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In the brine, what next?

Nu-GuyNu-Guy Posts: 136
edited 2:33AM in EggHead Forum
Well, I purchased one of those store sold brines. I think it's "Hi Mountain" brine mix with pure maple sugar. I have a nice 4.5 pound young hen swimming in this brine and she must be pretty happy, cause she hasn't made a cackle. Two questions. First, shall I cook her direct or indirect? Second, what end results should I excpect from the brining process. I plan on using alder wood for smoke. Question Three. (I know, I told you there was only two questions, but the mind keeps wandering....) While visiting the Peoples Wood site, they recommend steel boxes with which to put the wood chips into for smoking. Any thoughts?[p]Thanks for your input.[p]NG


  • CatCat Posts: 556
    Nu-Guy,[p]If you're cooking the bird whole, indirect might be safer your first time out - it will cook more evenly with no risk of charring. (A relatively high dome temp - 325 to 350 - will give you crispier skin than a lower temp.) I like to butterfly chicken & do it direct, flipping the skin side toward the fire towards the end.[p]Brining keeps the meat juicy and (via osmosis) carries the seasonings into the meat cells, flavoring it throughout. A brined bird cooks a bit faster than an unbrined one; on the other hand, brining also ensures the meat will stay juicy if you cook a little too long.[p]As for the metal boxes...I'd never discourage anyone from buying a gadget, but seems to me the only advantage with an Egg would be containing the chips so you could remove any unburned ones easily. A foil packet with holes stuck in it would serve the same purpose.[p]Good luck with the bird and let us know the results -[p]Cathy
  • sprintersprinter Posts: 1,188
    Nu-Guy,[p]100% ditto to what Cat said, great information she passed on. Couldnt have said it better myself. hehehe[p]One note on brining that I learned from my first time. Be SURE that the brine is cooled well, maybe even refrigerated, before you plunk the meat in. I added the loin I was brining too soon, the brine was still a bit warm, and it absorbed A LOT of the salt.[p]Let us know how it comes out.[p]Troy
  • Nu-GuyNu-Guy Posts: 136
    Thanks for the advise,Cat. I have one of those ceramic roasting thing-a-ma-jigs that stands the birdie on its tail. Will let you know how it turns out.[p]Thanks again,

  • sprinter,[p] Yes, you should cool the brine completely before you put the chicken in there. However, I'm not convinced that having the brine a little too warm would cause a marked increase in saltiness. I think the main reason you want the brine cooled (providing you cooked it to begin with) is to avoid putting the meat into a warm anaerobic environment that encourages bacterial growth. When I get my brine off the stove, I put a ziploc bag full of ice in the pan and swish it around to cool the brine to below room temperature. Then put the meat in and refrigerate the whole thing until it's ready to be cooked.[p]One other thing -- be sure to rinse the meat pretty well before cooking to get the salt off the surface.[p]MikeO
  • Nu-GuyNu-Guy Posts: 136
    The water was pretty cold when I made her walk the plank and into the brine. It must have been cold cause she had chicken skin when I last looked.
    Let you know how we do.[p]Thanks!

  • MACMAC Posts: 442
    You been to the Outdoor cooking shop again. I bought one also and did a chicken. The recipe where you put the rub under the skin. It was almost too moist. Think I would have finished it diredt next time for a crisper skin. It was as though you cooked it in a crook. Imagine that. Anyway they work great and clean up well. I also used alder.

  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,404
    You are well on your way with that advice!
    I put the polder probe in the thick part of the breast, and pull off at 165. 170 tops. The thigh will probably read 180.[p]You might just get squirted in the eye when you go to cut it.
    Will be watching for the results.[p]NB
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • Nu-GuyNu-Guy Posts: 136
    Glad you got back from the lake. This is the third whole hen I've talken into Mr. Big. This will be my first brine unit. Will let you know how things go.
    Still waiting for my grinder to show up..maybe this afternoon.[p]Nu-Guy

  • Nu-GuyNu-Guy Posts: 136
    Nature Boy,
    How far should the tip of the polder go into the meat? I always seem to put the tip in too far, resulting in higher temps than what the meat really is. I guess.

  • Nu-Guy,[p] Put it in so that the tip is in the middle of the breast meat. Be sure to keep it away from bone as that will affect the reading.[p]MikeO
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,404
    You pretty much have to eyeball it. When you are rinsing off the brine, feel around and you can find the thickest part. When you stick the probe in, remember that spot and angle it in so that the tip is approximately in the middle of that thick hunk o flesh. When it reads 165, you can always try a new spot to double check, or stick an instant read in the thigh. Keep us posted!
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • JimWJimW Posts: 450
    That metal box to put the wood chips is primarily designed for gas grills. Put the soaked chips right on the coals.[p]You sound like you've got a chicken sitter. Be SURE to spray it down with PAM before you put the chicken on it. It will make the cleanup much, much easier.[p]When I've used my sitter, I just set it on a disposable aluminum pie plate more or less to protect it from the direct heat. If cooked at about 325F dome temp, the skin should come out really nice but I don't think it got what I would call crispy.[p]Good Luck,

  • Nu-GuyNu-Guy Posts: 136
    Well, the brine worked wonderful on that little hen. I egged it for 3 hours indirect at 290 to 300 degrees. Then, shut down the egg and let it idle down for 1/2 hour. The polder had reached 175 degrees so figured it was safe. I was a little concerned that the meat around the leg and thigh was pink. After checking it out, the meat was done fine. I think I'm not used to what the meat looks like when cooked on the egg with smoke. It tasted wonderful. So moist and flavor like only the egg can deliver.
    Thanks to everyone for your help![p]NG

  • sprintersprinter Posts: 1,188
    Nu-Guy,[p]Congrats on the success. Time to start that "to-do" list that all of us have. Mine is about 3 pages long now. I figure that if I egg 3 times a week for the next 6 months I should be able to knock it out. have fun.[p]Troy
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