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Smoking my first whole chickens, wanting to know about brining.

Discussion in 'Grilling Chicken' started by thegirlfriend, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. So, I am gonna smoke a turkey on the char-griller for thanksgiving, doing a trial run on some family members who wont be able to come. So i figured, hey chickens, they are just smaller turkeys!! i plan to smoke them, but was wondering about a good brine recipie. I understand the basics of it, how much salt:water ratio and all. But have been reading that you can add other stuff to the brine to give it some great flavors. Since i am new to all this, wasn't sure where to ask, but where can i find some easy simple brine suggestions. Only gonna do 1 of the birds in the brine, then just smoke the other alongside to see which is better and if i should brine the turkey. looking for a good earthy, savory flavor. Think i am gonna do a sweet baste on the other (for the hubby, cuz he likes it that way), probably something with honey.  Any help would be greatly appreciated, if you have a good recipie you would llike to pass on, or just where to look. Thanks so much for any input. [​IMG]
  2. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Bay leaf, thyme, sage and cracked pepper.

    These will all move into the bird if you set your brine up a couple hours early and let them release the essentials.  The salt will move as it equalizes into the bird, taking the oils with it.
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    I'll second the slaughterhouse brine its good
  4. mr mac

    mr mac Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Pretty much the same thing I do as it is simple yet effective.  One extra step I take is to make a sort of amended bouquet garni and steep the herbs before I drop them into the brine along with the steeping water as that also helps move the flavors into the flesh.
  5. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now I have always used Tip's Slaughter House Brine but that mixture of herbs does kind of tingle my leg now. I might have to try it there Bob.
  6. Thanks to all who pointed me in the right direction. I think i am gonna do the Slaughterhouse brine, since it has specific amounts and i will be able to tell exactly what is going on, but if all goes well, i am thinking about the Bay leaf, thyme, sage and cracked pepper that bbally suggested. It sounds like just the right combo for a delish turkey. [​IMG]
  7. smokingnd

    smokingnd Smoke Blower

    I also hae always used Tip's Slaughterhouse Brine, it has always been excellent.
  8. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I will have to try some of those  posted.

    Here's some of my Brine Notes. I know you said you are doing chicken currently these are my turkey notes, figured they may help you on thanksgiving., I usually don't brine chix
    • Brine Turkey, unless it already has been, such as "Moister Enhanced with up to 8% of solution" or "Self Basting" or "Kosher".
    • Brining enhances flavor but at the same time gives the cook a wider margin of error, ensuring a moist bird, in  my opinion anyway.
    • USDA States that BASTED or SELF BASTED: Bone-in poultry products that are injected or marinated with a solution containing butter or other edible fat, broth, stock or water plus spices, flavor enhancers and other approved substances must be labeled as basted or self basted. The maximum added weight of approximately 3% solution before processing is included in the net weight on the label. Label must include a statement identifying the total quantity and common or usual name of all ingredients in the solution, e.g., "Injected with approximately 3% of a solution of.
    • Water to salt ratio is 1:16 or 1 cup of Kosher salt per gallon of non-chlorinated water.

    • Sugar reduces the the taste of the salt, use the same ratio as the salt.

    • Whole Birds brine for about an hour a pound.
    • Breasts no more than 5-6 hours

    Turkey Brine:

    2 Gal Water
    2 Cups Kosher Salt
    2 Cups Sugar (1 Cup white + 1 Cup Brown)
    4 TBS Black Pepper
    1 TBS Dried Rosemary
    1 TBS Thyme
    1/4 Cup White Wine (not Cooking Wine)

    • Combine all ingredients to 1 gallon of water in a large pot and bring to a slow simmer for 10 minute stirring, remove from heat and cool in refrigerator. Reserve  a few ounces for the beer can
    • Remove the neck and giblets from the inside, trash the liver and place the neck and giblets in the refrigerator, this will be used for gravy. Place the turkey in cooler add brine then add enough ice to last the length of time the bird will be in the brine and make sure bird is submerged and place in a cool location. Soak a 12 pound turkey in the brine overnight or 10-12 hours in the fridge, the goal here is about an hour a pound.
  9. thebarbequeen

    thebarbequeen Smoking Fanatic

    I put garlic in my brine, too.  It may sound strange, but taste your brine before you commit the bird to it - you'll get a good idea of what to expect. I also like Alex Guarnaschelli's foodtv turkey brine as a starting point. If you have time for the brine to cool down "naturally", you can start with only part of the water and add the rest as ice cubes to cool it faster. downside to that is that the herbs and spices get a little less "blooming" time in the warmer brine.
  10. I love Garlic in my brine. Experimenting is the best part about brining!