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1st The new forum is great. Thanks for all the hard work getting it set up.

2nd The smokette will withstand at least a 6.8 earthquake.

I think I have brined my last whole chicken. I did the second test this weekend of brining 1 and not brining 1 and then let a few people do a blind taste test. No one could tell a difference in taste or texture of the meat (they tasted a piece of the breast and thigh). I mainly use a honey brine and have tried 8, 12 and 24 hours in the brine for whole chicken.

I'm thinking I will only brine my turkey breasts as I have found it really helps with dry meat or a very large bird that is exposed to temps below 140 for a long period.

I am interested in others who brine whole chicken and if you can tell a difference in taste or texture. How do you feel the brine helps? Are you injecting the brine? Maybe I'm using the wrong brine or something else. Thanks.

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John, It may depend on what you are using in your brine. I always brine chicken and I notice a distinct difference in the texture and moisture. I will change the overall contents of the brine from time to time but always a minimum of 1 cup of non-iodized salt to 1 gallon of water. After that let your imagination run wild...garlic, onion, sage, honey whatever will add flavor. It is my understanding that the brine needs to be salty enough for the osmosis to occur drawing the added moisture and flavor into the meat. It will also help in case you overcook slightly in that the maet will not dry out as readily. I hope this helps as I am by no means an expert here. Maybe Smokin' Okie will jump in here and add his thoughts.
There should be a remarkable difference in the way that brined chicken taste over one that is not.

My first attempt was with Morton's Quick Tender and it worked wonders!

I've tried using just salt and frankly speaking it doesn't work that well by itself. I like the ease of using Morton's Quck Tender, salt and whatever seasonings.

I usually let is soak overnight, never much more than 24 hours, and I haven't been disappointed yet. In fact, I've got leg quarters in the fridge right now, I'll get started around 4:30pm for dinner tonight.

Check out this url

So, you don't like brining? So what. Just because everyone else in the free world does, doesn't make you different.

One of the things we like here at the CS Forums is a difference of opinion. We certainly respect that.

If I can help, let me try.

Can you give me the exact recipe for your brine? (email me if it's secret, but if it doesn't work, no one will want it anyway).

It sounds, like others have said, that there probably wasn't enough salt in it. If one of your brined birds didn't taste salty, and you left it in there 24 hours, then I think you don't have enough salt.

We don't have "smell-o-vision" yet in this forum, until then, you'll have to give us more details.

I too, use Morton TenderQuick. It is made for preserving and check out the link, it's very different.

Let's give you one last go at a test, if you're willing to try. Make it simple, you don't even have to do a whole bird. Just get a bag of breast and thighs and test away.

One last point about brining, and why I don't think you put enough salt in. With a regular brine, if you don't rinse it well, it will definitely taste over salty. You didn't say that you rinsed yours, so I'm thinking not enough salt.

Ron was correct. The basic concept behind brining is that the salt, via osmosis, takes the brine and exchanges with the moisture present in the meat. Without the salt, there's no osmosis.

okay, enough from long-winded Smokin...

Smokin Okie
It's done when it's done
Cookshack BBQ Guide Page
As promised, I made the chicken leg quarters and this time the brining solution that I used was the SmokinOkie 101 recipie, and the quarters turned out really good. Not that expected anything less, he's the pro.

I have never do a whole bird or halves, I always quarter it into white and dark meat. Since white takes longer to cook, I usually make white one day and dark the next. More because I am lazy and I don't to mess with the different cooking times.

Anyway, lots of ideas here on this forum, hope I have given you some insight into my own experiences.
I have used several brines with about the same amount of salt and end results. I used the Smokin Okie honey brine this last time:
1 gal water
1 cup kosher salt
1 ounce tender quick
1 cup honey
3 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp pickling spices

I rinse the bird pretty good after taking out of the brine. I also seperate the skin from the meat before putting it in the brine.

I am seeing a big difference in the moisture of turkey breast when brining. I overcooked a brined Turkey breast to 180 once and it was still moist! I think this is the primary benefit but I think I hear most of you saying that taste is also a primary benefit, which I am not seeing yet. If a major benefit of brining is improved taste, why are we not brining everything we cook? Does only poultry benefit from brining?

How long have most folks been brining their poultry? I don't remember much talk of brining 10 years ago (until 6 months ago I had not been smoking meats since 1993)

Great response.

Hopefully some other members will jump in with their thoughts.

Sounds like you've been out there smoking for years, hope you'll bring some of that experience over to this forum.

Oh great, used my Brine and couldn't taste it? Hmmm....I'm going to have to ponder that one. Thought you experience might have been an issue with not using TenderQuick. For an experiment, you might increase the tenderquick (double it).. I'll just have to think on this one. We'll definitely have to have a "brining" class when Cookshack has their First Annual Picnic and we'll do some stuff there, but that's later.

Yeah, I think the "brining" bandwagon began about 1 1/2 years ago. Until then the only brining I'd heard of was brining a brisket to make Corned beef. Another benefit from the Internet. Before then, these forums weren't around to share info. I do know of competition cooks who have been brining for many years and that was one of their "secrets."

So, if brining is so good, why not brine everything?

I think poultry of any sort (chicken, turkey, etc) is good for brining because of the moisture content. Since brining has an effect via osmosis, there has to be some moisture in the product for the process to exchange the brining solution with the interior water in the meat.

Pork and Beef don't have the high moisture content and I think that's why you have to corn a brisket so long for it to have the desired effect.

Of course if you brine anything to long you're gonna cure it.

I've heard of people brining beef and pork and liking it. Not for me. I'll just use marinades (without the tenderquick, it's not a brine to me) or mops or a great rub.

Let's keep talking, I'm sure we'll get some answers.

Smokin Okie
It's done when it's done
Cookshack BBQ Guide Page
Thanks for the info Smokin Okie. It is interesting to see how things have changed in the BBQ world. I bought my first smoker, an ECB 15 years ago and used it 5 or 6 times a year to do Q for the family. No internet then and the only Q folks I knew were owners of BBQ restaurants who were not givin away any secrets! I did a lot of trial and error learning. Stopped smoking in 1993 for various reasons and then got back into it 6 months ago. Now there are tons of internet forums, competitions, books, faq's, you name it. I think I learned more in three days of reading than I did from 8 years of doing it myself. So as much as I'd like to bring a wealth of knowledge and experiance to this forum, I'm not sure I know too much more than what we've all read on the internet. I am in experamentation mode for the next year or so. I want to try out all these new techniques and ideas like the brining we've been talking about.

Me too JohnP,

Got my start on an ECB (or it's predecessor), oh, probably 15 years ago. I've had a WSM, an Okie Joe, other assorted versions around the world.

Ate a lot of Q, tried to learn where I was and shared the information. Started hitting the internet many years ago, but there wasn't much out there, but been more into the Internet Q for the last 2 years. Doing the BBQ Judge thing is a great way to try others Q, so Mrs. Smokin' and I have done that.

I'm into experimenting this year. This is the year of the rub/sauce/mop experiments. I don't mind commercial products there are some great ones out there. It's just hard to duplicate for others if they don't have it, soooooooooo, if I can work on my own stuff, then I share.

I'm also going to take lots of digital pictures of my cooks this year to go with the "how to's" I posted in the Beginners area.

and of course I have to work on my website. I have TONS of stuff (actually over 300MB) of BBQ info, recipes, and "stuff" about BBQ.

So, besides that, I'm working this year too, and spending time with the family...

But I learn SO MUCH from this forum. Every time. This has been and is fun to do.

Keep 'em coming JohnP.

Smokin Okie
It's done when it's done
Cookshack BBQ Guide Page

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