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PBC Chicken & Brine

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    PBC Chicken & Brine

    Hello everyone,

    My name is Ken. Long time lurker, first time poster. I've never owned a smoker before, so I'm pretty new to all of this, and really glad I found this place. I bought a PBC recently and now I have a long list of things to try. As I type this I have a whole chicken cooking. I've read up at this website on dry brining versus wet brining.

    First, let me start by saying that when I buy chicken parts for me to eat, I only buy thighs or drumsticks. My significant other, on the other hand, prefers chicken breasts. A friend of mine told me that he really doesn't like chicken that much because it is just so dry. Upon further inquiry it turns out that his ex-wife was a terrible cook to start with and when she made chicken she only cooked chicken breasts. And she over-cooked them. I digress.

    Several of the people I will be cooking for will be eating the breasts, and definitely without any of the skin. If my number one objective is to make the most juicy, succulent, moist chicken breast with no skin, and it is, I would like to know how to go about brining the chicken to bring about this result. In the comments section of the wet brining area, there are comments ranging from I never wet brine anymore (meathead), to "I only brine for 1 hour", to "I brine from 24-48 hours".

    I am a huge fan of dry brining pork and beef, but if my guests are going to peel the skin and trash it, it feels like a less than optimal solution. I'm also planning on buying an injector and experimenting with that. I really don't mind pumping it full of broth if that is the best solution. And yes, at some point, I will be tasked with hanging boneless, skinless chicken breasts in my cooker.

    If you have made unbelievably moist and juicy chicken breasts in your cooker, I would really appreciate some guidance here. Thanks.

    Also, this forum has been an excellent resource for me and I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributes. All of the posts, and this community is ultimately why I chose a PBC in the first place. Thank you.

    P.S. The one in the cooker right now I wet brined for 1 hour (1c sugar, 1c salt, 1 gal water), dried it, rubbed it with PBC:APR and let it sit for 2 hours. I understand I'm potentially running into the "salt double jeapordy" problem, but the little woman is out of town for 4 days so nobody will know but me.

    #2
    Also, just for fun, my first SLC's...

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      #3
      I think you're going to get a million different responses! I personally wet brine my chicken and I typically only cook whole chickens - well, split into half's. I hang 'em breast "up". I brine for 24 hours, and I add pickling spices as my family loves the flavor that imparts. They come out moist and tender every time and my wife discards the skin from her favorite pieces. No big deal, plenty of flavor in the chicken itself. Like most here I do cook chicken at a higher temp - typically around 325.

      And welcome! Glad to see you out of the closet!

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        #4
        Brine or not, just watch the internal temp. I can't (publicly) recommend the temp that I pull breast off the grill but I never get them to 165.
        I'm a big fan of dry brining, preferably overnight.

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          #5
          I just did a few boneless skinless chicken breasts on the pbc using the grill grate. I didn't brine, just applied a light coat of olive oil and applied a dry rub. I cooked until internal temp of 160 then let rest for 5 minutes. They were some of the juiciest chicken breasts I ever ate and had great flavor.

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            #6
            I just dry brine, the PBC to the correct temp has given me more juicy breasts than any wet brining I've done. Lift the skin, mix oil with rub and put it between the skin and meat and cook, all of the flavor will stay with the breast meat and the skin will still protect it and keep it from drying out.

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              #7
              Well, since you love the dark meat and your SO loves white meat, I'd say you've got a match made in PBC chicken heaven.

              I love smoking chicken halves cut like Noah shows in his video. The bird gets done quickly--at temps >325 deg F it takes an hour or so. Every bit of the resultant chicken is super moist. If I'm not going for crisp skin, I dry rub the meat under the skin with APR and the skin with APR lightly as well and let the bird halves sit in the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight. Just before adding to the PBC, I rub under/over the skin with oil. It's the best.

              Kathryn

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                #8
                I'm with Kathryn, why not buy whole chickens and cook them all at once and have parts that match everyone's preference and then some! Leave the skin on to cook and just rip it off before you serve

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                  #9
                  Hey ken... welcome aboard by the way

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                    #10
                    Welcome! Great smoke ring on those ribs by the way. I have a PBC and can't for the life of me understand needing to wet brine chicken. The PBC produces extremely moist chicken when cutting a bird in half and hanging. The key is imparting enough flavor as I have found bird to not get much flavoring without seasoning under the skin. fzxdoc is right on point as usual.

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                      #11
                      IvyH wet brining a chicken isn't to make it more moist, it's to flavor it more. You get a deeper salted bird in many cases with a wet brine, plus it does add some moisture, perhaps minuscule in improvement, but it does happen. I've done side by sides with chickenn and pork chops wet vs dry brine, and wet brine wins in the flavor department every time....but you may only ever notice when it's an actual side by side. Do one today and the other next week you'd probably not notice.

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                        #12
                        Since generally speaking I absolutely despise chicken, my opinion is probably not worth a ton, but if I were going to buy separate pieces, I'd probably dry brine the dark meat and wet brine the white meat. You must make certain you cook chicken breasts to a high enough temp FOR LONG ENOUGH to kill the nasties, but that isn't necessarily the normal recommended temp. I won't give you a temp but I highly suggest you read meathead's article on temp to kill pathogens vs length of time, and chicken benefits greatly from that.

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                          #13
                          Oh, forgive me, I mean that temp more specifically about white meat. Dark meat is actually better at higher temps.

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                            #14
                            I do skinless, boneless, chicken breast on the pbc all the time. Just did another 10lbs this weekend. No brine, just put a rub on and let it go to temp. I then take them off and pull them like a pork butt. Never had any issues with them being dry. If they do get dry, from over cooking, just add some butter and extra rub. Good eats!

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