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Smoke Blower
Joined Sep 9, 2010
I am new to the smoking game, but ready to jump in.  However, my dad who lives with me is on a low sodium diet which complicates most rubs/sausages/brines.   So my questions are:

1.  If I buy some ground pork and make my own sausage links are they safe to smoke (not a cold smoke a full temp smoke)?

2.  Must all poultry be brined or is it okay to just start smoking after the bired is placed in a marinade (some apple juice/vinegar and spices)?

3.  For smoking poultry without brine, is it still okay to smoke whole or would you advies cutting it? (hopefully plan to do cornish hens and a chicken)

Thanks in advance!


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Joined Mar 22, 2008
First welcome to SMF and yes you can hot smoke sausage with no problem. You can also smoke poultry without brining it. You could also consider injecting the bird if you wanted to. I have smoked whole chickens without brining with good results before. Beer can chicken would also be a good method to consider


Master of the Pit
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Joined Jan 23, 2010
Yes as piney said. Poultry is fine with out brine.  I have to watch my sodium so I never brine.


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Welcome to SMF!!!

 It is not hard to do some great smokes without any added salt. We don't use salt  so i create all my rubs and marinades w/o salt.

 The only time i have to use salt is when cureing .


Master of the Pit
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Joined Sep 13, 2009
what piney said.........and for what it's worth i make a rub with no sugar and little salt.


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Joined Jul 26, 2009
I agree that you do not need to brine chicken - I almost never do and they come out great


Master of the Pit
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Joined Jul 9, 2010
I usually don't use salt and if I do it's very little. I think my stuff tastes good. More importantly my kids think it tastes good.


Smoking Fanatic
Joined May 17, 2010
Welcome to SMF!! 

I brined a chicken once and then proceeded to over cook it so I don't know if brining actually does any good!  The next one I cooked I didn't brine and it was awesome ( used beer can method ).

You can make your own rubs ( kinda fun ) to limit salt.  Garlic and onion powder get used a lot around my place along with black pepper and cayenne powder.  You can also buy dried peppers in the supermarket and run em thru a blender or maybe a coffee grinder and use in your rubs for a different flavor.


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First off Welcome Acd to SMF.  You'll like it here for there are alot of really good folks here that would just love to help you with just about anything to do with smoking. Now there are alot of proven recipes for some amazing things here too. Now there are alot of good smokers here that also have low sodium diet requirement too. So you will also find some really good recipes here for low salt and believe me they will be tastey too.

Welcome To Your New Addiction


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Joined Jul 28, 2010

I second (third?) the beer-can method, but if you're not beer drinkers, a can of Lemon-Lime Soda actually does pretty darn well too.



Joined Jun 20, 2010
Welcome to SMF. I would have to agree with the comments above.  I have smoked chicken with no brine and no beer can and they came out amazing.  I like to use some garlic powder,onion powder,fresh ground black pepper, cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper and just a dash of sea salt. 


Joined Jul 26, 2010
Actually, I've smoked chicken many years without brining and only found out about it watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  I discovered this forum shortly after that.  The process seems popular here since everyone here seems to enjoy secretive preparation in persuit of perfection. I've always been more basic and less concerned over that part.  I want it cooked like it is, to be a bit frugal, cooked in the best methods using natural means.

Uhh...yet I got lazy and bought a gas smoker.

 I generally smoke or grill chicken in pieces and haven't done a whole chicken or a beer can chicken. I DID brine and smoke half chickens only recently and still not sure if I liked it.  Seems that although the  white meat came out moist, to me it seemed a little tough. 

I found the key to good, succulent grilled or smoked chicken is to not overcook it.  Use a thermometer. Dark meat is more forgiving in retaining it's moisture but needs to be cooked to a higher internal temp of 180,  White meat (the breast) will dry out if you exceed the temp for doneness too much.  At least 165, but I try not to exceed 170.  Try that, measuring the meatiest portion of the breast and I think you'll find brining really isn't necessary.  otherwise, I've smoke with NOTHING on it, sprinkled on it or rubbed and refrigerated.  I've done with skin and without.  Brush on some olive oil if you remove the skin.   

I've always liked the lemon & pepper flavor combo (store bought shaker) and may try a short marinade with lemon juice base sometime soon.  May be a nice alternative to salt.  By definition, brining IS the salt.  However, lemon juice and vinegar are acids so I'll do the marinade for no more than an hour for the flavor.  Otherwise, the acid will break down the protein in the meat and also make it tough
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Smoking Fanatic
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Joined Sep 8, 2009
I've done it both ways with and with out a brine , i do like to brine it "chicken" with apple juice , water , and seasoning in the mix i brine it for no less then four hours then i either do the smoke "which i like best " or do the beer can method on the grill, i also grill it but i do spritz it with a mixture of worschire, lemon and teriyaki sauce mixed in a spray bottle to keep the meat moist .

I DO NOT add salt to my Brine but i have added the sugar to see if it made a difference and after words did not notice a difference .

but i do like and recommend the apple juice brine !!

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