smoked chickens seem "mushy" - any diea why?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by tasunkawitko, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    is it the brine?

    the cooking time?

    the final temperature?

    i'm getting chicken that tastes great, but the texture of the meat is mushy and my wife can't stand it because of that, claiming that it must still be raw in spite of the temperatures to the contrary.

    the only possible thing i can think of as a cause is the fact that i am brining them.

    any ideas?

    while we're at it, any ideas for the rubbery skin? bring up the heat near the end? finish in oven or on grill? help!
  2. jaxgatorz

    jaxgatorz Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Not sure about the mushy meat part, i never brine......... But on the rubbery skin yes, crank up the heat at the end ( or just cook it at the higher temp to begin with as poultry doesnt really need the "low and slow" )... Im sure some1 will be along soon to help ya out more....smoke on !!
  3. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Don't know what yer usin fer a brine, but I've brined hundreds a birds, can't say I ever got one that was mushy. After the brine I rinse the birds an let set in the fridge fer bout an hour, then some rub an onta a 250* smoker, spritz each hour with Slaughterhouse spritz to an internal a 170*. Let rest fer at least a half hour before cuttin, hour be better. I get a decent skin (it ain't fried chicken but decent) usin the spritz. Ya can pull em a bit earlier an put in the oven at say 350* ta finish which will give ya a better skin I'm told.

    Hope that heps ya some.
  4. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i'm using a brine that i got here; the recipe is this:

    1 gallon water
    1 cup kosher salt
    1 cup sugar

    i will also add a few spices, red peper flakes etc. but this is the basic brine.

    i've never tried rinsing the birds and letting them sit. this might be the way to go.

    any other ideas?

  5. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If the chicken is "mushy" it's not due to being "raw". Raw chicken meat is rubbery- slightly tough in a "bouncy" sort of way, kind of like bubble gum. If it's "mushy" , meaning a soft, fall-apart-in-your-mouth-without-using-teeth, then it is something else. The first suspicion is that the chicken is going bad, but you would have smelled the off-smell long before cooking it.

    I have never brined, but could you have mis-applied ingredients to your your brine, combined with too much soaking time to break down the muscle proteins too much? I'm thinking maybe lemon, or other fruit acids or commercial meat-tenderizers would contribute to a mushy texture, though no safety issue involved.
  6. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The brine I created uses 1 1/2 gal a water, 1/2 cup a kosher salt an 1/2 cup a dark brown sugar. Oh heck, I'll just post it an save the trouble. Feel free ta use as is er change anythin ya feel like.

    Slaughterhouse Poultry Brine By Tip Piper of Hillbilly Vittles
    1 ½ Gal Water
    ½ C Salt - Kosher
    ½ C Dark Brown Sugar
    2 tsp Garlic Powder
    2 tsp Onion Powder
    2 tsp Cajun Spice (Louisiana Cajun Seasoning)
    2 tsp Celery Seed

    Slaughterhouse Poultry Injection
    ½ Pkg Good Seasons Italian Dressing
    2 tsp Garlic Powder
    2 tsp Celery Seed
    2 TBS melted Butter (non salted)
    2 C Apple Cider

    Slaughterhouse Spritz (Good fer everthin!)
    8 oz Apple Cider
    6 oz Water
    4 oz Whiskey
    2 oz Cider Vinegar
  7. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I used to use a brine with honey instead of the sugar you listed-and the texture always seemed-mushy--for a better word and family didnt like.I cut out honey and this helped-so my thought would maybe be sugar.As other said i prefer higher heat- but this is my preference.Just my thoughts.
  8. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Try Travcoman45's brine and kick the heat way up I usually smoke poultry at 325-350 using apple chips and it comes out with great texture and crisp skin
  9. m1tanker78

    m1tanker78 Meat Mopper

    Been there before, how frustrating it is! It's the brine. Simple as that. Ever since I stopped brinning, I've never ended up with mushy chicken. One thing that I noted back in the brine days is that if your brine is hot or even slightly warm when you dunk the chicken in, it WILL turn out mushy. Even after discovering that the hard way, I'd either let it cool down in the fridge or if I was in a hurry, I'd ice the hell out of it. Even then, I'd occasionally end up with mushy chicken and man, that'd tick me the hell off! I abandoned the whole brine concept and never looked back. Never had a bad chicken episode since.

    I'm not saying it's wrong to brine. A lot of people here on SMF turn out awesome food when they brine. It just never consistently worked for me.

    Better luck next time TW,

  10. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I agree with Tom, brining can change the texture of chicken. I've had it come out with the texture of soft ham, along with the flavor. This has occurred regardless of the temp of the brine when I added the chicken/parts. I haven't had any complaints, but I personally like the taste of regular cooked chicken. As an added note, I always double rinse my birds in running cold water before they hit the smoker. These are Just my experiences/observations and do not mean that they are facts. Smoke On.
  11. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    thanks for the replies, gents -

    rivet - the chicken is definitely good chicken, but just soft and as you say, fall apart without chewing.

    i'll try travco's brine and keep it COLD and also rise etc. if i still have trouble with it, i'll quit brinigng altogether as i must not have the knack for it. either way, i will definitely put the cooking temps up as i have been doing it at either 250 or even a bit lower.

    thanks to all!

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