Jump to content

Kikuya

Chicken: Brine or not, if so why?

Recommended Posts

Hello!

I'm preparing to have my first cook in my vintage Habachi Pot this weekend. I'm doing a whole chicken and was having some discussion with a friend who suggested brining it first. I have been reading and see many peeps do brine. I am wondering what is to be gained by doing this since the birds I get seem to be quite plumped up with saline when I get them, they never dry out in the oven with correct cooking. So, why should I brine it anyway? Will it taste better? Will the sugars present in the brine do something extra...help with browning?

TIA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If your chicken has already been injected/packaged in a salt/saline solution, there is no need to brine.  In fact brining a bird that is salted before packaging could result in way too much salt and ruin not just the flavor but the texture of the meat as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I completely agree with Jack's comment above. I do not brine chickens, and  I try to purchase naturally processed uninjected birds,  and as you say, when cooked correctly they come out moist and delicious even with out saline injection or brining. I like to spatchcock my chickens. I also have found the key to crisp skin is a very  dry bird. The best way I have found to do that is make a paste of your rub, ( I use a Simon Garfunkle combination) by mixing it with good olive oil. I then lift the skin on the chickens breast thighs and legs. Using an ice tea spoon, I deposit the rub paste under the skin and rub it in with my fingers, keeping the outer skin clean and without seasoning. After this process I pat the outer skin dry with a paper towel and sprinkle it with kosher salt. I then place it the fridge for at least 2 or more hours  uncovered prior to my cook.  That said,  I do, however, brine my Thanksgiving Turkey, because it so easy for Turkey breast to come out dry and tasteless. I use a brining solution of apple cider, orange juice, kosher salt, honey, orange slices and herbs. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies. Ok, no brining...I thought there was something I was missing in  my understanding about this. It seems like folks who do all this brining are probably buying unprocessed birds but but don't say so in the videos or articles Ive seen. Maybe I'll try that someday but right now I just want to succeed at my first cook.

 

Thanks for the spatchcocking tips. I might do it that way, what temperature do you use?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I brine chicken legs for smoking but that's mostly because I tend to take my temps higher than average and brining is an overcooking insurance policy. No more than a couple hours for small pieces. However I'm admittedly not a great chicken cook so I'm sure I could go without with some practice.

 

Back when I cooked turkeys I would brine those since I just find them to be uninteresting otherwise. Overnight in a food grade bucket.

 

I don't buy preinjected meats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My optimum cooking temp for Chicken is between 375 and 425. I am not a fan for lower temp cooks for chicken.  I put the chicken on at 375 and hold it there steady for the majority of the cook but let it rise up to 425 during the last 20 min or so. I pull the chicken at an IT in the breast of 165. The cook generally takes about an hour and maybe a bit more. Cook to IT not time.

Sometimes when I want to our dinner to be super tasty and could give a hoot about the fat content, I put a pan of veggies below the chicken with some chicken broth and catch the drippings. Wont tell my Doc about it, but can't lie the potatoes,  carrots, onions, celery, and mandarin orange wedges are pretty amazing cooked this way. ( by the way in this particular cook I added a surprise, those reddish lumps are Italian sausage) can't be healthy every cook:)

IMG_0438.thumb.jpeg.e75b8428f5dff4954845352e4c9603a8.jpeg

IMG_0439.thumb.jpeg.3d0e01b3c4a4922f0387f1a8ec2465dd.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, keeperovdeflame said:

My optimum cooking temp for Chicken is between 375 and 425. I put the chicken on at 375 and hold it there steady for the majority of the cook but let it rise up to 425 during the last 20 min or so. I pull the chicken at an IT in the breast of 165. The cook generally takes about an hour and maybe a bit more. Cook to IT not time.

Sometimes when I want to my cook to be super tasty and could give a hoot about the fat content, I put a pan of veggies below the chicken with some chicken broth and catch the drippings. Wont tell my Doc about it, but can't lie the potatoes and carrots are pretty amazing cooked this way. (those reddish lumps are Italian sausage) can't be healthy every cook:)

 

 

 

Yum ...

I will have to try your temps next Chicken I do ..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have always brined chicken  and turkeys. I think it makes them significantly more moist and tastier than if unbrined. Of course, I don't buy injected anything.  I'm not all that fond of the skin...even so, a brined and spatched chik will get crispy skin if that's what you're looking for.

 

I brined a pork shoulder last summer and I liked it. My wife thought it was a little too "hammy" but that's exactly what i was looking for. There's certainly enough fat and connective tissue in a shoulder to keep it moist without brining.

 

FWIW & YMMV

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DWFII....I don’t eat skin either, I’m just looking to cook this bird successfully as I’m using this for the first time but then someone brought up the whole brining thing. 

Plenty of time later to learn new techniques, this time just want to focus on controlling the Kamado.

 

keeperofdeflame....is there a heat diffuser below your veggie pot ?..I can’t quite tell.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Kikuya said:

 

keeperofdeflame....is there a heat diffuser below your veggie pot ?..I can’t quite tell.

 

Yes, in the low position on a spider, with an air space between the top surface of the deflector and the bottom of the Lodge braiser. When you use a deflector low, especially in your vintage kamado, It is important that there is adequate space between the edge of the deflector and the inside surface of your kettle for good air flow. The idea is to block direct heat from what ever you are cooking, and to avoid  trapping  that heat in your fire box where it could possible cause a crack. I like an inch and a half to two inch gap between the edge of the deflector and the inside of the kettle wall.

here is a better pic to see the set up the air flow gap between the deflector and the wall of the kettle

IMG_0431.thumb.jpeg.86fe4fea3cbbad36dd8b6570d716881f.jpeg

 I use this method for a wide number of cooks. Here is a pic of the same brasier used to cook lamb shanks indirect on the main grate above a  low deflector. 

IMG_0289.thumb.jpeg.2871f76ea21b9d660807ed51a253ac5b.jpeg

A spider rack to hold a ceramic stone is pretty simple, and could be made by any metal shop in a size to fit your kamado. Here is a pic of a spider. One safety caution is to avoid using galvanized steel for any rack you use. Racks don't need to be stainless but they cannot be galvanized because when heated galvanized steel gives off a chemical vapor. 

IMG_0406.thumb.jpeg.806f8794557bcf6b8b17a89f3cca906e.jpeg

Hope all this helps, you get started. That really is a fine looking vintage kamado you found. I am anxious to see what kind of set up you come up with and pics of your cooks. Happy cooking. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...