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We decided to cook chicken for dinner last night so I figured I'd throw the 8 skinless chicken breasts into a brine in the morning. Looking for something a little different, I decided to try this brine from 3Men with Nothing Better to Do:

1 gallon water
3/4 cup kosher salt
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon each of dried tarragon, thyme, black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

To their recipe I decided to add:

1 teaspoon rosemary
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Start by boiling the water and then add the salt and sugar, so that it will dissolve easier. Then add the spices to the hot liquid so that the flavors are extracted. Cool the brine solution. I boil one quart water, mix the ingredients, let the brine cool somewhat, then add ice until one gallon of liquid is achieved. Adding the ice should make the brine cold enough to add chicken straight from the refrigerator.

Place the brine solution into a non-reactive container and immerse the chicken totally in the brine, weighting it down if necessary. Place the container into the refrigerator and leave for 10 hours. This is for whole chicken. I did the breasts for 6 hrs.

Upon completion of the brining time remove the chicken from the brine and rinse thoroughly in fresh water. Dry the chicken with paper towels. I sprinkled it with Chikki Rub and threw them onto the grill. I didn't have time to smoke them, but can only imagine how great they would have tasted with a little Alder or fruitwood flavoring. Toward the end of the grill, I added a light coating of barbecue sauce.

The chicken turned out very flavorful and moist. Family loved it. Give this brine recipe a try. I've added it to my bookmarks under Barbecue--Brines, Marinades, Sauces, Rubs, Spices--Brine--Poultry. I'll use this one again. And smoke the chicken.
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Sounds good.

I'd be REAL careful about adding any acid (lemon juice) to a brine. You can and I certainly do, just something to watch for.

The effect of it on longer brines can actually break down the proteins more than you might want.

Maybe try a lemon spice (citrus) instead. I've done that with success.
Pags I used that same brine a cpl nights ago with thighs though I left out the olive oil(didn't see its purpose) and tarragon.

Brined the thighs for 2 hrs. Gave 'em a good sprinkle of Plowboys Bovine Bold (waiting for CS Spicy Chicken to arrive) and finished with a dunking of Head Country (2 pts) + Blue Hog Tennessee (1 pt)

The end result was in the TOP FIVE of at home thigh cooks.
When I want citrus flavor in a longer brine for poultry or fish I just add an appropriate quantity of zest from the citrus I've selected. This eliminates the problem of the citric acid denaturing the proteins and chemically "cooking" the item in the brine.

Learned this the hard way on a screw up a few years ago when, without thinking, I decided to replace the water in a brine for a King salmon filet with an equal mix of lemon, lime, and bitter orange juice. The end result was smoked ceviche. The flavor was good, but the texture sucked. After a couple bites, I threw the remainder in a blender and pureed it. Made a very tasty spread.
Purchased a new SM025 on Wednesday and used this brine recipe on the maiden voyage. Followed the instruction 2 the T and birds came out amazing. Wife couldn't beleive that I produces such a great bird. Thanks for sharing - I've added to my bag of tricks.

PS - the BANG effect happened about 15 minutes into the smoke. I think it made the birds tasted better.


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Pags, the brine you listed at the top of this post was amazing. I did everything you did in the brine except I replaced a teaspoon of dried lemon grass instead of the lemon juice because of the suggestions.

I brined my whole 8 lb chicken for apx. 16 hours. It was a tad too long. I think I will try 10-12 next time. Gotta start later at night and take it out earlier in the AM. I used a compund butter undr the breast skin before cooking it and sprinkled the whole bird lightly with the same rub I put in the butter. Breast meat was so moist and I even cooked it to about 172 (had to wait for the dark to get to an acceptable temp.) my family raved about the taste and moistness. There is just enough left for me to make some chicken salad for lunch tomorrow, but I have to get pickin the carcas.

I highly recommend this brine recipe and don't be afraid to brine a whole chicken for 10+ hours. It was just a little salty, but didn't stop anyone from eating it.

My skin did come out rubbery, but we didn't eat it and didn't miss it. I used butter soaked cheese cloth for the first two hours, removed it, slathered the skin with melted butter and closed the door. I did open it a couple more times to check temps in different places, thus dumping moisture. The bird took about 2 hours 45 min. The breast was 172 and the dark meat read 170 when I took it out and I am sure it carried over a few degrees. My cooking temp was 300.

Next time, I may try To get smoke on this for a little while in the smoker then transfer to a higher temp convection oven to crisp up the skin and finish cooking.

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