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Chicken, my new favorite method

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by scooper, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. scooper

    scooper Smoking Fanatic

    Hi all, I've been working on a chicken method for a while, and I believe I have nailed it.  I can't really give it a name.  It started out as "Sauceless Wings", but it has evolved into a combination of flavors beyond that.  With the combo marinade/brine, everything, including the breast on the whole is very moist.  Wife says it is the best chicken ever. 

    I take a standard poultry brine of:

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    1 Gal Water
    2.5 oz Salt - Kosher
    2.5 oz Sugar
    1 ½  tsp Garlic Powder
    1 ½  tsp Onion Powder
    1 ½  tsp Cajun Spice (Louisiana Cajun Seasoning)
    1 ½  tsp Celery Seed

    To that I add a grocery store size bottle of Kraft Catalina Salad Dressing and a bottle of Crystal Hot Sauce.

    For the individual pieces I marinate 24 hours.  For the whole bird I go up to 48 hours. 

    I spatchcock the whole bird because I think it cooks faster, and also gives more skin exposure, allowing it to get past the rubbery stage.

    Once out of the marinade and drained, they get rubbed in:

    ¾ C. Sugar
    1 T Kosher Salt
    2T Black Pepper
    1T Garlic
    1T Onion
    2T Old Bay
    4T Paprika
    2 t dry mustard
    ½ t ground bay
    ½ t ground rosemary

    Like Bearcarver did, I turn the heat up near the end.  I have a propane Masterbuilt, so I can get above 275.  300 seems to be adequate.  I've gone for 350, but it starts burning the fat in the bottom of the smoker.  Not a flavor I want to add to the chicken!

    I usually use my go to mix of hickory and apple.

    Here are some wings, thighs, and a whole bird. 


    smokingjamaican likes this.
  2. Congrats on your success! Looks great.
  3. kathrynn

    kathrynn Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Looks great...and love the color too.

  4. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Looks Awesome Scott !!!

    Great color on all 3 types!!!

    I don't do chicken often, but I gotta try that Brine!!

    Poultry & fish are the only things I brine.


  5. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit

    Like they said... love the color of the bird! Beautiful!
  6. scooper

    scooper Smoking Fanatic

    Thank you, everyone!  I really appreciate it. 

    Bear, the original way I was doing wings was just equal parts Catalina Dressing and hot sauce.  They were great, nice and spicy, but still got a bit dry sometimes.  It wasn't until I did the whole bird when I tried the combo brine/marinade. 

    There is a famous Fried Chicken joint in town.  Been here 40 years.  The owners sold it to two brothers and gave them the original recipe.  It is good stuff.  But they need more than fried chicken on their menu.  I suggested BBQ'd, and they want to, but need to hire someone to do it.  I see a part time hobby/job in my future! 
  7. Yard bird looks GREAT! Thanks for sharing your method. Yup the BBQ might be your calling.

    Happy smoken.

  8. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    That's Great !!!! Gotta wash your hands between jobs though!!

    I couldn't resist that. My one Vietnam Buddy, who's been cutting my hair for 48 years, had his own Barber Shop for about 20 years, but before that he used to cut hair at his house. At that time he cut hair part time at home, worked at Hatfield Meats full time (deboning Hams), and he pumped septic tanks out part time. Every time he cuts my hair, I ask Al, "Did you wash your hands??" He still laughs every time I ask him!!

  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The Chicken looks great! What a Blast from the Past! Back in the 60's Mom would marinate Ribs in a mix of 1 Bottle Catalina Dressing and 1 Jar Smucker's  Apricot Preserves. She only Baked them, but I imagine a low and slow Smoke would make for some good eats...Hmmm...[​IMG]

    Thanks for sharing your recipes. The Dressing and Hot Sauce add about a cup of Vinegar to your brine. My brine too made for better Chicken when my Chef mentor told me about using it 20 years ago. Great discovery!...JJ
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
  10. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Well , it LOOKS unbelievable! I would dearly love to taste a wing.... or 6.
    Really nice post. Thanks for laying out the procedure so neatly. You and Bear musta gone to the same cooking school. :biggrin:
  11. ferd66

    ferd66 Fire Starter

    Those birds look great.

    I, too, have been brining all my chicken.  I keep it very simple though.  4 cups warm water, 1/4 cup kosher salt, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 T of cajun seasoning.  Stir until dissolved and add 4 cups cold water.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
  12. disco

    disco Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    These look great! I will have to try your recipe. Thanks for the post.

  13. dewetha

    dewetha Smoking Fanatic

    i going to save this as Scooper's chicken :)

    i am also glad your screen name isn't pooper.
  14. scooper

    scooper Smoking Fanatic

    LOL!  Yes, Bear, I wash my hands.  Probably way too much.  I'm OCD about it. 

    Chef JJ, I will try it with vinegar next time.  Thanks!

    Hambone, I learned from Bear.  I really liked his style of posting, and modeled mine after it.  We're here to share, so we should share everything.  [​IMG]

    dewetha, that's funny! 

    Thank you again, everyone!  [​IMG]
  15. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would add the Dressing...OR...Vinegar but not both. Not that it will hurt anything but you found a combination that taste great to you, extra vinegar would throw off the balance. If you Google Catalina Dressing you will find that it is very basic and made from common ingredients. You might consider ,making your own. You don't need the preservatives Kraft adds...JJ
  16. reinhard

    reinhard Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks like a great brine and rub!!!! I will definatly do this. Always ready to try something new.  Thanks for sharring. Reinhard
  17. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Great looking birds! Spatching is my preferred method for whole birds. We make out own Catalina. Pretty simple recipe, easy to remember, easy to make larger or smaller. Here is the base recipe, blend all the ingredients together except the oil. With blender running add oil last.

    1/2 cup red wine vinegar

    1/2 cup sugar

    1/2 cup ketchup

    1/2 cup chopped onion

    1 teaspoon paprika

    1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire

    1 cup oil ( whatever you prefer)

    salt and pepper to taste

    I am not sure where this came from as it has been hand written on a recipe card that came in a book my grandmother had. Card says Catalina 68. I am assuming 1968, as her other cards are all marked in a similar fashion.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  18. dewetha

    dewetha Smoking Fanatic

    you can't go wrong with a grandmother's recipe :)
  19. Outstanding!!! 
  20. floyd

    floyd Smoke Blower

    No one seems to be addressing the grill temp. I have heard to do a good chicken from 225 deg to 350 deg. What do you BBQ'ers think?