Brine/Rub for whole chicken

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by eomfdbush, Aug 13, 2014.

  1. eomfdbush

    eomfdbush Newbie

    Just finished my first smoke ever on some chicken thighs last week and looking to do my second smoke this weekend on a whole chicken. I have already decided that I am going to try spatchcocking first. I am looking for a new brine to try and haven't really found a rub that I like yet. So I was wondering what everyone's favorite is or if there are some simple ones out there that people wouldn't mind sharing with me? Also I know it depends on when the IT temp is right but on average how long are these smokes usually? I have a Smoke vault 24.
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Here's my favorite poultry brine.  You can skip the curing salt and do the rest.  The curing salt adds an interesting flavor twist to the brine, giving the chicken a fraction of a taste like ham.  Without the curing salt it is still delicious. 

    Orange Juice Poultry Brine

    This was a brine I used for injecting the breast meat prior to brining.  It was a takeoff of Alton Brown's OJ brine.  The results were AMAZING!  More than once I've heard people say "this is the best chicken I've eaten in my life." 

    Note:  I initially warmed the ingredients to dissolve the solids.  What I found that works better is blending the brine a large capacity blender.  Blending worked MUCH better than putting it on the stove.

    Ziplock "Large" 3 gallon storage bags, which are food safe, are great to use as brining bags and will easily hold two 6 lbs chickens or one 12-14 lb turkey and the brine.  Discard the bag after use.

    1/2 tsp Prague #1 Pink Salt (optional)
    1/2 cup kosher salt
    1 Tbs onion powder
    1  Tbs garlic powder
    1 tsp black pepper
    1 cup dark brown sugar
    1 quart orange juice
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1/4 cup lime juice
    1 quart water
    1 quart ice 
    1 quart water


    1. In a large capacity blender mix all the brine ingredients except the ice and the last quart of water.  Blend until well blended and the solids have dissolved.  Pour into a large Dutch Oven then add the ice and last quart of water.  The brine should be cold before adding chicken.  If you don't want to use a blender, just mix the ingredients in the Dutch Oven, stir over low heat until well blended, then add the ice and water.

    2. Place fresh or thawed poultry in the Dutch Oven.  Inject the breast meat while sitting in the brine then move to your brining bag.  If doing this as a one person operation put the brining bag in another large stock pot or Dutch oven.  Open it.  Grab the chicken with one hand by the legs, hold and let drain, then put in the brining bag breast down.  This recipe make enough for two 6 to 6.5 lbs chickens.  Pour the remaining brine and last quart of water over the poultry, seal and store for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator or a cooler packed with ice jugs.  Brining for more than 24 hours is not recommended but I've done it up to 48 hours with no adverse effects. This process will produce a tender, juicy final product because the salt in the brine changes the protein structure of the meat.

    3. After brining, drain the pan or brining bag really well and discard the brine. Rinse the poultry again then prep for smoking.
    eomfdbush likes this.
  3. eomfdbush

    eomfdbush Newbie

    Thank you very much Noboundaries that sounds like an awesome brine to try out this weekend. Any tips on rubs? Or how long of a smoke I'm in for? Thank you again
  4. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    My easy favorite:

    1.  Brine overnight in 1 cup Kosher salt to 1 gal. water in covered container. Rinse chicken after removing from brine.

    2.  Marinate 4-5 hours in 1/3 cup EVOO, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper, 4-6 squeezed limes (this is enough for 2 large chickens).

    3.  Smoke with your favorite smoke wood @ 325 until IT 165.

    4.  Remove from smoker and serve. Do not foil. Cook time 11/2 to 2 hours.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
  5. eomfdbush

    eomfdbush Newbie

    Thanks Grillmonkey sounds like a great easy brine and marinade. Do most people go that high of a smoker temp?
  6. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    A lot do. It may not be as smoky as a low-&-slow smoke, but the EVOO in the marinate will capture more of the smoke flavor than a dry rub at high heat. The primary benefit of high heat is it will crisp the skin, so you don't have to move the chicken around to a different grill or the oven to crisp it.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  7. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When I brine and inject a whole chicken I get the largest I can find in the display case and usually smoke two.  I smoke them at a higher temp, 300+, and it usually takes a 2-3 hours to get the IT where I want it.  I really don't watch the clock.  I watch the IT. 

    The brine is so flavorful you really don't need a rub but you can lightly splash it with anything from Jeff's Rub to any commercial rub. My wife's favorite commercial rub is Grill Mates Sweet n Smoky.  I don't put anything on the skin except a little EVOO, and sometimes I don't even use that.  I usually smoke them with a stronger wood like hickory or mesquite, but that's a personal preference.  Below are some pics I took a while ago on whole chickens, including a close-up of the breast to show the moistness.  We started picking on the chicken before dinner and couldn't stop! 

    I did boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs this past weekend.  Used a Texas Chipotle Coffee Rub I found online and put together some time ago for a brisket.  Didn't care for it on the brisket but it was better than average on spare ribs and chicken. 

    I lightly dust BTW when I use rubs, except on big pieces of meat like briskets and pork butts.    

  8. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    I just had lunch and those chicken pics still made my stomach growl.
  9. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Pictures are beautiful.  I am still new here.  I've had 2 good smokes, pork butt and beef jerky and I wanted chicken to be next.  I will try your suggestions.  I hope I am as successful.
  10. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Grillmoney , hello.

    You have been shown 'Enlightenment' , go and choose your method and send Q-view [​IMG]  .

    Have fun and . . .

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