Papaya brined Gamehens

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by smokeydokey, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. What is life without experimentation? Dull in my opinion.

    Here is a little experiment done on some little birds conducted in my little smoker... i hope you like:

    I bought a dozen 22 oz gamehens at the old Costco, and defrosted them over 2 days in the fridge.

    Once thawed, I made a brine of 1 part Tenderquick, to 3 parts papaya nectar, and 3 parts water, 1/4 part kosher salt, and 1/4 part brown sugar. Birds sat in the brine for 12 hours.

    The next day, I smoked them with Cherry wood in my Master Forge propane, using the brine for the waterpan.

    They took quite a while. I was surprised at how long really. I ran them at about 150 for 2.5 hours, then turned them up to just over 200 to bring the internal temp to 165. That took over an hour. The wings legs and thighs were to die for, I found the breast a little grainy in texture, but delicious in flavor. They seemed a little over done to me. Is a lower internal temp ill- advised?

    The papaya seemed to help break down the meat. very tasty little morsels. nice fruit character.

    I got some netting from the butcher to hang the birds, but alas, it was too small, and I could not fit them. I have since ordered some larger nets, and I will try the same brine with the birds hung during the smoke to see if that improved the breast i LOVE all those netting marks!

    Heres the pics:




  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Man they sure have a beautiful color!
  3. tigerregis

    tigerregis Meat Mopper

    Smokey, well done! Can you explain your choice of ingredients in the "brine"?
  4. They look beautiful. Wonderful mahogany color.
  5. Yeah, well the ones I chose to show you, yeah, they look great!... heres one of the unfortunate ones, LOL!

    Looks like hell, but tasted great! Thanks for the comments Al!

    a couple more like these and I'll change my name from "Smokey Dokey" to "Crispy Critter"!

  6. Sure,

    the Hawaiians use papaya to break down the proteins in meat prior to cooking, and they also eat papaya after a huge meal to help digest, so it made sense to me to try in the brine. Plus I love the flavor of papaya. If all of these birds were staying in my freezer, I would have upped the salt and sugar and eliminated the TQ, but I will be sending some of these home with friends and family over the holidays, so I wanted the added protection of the nitrates in the TQ. Strictly a food safety concern.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  7. tigerregis

    tigerregis Meat Mopper

    Smokey, thanks. I knew the papaya was a natural protein massager. Makes sense to me, what you have done. Thanks again.
  8. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now I have a personally thing about fruit in my smoking meats but I'm always willing to try. Those birds look awesome with a cool color an all. I would ask Al (alblancher)  about the whole Nitrates thing for he is /was a chemist and he would know alot more about the safety end of all the mailing info. 
  9. Al has been a wealth of information for me, and has given me very valuable information in regards to keeping my friends and family alive. I prefer not using nitrates for my own stuff, but I know exactly where it is at all times and am comfortable knowing that I'm keeping the nasties at bay. When I ship something, however, I follow the TQ instructions. On Als advice I will be procuring some Cure 1 and Cure 2 and learning to use those. I'm especially enamored of the bacon that comes out of my smoker, and keeping pork around in the fridge for close to 2 weeks is something i'm not going to mess around with. ... 3 cheers for Al!
  10. owlcreeksmoker4

    owlcreeksmoker4 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    color on those birds was fantastic great job and thanks for sharing the brine, very interesting
  11. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Very nice color

    Thanks for sharing your experiment [​IMG]
  12. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well done Smokey. and ,a hand for Al in his hand in the proceedure.[​IMG]

    I say keep on playing with the Papaya marinade. The Papaine in the fruit, actually does play a great factor in the tenderization process.

    Kudos for your efforts  [​IMG]  Keep thinking outside the box.

    have fun and....
  13. You know, I keep thinking that papaya on a really tough piece of meat would be a good thing to try. Honestly, the hens probably were the wrong thing to try this on. They are very good, but I'm thinking, like you, that the properties of the papaya really do go 12 rounds with whatever meat they come in contact with. I will gt some mexican papaya which is cheap, and puree it, and marinade a butt roast... I will, of course report my results to the board....

    happy smoking!


Share This Page