Tourtiere Style Chicken Pieces

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by GaryHibbert, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    In the very near future, I plan to smoke my very first  spatchcocked turkey.  I decided to do a test smoke on chicken parts (1 boneless, skinless breast and 3 thighs) to make sure I was happy with the brine and rub.  I would feel a whole lot worse if I ruined a whole turkey rather than a chicken breast.  [​IMG]

    Miss Linda makes a French Canadian/Acadian tourtiere style 3 meat stuffing for her turkeys that I absolutely love.  I figured that brining the turkey in those flavors would, hopefully, lend that exact flavor to the entire turkey. 

    Well, I guess I’m about to find out.

    Since I had absolutely no idea how much ground spice to use in the brine, I sent a PM to JJ.  His reply was, as always, prompt, thorough, extremely informative, and even contained directions for making the brine.  [​IMG]


    1 tsp nutmeg

    1 tsp cinnamon

    1 tsp allspice

    ½ tsp cloves

    Mix the spices in 1 quart of water and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and steep for 15 minutes.   Cool to room temp and add 1 quart of cold water.  Then mix in the other ingredients.

    So, to this Tea I added:

    1/6 cup Kosher Salt

    1/6 cup dark brown sugar

    2/3 tsp each of granulated garlic and onion powder

    1 quart of cold water

    The trimmed chicken parts were placed in a gallon ziplock bag and the brine pored over them.  The brine was a very dark brown color—dark enough that it was almost impossible to see the meat in the bag.  Then into the fridge for 24 hours.

    The next day (that would be today) I fired up the MES and set it at 250*.  I loaded up the AMNPS with 50% Pitmaster Choice and 50% Cherry pellets and got it burning nicely.  While I was waiting, I rinsed the meat VERY well, patted it dry, and applied a simple SPOG rub.  That little piece in the corner is a "tester" for the cook.

    I had planned to start cooking the chicken at about 2 PM, but work got in the way—I had to go and check how the repairs were coming along on my Freightliner.  As it turned out, it was 4 PM by the time the meat went into the smoker, but as I was cooking only for myself, time really wasn’t a factor.

    Almost immediately, the AMNPS started giving me trouble--again.    [​IMG]      It would work just great as long as the MES door was open, but would stop smoking almost at the sound of the door closing.  It was pretty obvious the problem was a lack of fresh air, but I had the chip loader removed and the tray pulled out as far as it would go.  After the third attempt to keep it burning, I abandoned the AMNPS completely.  For the rest of the smoke, I fed pellets into the MES chip tray—that was a real PITA, but it worked just fine.  The AMNPS???  It is on suspension until I do a mailbox mod.  Then we'll see.  It will either work perfectly or it will become a bird feeder.

    The MES performed fine, as usual.  The temperature, although set at 250*, bounced between 230 and 268, as usual.

    At 4:05 PM the IT of the breast hit 165*, and I pulled the chicken out of the smoker—total cook time was 2 hours and 5 minutes. The meat had good color, a nice crust, and smelled great.

    When I cut into the breast, I was amazed at how moist and tender the meat was.  This was, without doubt, the tenderest chicken breast I have ever eaten—you could literally have cut it with a plastic fork!!

    What really surprised and disappointed me was just how little flavor from the spices in the brine actually penetrated into the meat.  Almost none.  The outside of the breast was very tasty, but until I added salt and pepper, the inner meat was quite plain.  Plain--as in no spice flavor at all.  It just tasted like…………well, like chicken.  [​IMG]

    Overall, the experiment was a success.  The chicken was juicy, unbelievably tender, cooked perfectly, and, for a “plain” chicken breast, delicious.  I will definitely do chicken pieces again and a turkey using this method, but I will be changing the brine to something different.  I’m not, at this moment, sure what brine I’ll be using—gonna have to think about that for a while.

    Thanks for looking.

    tropics, disco and waterinholebrew like this.
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Looks good and you got to love the color Cherry puts on meat. Did the Brine and/or surface meat have the flavor you wanted? If the answer is Yes, then Injection may be a good way to go. I use a Grill Beast to Inject now and am thrilled with it...JJ
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    JJ beat me to it.

    I was going to say inject with your marinade mixture.

    The chicken really looks perfectly done & juicy!

    Nice job!

  4. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks great to me Gary ! Thumbs Up
  5. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Hey JJ. Yes the brine had the flavor. The surface meat flavor was mostly from the SPOG and smoke.
    Don't know for sure but are the spices I used maybe not water solvable (sp? ). If not then injection would be the only way to get the flavor into the meat.
  6. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks AL. It was. Turned out to be the best chicken I've ever made.

    I'll be injecting next time.
  7. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks Justin. It was great, just lacking in my spice combo flavor.

    Funny thing is this smoke day started out real bad. On my way out to the MES with the meat I had a wee oops. I set the tray down on top of the smoker while I got the door open. The tray started to fall off but I managed to grab it. All the meat stayed on the tray except the breastfeeding. It hit the ground an rolled a couple of times in the dirt. Had to take it inside and scrub it to get all the dirt off. Then more SPOG and into the MES. Naturally the breastfeeding is for me. Funny now, but the air was pretty blue when it happened. LOL

  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Like marination, brine get some flavor in but depending on the meat type and thickness only penetrates so far. The beauty of Injectection is you distribute the flavors all throughout...JJ
  9. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks JJ.  Looks like I'll be injecting next time.\

  10. halfsmoked

    halfsmoked Master of the Pit Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Great looking cook and it looks like you got heads up to inject for more flavor.
  11. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Gary that looks great, we had the same results a few weeks back.They do look tasty  Points


  12. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Yep, sure did.  I'll be injecting the turkey when I do it.

  13. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks Richie.  The chicken was moist and delicious--just didn't meet expectations.

  14. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Perfect poultry, Gary.

    Sounds like you hit a home run.


  15. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks Disco.  Have to admit that even if it wasn't what I was aiming for, the chicken turned out great.


Share This Page