Smoking Chicken Breasts, problems

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by dmcfarlan, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. Two days ago, I put three chicken breasts in a brine to soak overnight.
    Then yesterday I smoke the breasts at 225 degrees, until I hit an internal
    temp of 165 degrees. They were ok, but the texture of the meat was
    somewhat chewy, but moist. My wife is real picky about meats, and she would not eat it, and said it was under cooked. It was done all the way through, but had a strange texture.
    The first time I brined and cooked a whole chicken is was amazing, and
    taste and texture was great. The second time I cooked the whole chicken, I think it was a little overcooked, and a bit dry. Now this with the breasts.
    I am wondering if I should just stick to pork, and beef?

  2. I find chicken breasts themselves to lean to smoke. I typically stick to the whole bird or grilling so I can offer you too much advice...
  3. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    First off no you don't just stick to beef and ribs. You eat your mistake then figure out what you did or ask us and "we" figure it out and you go back and smoke it again and then it will be good and you will move onto the next thing to smoke. It is that learning how to smoke that we all here have learned to do. You/ Us and them didn't start out smoking great food. We all learned to smoke great food and eat alot of mistake to get here. We are here to try and make your trip to great smokes a shorter one then ours. Then you will go out and make someone elses shorter then yours. So thats how SMF started and keeps on Truckin and Smokin. So long live the SMF.[​IMG]
  4. scpatterson

    scpatterson Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Amen brother Mark!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Lets fix this dont give up..I have never brined nothin but a turkey but i ahve heard some more fellas mention exactly what you are talking about...i cant answer or tell you but I smoke breast all the time and love them. I do 20-30 at a time ad freeze them
  5. tntxajun

    tntxajun Smoke Blower

    I find that cooking pieces of poultry do better at a higher temp than 215-225.
    Would suggest you try around 275 -300. I usually use my grill and indirect
    cooking with chips and small chunks. I also brine for about 12 hrs instead
    24 hrs to eliminate too much saltiness to the taste. I also pull at about 155
    and tightly wrap in Hd foil for about 30-45 mins in a turned off oven to let them rest. They consistently turn out verrrrrrrry moist and exceptionally flavorful. Would also suggest experimenting with different brines and marinade combinations for super tasty variations.

    Hope this helps, just don't give up, keep some good notes and keep searching for additional suggestions.

  6. thunderdome

    thunderdome Master of the Pit

    My wife isn't a fan of smoked breast either...yet, when I smoke a beer can chicken, she always goes for the breast. Go figure.

    It's gotta be cause the skin on the outside is a filter for some of the smoke I guess
  7. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    That's why I do not beer-can - the can blocks the smoke from getting into the cavity. I do the whole bird, and mop it occasionally with a vinegar-based mix. The mop prevents the skin from getting rubbery.

    I've never smoked 'bare' poultry breast. I sometimes grill it with smoke though, and have never had the problem as described.
  8. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    My $0.02...first of all I'd like to know what was in your brine and at what ratios. I've found that too much salt in a poultry brine can make them a little mushy. Certain citrus juices can have this effect too.

    I'd also second what a couple of the folks said above. Don't soak it as long and cook at a higher temp. Also, I've had better luck with brined poultry with skin on. You can always peel it off if you're not eating it for health reasons.

    If you all you have is skinless breasts, I've seen guys wrap them in bacon to smoke. Adds a nice flavor to the meat too. But if you're doing it for health reasons, maybe a turkey bacon or something to protect the meat from drying out.
  9. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Brining can change the texture of poultry, try less time in the brine. After much trial and error, I seldom use a brine. For me, it has always given the birds a hammy like texture. Have you tried a marinade yet? Don't give up, you need to expand your horizons and your taste buds. It's all good my friend.
  10. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Couldn't have put it better than The Dude. ^^^^
  11. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Also for chicken and turkey breast laying some bacon across the top helps to baste it and keep it from drying out. All else fails ADD BACON!!
  12. audioxtremes

    audioxtremes Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    Definitely only brine breasts for 10-12 hours. I also have only had good results at 300-325 degrees.
  13. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    Good point. When I brine a chicken, it's usually only for a few hours - and never longer than overnight. And my brine ingredients are mostly leafy spices such as bay leaf, tarragon, sage, plus a small amount of salt.

    I don't put citrus into my brines. If I want any citrus flavoring I toss a few slices on top and in the cavity while cooking. Learned this from making cerviche - citrus will actually cook (for lack of a better word) your food. Try it sometime! Squeeze a few lemons and oranges into a bowl, chop some red onion and cilantro and put it in, and drop a dozen shrimp into the bowl and cover it and put it in the fridge overnight. Next day you'll have cerviche where the shrimp have, for all intents and purposes, cooked.

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