First Attempt - Bone-in Chicken Breasts

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Jun 23, 2009
Cleveland, OH
I just did a few bone-in chicken breasts with mixed results.  I figured I would post here to get some feedback and improve my technique.  Sorry...only one photo to share :-(

I had a package of three bone-in chicken breasts.  I brined them in the Slaughterhouse brine posted here (minus the onion powder and celery seed... I was out 
.)  Since it was a small amount of meat, I did a half batch of the brine.

Breasts were brined for just a bit over an hour, then taken out and rinsed.  They were put in the fridge for about 1/2 an hour while I got my act together.

I started up my 30" MES and set the temp to 265F.  While it was heating, I dried off the chicken and rubbed it with some Lemon Pepper.  I got a little anxious and put the chicken in while the smoker was still heating 
.  They went in at 165F with a remote thermometer.  Since I had them, I used some apple wood bisquettes from Bradley (which, by the way, lasted wayyy longer than the projected 20 minutes I read on the forum).

The smoking went well, taking about 1 hr 40 min to reach a temperature of 165F.  Took them off and brought them in.  Here is the only pic I have.


They had an awesome smoky aroma, terrific color and were as juicy as one could wish for, but the brine did not seem to penetrate very much - kind of on the bland side.  There was also a spot on each of the breasts we ate that was undercooked.  It was very small and near the bone, so we worked around it 

So there it is....  Any comments or suggestions would be very much appreciated.
You may not have had it the brine long enough. I think you would need several hours in the brine instead of just an hour for it to work its magic. As far as the under cooked parts, from what I've learned you need to shoot for a 170* final internal temp. I'm sure someone more knowledgable then me will way in soon.
Hey Steve

For me the brine is not there to flavor the chicken but to keep it moist. I flavor the chicken with the rubs I use. As far as the one section that was not done, I have not had that happen. I take mine to 165 and wrap them in foil for at least 20 minutes so the juices redistribute so that may be one reason as I am getting some carryover cooking.   If you have not done so, try ShooterRicks rub next time on chicken. It is killer  
They look good. Personally I would have brined for 4-6 hours using Tip's brine since it doesn't have a large amount of salt in it and I smoke chicken to a little higher temp like 170 in the breast since my wife freaks if she shes pink near the bone
I was debating about the brine time.  A few threads said an hour.  I was worried about mushy meat and too much salt.  It seems that there aren't a lot of chicken breasts being done....mostly whole chickens.
The amount of time in the brine depends on the amount of salt in the brine if there was lots of salt you'd want a very short brine time but with a brine that isn't heavy on salt then it can/needs to spend more time in the brine
I think the brine time is about 1 hour per lb. Also, try taking the chicken to 170 and foil for 1/2 to 1 hour like the rest have said. Your chicken breasts have a nice color. I wish you would have cut them open so we could see the inside.

Nw when it comes to brining chicken. First thing is my chicken comes out so moist I really don't need to brine. But you can brine and I wouldn't go very long either. Maybe a couple of hours or so. Now your breast looks really good to me but I didn't eat it.
They looked fantastic!  Th flavor was not all that I hoped for, though 
.  We had a small bowl of generic BBQ sauce that we dipped the chicken in.  It was petty tasty then.  I will try brining for a longer time, and maybe using a rub on the outside that is a little more complex.  I will also take them up to 170 F to try to avoid those undercooked spots.
According to Americas Test Kitchen, here is their brining recipes for different types of chicken, pork or turkey.

I follow this pretty religiously and my food is never salty and even when I cook meats to a higher temp they remain juicy.

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[/th][th=""]Cold Water[/th][th=""]Table Salt[/th][th=""]Sugar[/th][th=""]Time[/th][/tr][tr][th=""]  [/th][/tr][tr][td]1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds)[/td][td]2 quarts[/td][td]1/2 cup[/td][td]1/2 cup[/td][td]1/2 to 1 hour[/td][/tr][tr][td]2 whole chickens (3 1/2 to 4 pounds each)[/td][td]2 quarts[/td][td]1 cup[/td][td]1 cup[/td][td]1/2 to 1 hour[/td][/tr][tr][td]4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (whole breasts, split breasts, whole legs, thighs, and/ordrumsticks[/td][td]2 quarts[/td][td]1/2 cup[/td][td]1/2 cup[/td][td]1/2 to 1 hour[/td][/tr][tr][td]4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each)[/td][td]2 quarts[/td][td]1/4 cup[/td][td]1/4 cup[/td][td]1/2 to 1 hour[/td][/tr][tr][th=""]TURKEY[/th][th=""]  [/th][/tr][tr][td]1 turkey (12 to 17 pounds)[/td][td]2 gallons[/td][td]1 cup[/td][td]*[/td][td]6 to 12 hours[/td][/tr][tr][td]1 turkey (18 to 24 pounds)[/td][td]3 gallons[/td][td]1 1/2 cups[/td][td]*[/td][td]6 to 12 hours[/td][/tr][tr][td]1 bone-in turkey breast (6 to 8 pounds)[/td][td]1 gallon[/td][td]1/2 cup[/td][td]*[/td][td]3 to 6 hours[/td][/tr][tr][th=""]PORK[/th][th=""]  [/th][/tr][tr][td]4 bone-in rib loin pork chops (12 ounces each), 1 1/2 inches thick[/td][td]1 1/2 quarts[/td][td]3 tablespoons[/td][td]3 tablespoons[/td][td]1 hour[/td][/tr][tr][td]1 pork roast (3 to 6 pounds)[/td][td]2 quarts[/td][td]1/4 cup[/td][td]1/4 cup[/td][td]1 1/2 to 2 hours
*Because turkey must roast for an extended amount of time, the sugar in the brine will cause overbrowning. Therefore, we omit the sugar in the brine for turkeys. **These formulas are given for table salt. If using kosher salt, our rule of thumb is to use twice as much Diamond Crystal kosher salt as table salt and 1 1/2 times Morton's kosher salt as table salt.
I have a PDF file from Americas Test Kitchen that gives the science of brining. I can't attach it here so if anyone wants it let me know and I can email it..

Very interesting and beneficial. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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