How long to brine whole chickens?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by brianyzf, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. brianyzf

    brianyzf Newbie

    I'm going to smoke a couple of whole chickens tomorrow and was wondering how long I can brine them for? THis will be only my second time smoking so I'm very new to this. My initial smoke was also 2 whole chickens (which turned out excellent, by the way!) and I brined them for about 4 hours the morning of the smoke. The problem this time is that I have to work tomorrow morning and am not sure when I will be done and therefore may not have the time to get home and brine for the 4 hours and then still be able to smoke too. I could have my wife do the brining but it would be much easier and better for me to do it. So the real question is can I brine them overnight for smoking in the afternoon? I can't get up early to brine because I'm getting up at 3:00 a.m. for work as it is, and I can't see dragging my a** out of bed any earlier than that. Is it possible to brine for too long?
  2. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yes it is possible to brine for too long.

    How long you can brine depends on the concentration of the brine. The longer you want/need to brine the weaker the concentration needs to be. How long and how weak will be a matter of personal preference, but you might try taking your 4 hour brine and cut the amount in half (same amount of water).

    Good luck,
  3. seboke

    seboke Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You'll find arguements on whether a brine is even needed. If your chicken comes with an added "solution", there is a brine right there. I have personally brined overnight before. If you're worried about teh chicken being too salth, just rinse, then soak them in clean water for an hour, changing the water twice
  4. dennisdocb

    dennisdocb Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I personally don't brine, I perfer to inject them but that's just IMO
  5. solar

    solar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    When cooking a turkey I brine, and I'm on the fence about brining a whole chicken, if you're doing smaller fryer chickens I don't brine. If you're worried about it being to salty, then cut back on your salt or do what Seboke said. It seems to me that the skin absorbs the majority of the salt in the brine, I don't eat the skin, so it's not a problem for me. What's most important with poultry is to keep the smoker heat down (225 or less) so you don't dry it out.

    Just my 2¢: I've had great success with slicing a lemon very thin and coating the slices with crushed black pepper. Make a small cut in the skin with a pearing knife and slide the lemon between the meat and the skin. I put about 8 slices in each chicken.
  6. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    I usually put my chickens in the brine about 8 or 9 the night before then an hour or so before I go light the smoker I pull them out rinse them and let them dry a little while I prepare the smoker and light it while its coming up to temp and getting the smoke going I rub or season the birds and on they go. I also smoke at about 350* for better skin
  7. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Zero hours. I don't find the need to brine.
  8. reddog

    reddog Fire Starter

    I brine for 12-24 hrs. I like to boil my brine then cool it down then add the birds. Wash them good and come to room temp and smoke away.
    Good Luck
  9. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    (Disclaimer: this is smart a$$ useless information. Ignore as needed)

    Question: "How long to brine whole chickens?"
    Answer: At least until they stop flapping their wings. [​IMG]

    I agree with the above post. I don't find a need to brine whole chickens. Cooking them to the proper temp will yield juicy results. I've yet to find a brined bird that didn't taste too salty.
  10. brianyzf

    brianyzf Newbie

    Well, I brined the first time I did chickens and it was really good. Of course, since it was my very first time smoking I don't know if it was the brine or the rub or the temp. or the time or the wood chips or the charcoal or all of the above or..... All I know is that everyone really liked it and I want to try and duplicate it. The only thing I will be changing is the charcoal. I used briquettes last time but this time I managed to find lump charcoal. I'm leaning toward either getting up a bit earlier or just cutting the amount of salt in half. Cutting the salt is probably the easiest though.
  11. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I brine chicken parts overnight. Whole chixs just get rubbed and sit overnight in the fridge.

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