Perfect grilled chicken? I need help!

Discussion in 'Grilling Chicken' started by jimpam, Oct 3, 2014.

  1. jimpam

    jimpam Smoke Blower

    Ok, so I have been smoking for about 7 years (Thanks to this site for all the help).  My question is about grilling chicken.  I have made decent grilled chicken whether on a charcoal, gas/ propane or even open fire.  BUT when I eat grilled chicken at a decent resturant, it is always pretty darn good.  For example I had lunch with a client recently at Salt Grass, a chain steakhouse in Texas.   I ordered the grilled chicken and it was juicy, tender and yes grilled and not "manufactured".   So I ask, what is everyone's secret to good, tender juicy grilled Chicken? I usually get he best results marinating for 24 hours in some mixture including pineapple juice, but sometimes it still comes out dry.  Help!
  2. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    I'm guessing they brine it first...
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    High temp grilling is key if you aren't brining. Maybe they are cooking it Sous vide then finishing off on the grill.
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    BRINE! [​IMG]  Here is a Recipe that is popular and will make great Bird. You can use the same procedure for Boneless Breasts, just cook over Direct Heat about 4-5 minutes per side depending on size...JJ

    Pit Chicken aka, Roadside Chicken

    This Chicken is Grilled/Smoked and sold all across the country at Roadside Stands and at Firehouse Fund Raiser BBQ's. Here is my version

    Pit Chix Basting Sauce

    2C Apple Cider Vinegar

    1C Olive or other Oil

    2T Worcestershire Sauce or more to taste

    1/4C Brown Sugar

    1T Smoked Paprika

    2 tsp Granulated Garlic

    2 tsp Granulated Onion

    2 tsp Fine Grind Black Pepper

    1 tsp Celery Salt

    1 tsp Cayenne Pepper or Chipotle powder. Add more if you like Heat.

    1/2 tsp Grnd Allspice

    2Lrg Egg Yolks

    I always Brine my Chicken with my Families Favorite Brine and apply some Bubba Chix Rub. This is then Grill/Smoked over indirect heat at 300-325°F until the Internal Temp (IT) reaches 175°F. If the skin is not Crisp enough, a few minutes, turning frequently, over direct heat will get you there.

    This stuff is Tangy with a Sweet and Spicy Finish. If you wish, instead of Brining, you can make a Double batch and add 1T Kosher Salt to half. Marinate the Chix for 4-6 hours with the salted half of the Brine/Basting Sauce then use the rest to baste during the Cook.

    I would squirt the Sauce on with a Sports Bottle about every 15-20 minutes and used all but 1/2 cup that I took to the Table to add a fresh Punch of flavor. Great Stuff!...JJ

    Families Favorite Brine

    1/2C Kosher Salt

    2T Paprika

    2T Gran. Garlic

    2T Gran. Onion

    2T Dry Thyme

    2T Black Pepper

    1C Vinegar (Any)

    1-11/2Gal Cold Water to cover Chix

    1/2C Brown Sugar, Optional

    1T Red Pepper Flake Optional

    Mix well and Soak the Bird over night or up to 24 Hours.

    Remove the Chix, rinse if desired and pat dry with paper towels.

    Place in an open container in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours for the Skin to dry.

    This will give a crispier skin when Smokng or Roasting...

    Bubba Chix Rub

    1/2C Raw Sugar

    2T Paprika (I use Smoked if I'm just Grilling)

    1T Cayenne

    1T Gran. Garlic

    1T Gran. Onion

    1tsp Black Pepper

    1tsp Wht Pepper

    1tsp Allspice

    1tsp Bell's Poultry Seasoning or Thyme

    Mix well. You can put directly on the skin or mix with Butter, Oil or Bacon Grease and rub on and under the Skin.

    Reduce Cayenne to 1 teaspoon if less heat is desired. Add 1T Kosher Salt if the bird is not Brined.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2014
  5. jimpam

    jimpam Smoke Blower

    Thanks Guys and Chef Jimmy!  I will try that brine on Sunday!
  6. Remember to post a Qview!

    Happy smoken.

  7. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If it is dry, then it is overcooked.  Strive for 165° in both the breast and thigh (or 160° in the breast and 170° in the thigh).  Once it shoots up to 180° or 190° it dries out very quickly.
  8. I will double down on what Pops6927 said.  Dry is usually a symptom of overcooked.  Brined takes the chicken up a notch (or two), but even un-brined chicken can be juicy if not overcooked.  Resting the chicken for about ten minutes helps as well.
  9. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    As I've said time and time again, brining is not needed for moist juicy chicken. If you're looking for a different flavor profile then brine away. Properly cooked chicken will be juicy and moist without a brine.
  10. Brining is the key.  Here is what I do. clean and rinse my chicken. Mix about a half cup of brown sugar and salt about a quarter cup of Tony's with enough water to cover the chicken. Set in the fridge either overnight or early morning to sit all day. Pour off brine rinse chicken, drain and pat dry. I rubdown the chicken with either margarine or evoo then a light coat of seasoning.On whole chickens I have some stand up holders (like beer can) I grill at 300 -325. Chicken is always juicy, tender and the skin is crisp.

  11. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Brining is Key, if you are looking for a different flavor profile. Brining is not key for moist juicy chicken.
  12. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    If you want idiot proof food look into cuisine solutions products:

    It's not cheap! We've been trying some samples at work and some of them are really good!

    They also have a version of mac cheese that's pretty good; but it's not macaroni: cellentani and cheese? Something like that. They say that that isn't sous vide but enrobbed technology (don't ask me!!!).
  13. mcloven1t

    mcloven1t Smoke Blower Group Lead

    I cook chicken breasts all the time for my family and I.

    Don't even do anything special. Just defrost some frozen chicken by putting the closed bag into water til chicken is soft. Then season it with whatever I want to use.

    On the propane grill, I put the burner on low and have it sit on the middle rack. Usually takes about 15 minutes on each side. Take off around 160-165 degrees internal and rest for 5 minutes.

    Charcoal, I use 25% charcoal briquettes, 75% lump charcoal, put it on one side of the grill, and cook with indirect heat. Usually 20-25 minutes on each side, again. Reach 165ish temp then pull off.

    95% of the time I always come out with tender, juicy chicken.

    In my experience, it's more about the time/temp to make a great chicken. All the brinining and everything is just a nice addition.  You do NOT need to brine to have great chicken.

    But like any bbq, TRIAL BY FIRE is my method. If you fail at a meal, try, try, and try again. Bound to find the method(s) that work best for YOU
  14. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I stumbled across a trick that I love the results on - also I almost exclusively cook bone in, skin on thighs.

    Get the grill good and hot, oil the grates, place the chicken on skin side down for a few minutes to start the crisping and grill marks, then flip the chicken over. Then if you are using a gas grill turn off all but one burner and move the chicken to either the far side from the flame or the top rack; for charcoal have all your coals on one side and the chicken on the other. Let it cook for about 20 minutes, then flip it skin side down again and cook till desired temp is reached. Rest for 15-20 min. and enjoy!

    I find the high heat start, with a lower heat cook produces constantly juicy and tasty chicken.
  15. I'm with DirtSailor on this. I just don't buy into the brining thing. The few times I've tried it the meat (chicken & pork, primarily) just tasted salty. But it wasn't particularly juicier. Brining proponents have merely convinced themselves that the process makes a better bird or roast. Fact is, properly cooked chicken will be moist and tender all on its own. Brining isn't necessary.

    One trick I pass on gratis: Prepare a compound butter. For chicken we prefer either an anchovy butter or garlic butter. Spatchcock the chicken. Spread this all over the flesh of the bird, under the skin. Then grill it, starting bone side down. .

    Watch your internal temps. Far too many recipes still direct cooking to 180F. That's pretty much a guarantee of dry chicken. 180 should be the target temperature once the bird is rested. IT during cooking should reach only about 165F.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2014
  16.  Everybody has their own method, and what they feel is the correct way. If you don't like to brine, DON"T BRINE, Another thing is I haven't convinced myself of anything. I have stated many times on this forum there is no right or wrong it's what you like. I've been smoking and grilling for over 40 years, have tried many different methods and flavors. and settled on what we (our family likes)
    I am still very open minded on trying different and new things,  I have not got to the point in all my years where I know everything. I guess I should be thankful for the people that chime in and set me straight. (Didn't know I was doing it wrong)  Wow ,now I can finally do it right

  17. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Haha!! I'm with you Gary. I come to this forum to learn and discuss smoking, grilling and all manner of cooking. I'm perfectly happy to admit when I prove to myself that a preconceived notion is less than accurate, and even happier to share ideas that, in my opinion, work and make a difference in the finished product. I only hope I can reach the level of experience and skill to one day be able to proclaim for all to hear that my OPINION is the one true way and that all those who subscribe to any other school of thought are wrong.
    I personally like brining. I don't do it all the time because I usually don't plan far enough ahead. And yes, I do realize that properly cooked poultry is usually moist and tender. Except when it's not. There are those birds, usually older birds of a larger size, that refuse to comply with the notion that brining isn't necessary. Then there are those dinner guests, usually older guests of a larger size, who recoil in horror when presented with what they perceive to be under done poultry. Then there are those times when the cook, usually an older cook of a larger size (at least in my case) might get involved in a conversation, have a little more wine than intended, take a nap or become distracted for whatever reason and miss the target temperature.
    In these instances, unless you like dry, tough poultry, a brine is completely necessary. Even when I check all the boxes and nail the temperature, I still believe that brined chicken tastes better. But that's just me. If you don't like it, feel free to do it your way. Just don't tell me my way is wrong.
  18. Here is a post on Brine, I DID NOT WRITE IT  just thought I would post it

    How a brine works:

    Moisture loss is inevitable when you cook any type of muscle fiber. Heat causes raw individual coiled proteins in the fibers to unwind—the technical term is denature—and then join together with one another, resulting in some shrinkage and moisture loss. (By the way, acids, salt, and even air can have the same denaturing effect on proteins as heat.) Normally, meat loses about 30 percent of its weight during cooking. But if you soak the meat in a brine first, you can reduce this moisture loss during cooking to as little as 15 percent, according to Dr. Estes Reynolds, a brining expert at the University of Georgia.

    Brining enhances juiciness in several ways. First of all, muscle fibers simply absorb liquid during the brining period. Some of this liquid gets lost during cooking, but since the meat is in a sense more juicy at the start of cooking, it ends up juicier. We can verify that brined meat and fish absorb liquid by weighing them before and after brining. Brined meats typically weigh six to eight percent more than they did before brining—clear proof of the water uptake.

    Another way that brining increases juiciness is by dissolving some proteins. A mild salt solution can actually dissolve some of the proteins in muscle fibers, turning them from solid to liquid.

    Of all the processes at work during brining, the most significant is salt's ability to denature proteins. The dissolved salt causes some of the proteins in muscle fibers to unwind and swell. As they unwind, the bonds that had held the protein unit together as a bundle break. Water from the brine binds directly to these proteins, but even more important, water gets trapped between these proteins when the meat cooks and the proteins bind together. Some of this would happen anyway just during cooking, but the brine unwinds more proteins and exposes more bonding sites. As long as you don't overcook the meat, which would cause protein bonds to tighten and squeeze out a lot of the trapped liquid, these natural juices will be retained.
  19. Thanks MB


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