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[chicken]Looking for brine and moisture tips

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by bsw50, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. bsw50

    bsw50 Newbie

    I got a MES 40" electric smoker about a month ago and tired a couple whole chickens already. I think the flavor was pretty good, but my main critique was that the thick parts of the breasts were somewhat dry and didn't have a lot of flavor. I followed the basic poultry smoking process for these:

    Brine over night. Since I had 2 chickens, I combined them into 2 gallons water with 2 cups kosher salt and 2 cups brown sugar.

    Morning of the smoke, I applied my rub and let the chickens sit dry in the fridge for a couple of hours.

    Cooked em about 4-5 hours on 225, I think I pulled them at 180. I foiled them and let them sit in the cooler for ~20 min, I was hoping this would help the juices evenly distribute.

    I used hickory wood and plain ole water in the smoker. Overall moistness and flavor was great, but as I said the breasts were a little dry and plain. Any tips from you guys with more experience are appreciated, I hope to do 2 more tomorrow!
  2. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Not sure if you are doing breast up or down. I do mine down so all the juices run in to it.
  3. BandCollector

    BandCollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Do you really think breasts up or down make a difference with the question presented?
  4. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  5. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

     That is an awful long time. I tend to do my chicken around 250 and it takes 2 1/2 to 3 hours. I do not brine either. Remember that breast meat is done sooner than dark meat. You might want to chill the breast with a bag of ice for a 15 minutes, then it should all be done around the same time.


  6. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yes I do.
  7. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    ..... soooooo, what you are saying is that Squirrel should chill her breasts with a bag of ice for 15 minutes?! [​IMG]

    (LOL.... sorry Cheryl, it's Friday, brain has already called it quits!)
  8. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    From my understanding he is doing whole chickens, not parts. If that is the case then placing the breast down could mean more moisture.
  9. bsw50

    bsw50 Newbie

    Yep, whole chickens here. I'll remember to do that, can't remember if I had breast up or down the firs time. I'll look into that brine also.

    Do my cooking temps and time sound off to anyone else?
  10. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I'm putting in my chips with Tip's Slaughter house Brine myself.
  11. rw willy

    rw willy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    180 is to hot.  Pull them off when they hit 165ish in the breast.  Also spatchcock the birds.  I feel that speeds up the cooking in  the thighs.  My .02!
  12. marty vw

    marty vw Fire Starter

    I pull my chickens when the breast temp is 167.  225 for aproximatly 4 hrs or so. I do mine breast up. Never had a dry one yet.....
  13. deannc

    deannc Master of the Pit

    At 225° it generally takes 4 to 5 hours. A lot of folks like to use higher heat for a crispier skin.  Whichever technique you use, high temp or low and slow, pull at 165° internal temp.  
  14. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I brine my birds overnight, the brine be low enough in salt that it ain't gonna hurt nothin. 

    I then smoke in the nieghborhood a 300° ta 325° er so till the breast gets ta 165°.  Yer bird be done.

    Can't say I ever had a customer complain bout a bird yet, other then they run out to quick!
  15. I do mine anywhere from 275 to 325 for 2 1/2 to 3 hrs. I feel like chicken doesn't stand up well to too much smoke. I've never had a dry bird with this method.
  16. plj

    plj Meat Mopper

    ok I'm tired so my reading comprehension may be a little bit off, but it looks to me like you said - twice - that it was moist but dry, flavor was good but no flavor.

    Anyhow, a plain saltwater brine wont add flavor, just moisture. Add spices to your brine for more flavor - I like a buttermilk based brine, with some celery seed and a little hot sauce. Add whatever other spices you like.

    Also you cooked it too long, take it out at 165.
  17. I'm with you brother, the ancillary benefits of brine are the other flavors you can bring into play. Tweak it out the way you want it. The spices you put into your brine will creep right in there with the moisture.

  18. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Try injecting with melted butter & chicken broth, then smoke on a beer can w/ 1/2 full beer, a couple tsp. of rub, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper. Pull at 165-170, let sit for 1/2 hour in foil.
  19. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Replacing the moisture being lost is pretty common on whole chickens.  I put pineapple and papaya in the cavity so it will steam and keep moisture loss to a minimum.  Plus the papaya has a lot of papain in it so at about 100 F through 145 F is will penetrate the chest cavity membrane and get that steam into the breasts.
  20. reichl

    reichl Meat Mopper