oranges cut,squeezed
3 gal water or until the bird is covered

soak for 12 to 24 hours

then drain & wash it VERY well.. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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