Pulled Chicken...Boneless skinless

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by geek with fire, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    So I have to preface this topic by saying that I have recently (in the last several months) lost about 35 lbs. Oddly enough, this is what got me back in to BBQ. I found the best way to lose weight was to drop sugar and flour, and add a lot of protien. I found that Chicken was about the healthiest protien I could find, but I got sick baked chicken really quick. So, I started smoking it everyweek and I really enjoyed that extra flavor. I know go through about 6-12 pounds of chicken a week.

    So after the last couple of pork shoulders (which hasn't helped the weight loss any) I got to wondering if I could do the same process with the chicken breasts. I very much like the systematic approach to smoking a pork shoulder: smoke until it hits "X" temp, then wrap and cook until it hits "Y" temp. Obviously I know that in this case, "Y" is about 165-170, but I'm wondering about the "X" temp. Once it hits this temp, I want to douse with some kind of juice (probably apple) and individually wrap each breast in foil and cook to temp.

    Now I know that obviously this meat doesn't have the fat that a shoulder has, but I'm thinking that the foiling process will help it fall apart, which is what I'm after.

    Any takers?
  2. ron50

    ron50 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    The problem with chickken breasts is that they don't have a lot of fat to keep the chicken moist like a pork shoulder does, that's why low and slow doesn't really help. If you are looking to add smokey flavor you can smoke them until about 140 degrees, then foil them with some fruit juice, and bring them to 165 degrees

    When I have seen pulled chicken it is usually the dark meat; thighs and drumsticks.
  3. seaham358

    seaham358 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I agree with the 140 because the 40-140 is the danger area for bacteria? I think its bacteria or another kind of nasty bug that grows in food.

    If you have not done so already brine them birds to add more flavor and it keeps them moist.
  4. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    So I didn't get a chance to check the forum before I cooked tonight, but it looks like I was mostly on track.

    Last night I made a simple brine:
    16 cups water
    1 cup course salt
    1 cup turbinado sugar
    some vinegar
    few dashes of garlic powder

    3 lbs of Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast brined for about 10 hours
    Removed from the brine and rinsed

    Added Chicken to a large zipper bag with about half a bottle of Raspberry Chipotle sauce. Marinated for about 12 hours

    Smoked at 250 until the chicken reached 135
    Slowly reduced temperature to 225 until chicken reached 150
    (that gave me about 1.5 hours in applewood smoke, spritzed every half hour)
    Bagged in foil with several squirts of apple juice and brandy (50/50 mix)
    Cooked until meat reached 175

    Rested in foil, towel, and cooler for 2 hours.

    Pulled with a fork. Obviously it didn't pull as easily as pork, but still went pretty easy and made great sandwiches.

    Some thoughts: So I know everyone here raves on the brining process, but I've done it twice and personally think the results are too salty. When I try this again, I'll probably skip the brining process. Since I capture most of the juice with the foil anyhow, moisture isn't an issue.

    Here's a shot
  5. ba_loko

    ba_loko Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Josh, I didn't get to comment in time to advise the brine. It's certainly high on the advice list! The last time I did that, it was a big hit here. It add tons of moisture. The flavor will come from many other sources, including the smoking process, the finishing sauce, etc. Stay on the same track you are. You'll do fine. I've gone from 300lbs to 255lbs in the last few months. Food selection, as well as portion sizes have really made a difference.

    I also look better/thinner from a distance.

    For what it's worth, My wife, Linda, has a knack for chicken. I was never a fan of it, but I can dang sure eat what she dreams up with the yard bird. I'll try to post some recipes soon of her stuff. If I forget, please remind me!
  6. squeezy

    squeezy Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    Not sure how using a brine containing sugar and making sammies works for your diet? (sugar & flour)

    I like your idea though! [​IMG]
  7. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    IMHO 10 hours is waaaayyy too long to brine chicken breast. Try cutting it down to 2 hours and see if you like that better before giving up on brining them.
  8. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks for your comments. Yea, I may not give up on it just yet; see comments below.

    Squeezy, you need to mind your own business!! [​IMG]
    Just kidding, but really you're right. My plan though is to have a baseline that I can start with, then start taking calories out and see how far I can go before I feel like I'm eating cardboard; then perhaps back off a little.......or just replace it with brisket!

    I kinda wondered about that. Both times I tried it, it was an over night type deal. I'll give it another shot and see. Is there any merrit in marinading after a brine?
  9. pigcicles

    pigcicles Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    GWF - I would keep the brining down to an hour per pound or a little less. Rinse good, maybe soak for a bit, then re-rinse to help reduce the saltiness. Have you considered maybe injecting the chicken? I prefer the flavor better than brining.

    But again I really prefer my chicken to have hooves anyway.. the ribs are much better [​IMG]
  10. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hahah chicken...hooves! I want a yardbird with 6 wings! Yeah, chicken ribs leave something to be desired...
  11. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I honestly don't know. I have always looked at those as an either/or proposition never tried both.
  12. ron50

    ron50 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can also cut down on the amount of salt in your brine! I use 1/2 cup of salt and find it reduces the salty tast but still adds lots of moisture.
  13. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Geek......try this link out for pulled chicken

  14. i did pulled chicken for the first time sunday. i did two full 4 pounders beer can up butt method at 320* till 180*. i dont brine my birds for the most part, im kinda with you on the "too salty" part. someone gave me a u tube link for the recipe, awesome! you take the skin off after its done, chop it up and fry it and mix it up with the alredy pulled chicken. maybe not so healthy, but; really made great sammies.
  15. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    hehehe.........you mean the link i just posted.............

  16. you, my friend, have some great links. i just saw the one on seperating brisket, well played!
  17. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    i owe it all to this site

  18. I'm thinking about trying this pulled chicken recipe.I would like to know about this "Raspberry Chipotle sauce",is this something you make or can you buy it in stores?[​IMG]
  19. vlap

    vlap Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    C'mon they are the new tapas!
  20. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yep, I think I picked it up at wally world. If they don't have the same stuff, they'll surely have rasberry "something" sauce. Pick up that and a bottle of Chipotle Tabasco and add a few shots to flavor.

    Also a side note: If you are flexible on the whole "fat free" thing, a strip of bacon on each chicken strip really helps add to the moisture. But if you're like me, the only reason your cooking these things is for the health aspect.

    When I'm in a flexible mood (meaning, the wife isn't watching) I curl up some flat pieces of foil and make a little "chicken boat". Drizzle some EVOO in the bottom. Add a rubbed chicken breast, lay a piece of bacon (half a strip will work) on top, and smoke to temp. The boat keeps the juice in the chicken and still takes on great smoke.

    Also, I used the term "pulled" very loosely in the originaly post. Torn and chopped is probably a better discription.

    EDIT: One last thing: brining chicken breast for 10 hours is only good if you like to chew on "salt licks". Either skip the brine and just use an overnight marinade, or only brine for a couple of hours. If you go with a marinade, avoid anything with citris juice or it will cook the chicken before you do.

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