How to Brine and Smoke a Whole Chicken! It’s easier than you think and will be the juiciest and most delicious chicken you have ever tasted!
Brining chicken is a very simple process that will ensure that your chicken is tender and juicy, rather you are smoking, grilling, baking or frying it.
My mother has been telling me that brined chicken was the only way to go for ages. Did I listen? Of course not! I’m always in too big of a hurry. I might also be the worst at thinking ahead to what I’m making for dinner. Listen to you mother, right?
HOW TO BRINE CHICKEN:
A chicken brine is simply a salt solution . You can also add in sugar and herbs. My favorite is a ratio of 4 quarts of hot water and 1 cup of kosher salt. Table salt can also be used, you’ll need 3/4 cup for 4 quarts of water. Whisk until salt dissolves.
I also like to add the peel of 1 lemon, fresh garlic, a tablespoon of peppercorns and a some fresh rosemary. Bay leaves are also a great option but you can use any fresh herbs you have on hand or prefer for a basic brine recipe.
This is the best chicken brine recipe with herbs works well for a whole chicken, whole turkey or chicken pieces including chicken breasts, chicken thighs or legs and even pork chops.
Submerge chicken, cover and refrigerate chicken until you are ready to cook . I recommend 2 hours – 4 hours for the best results. When you are ready to cook it, remove the chicken from the brine and let it drain in a colander bit. Discard the brine solution.
I have to say that I am not likely to ever grill, fry or roast chicken without brining it first. You just can’t believe the difference that the brining process makes! It’s the best way to ensure that the chicken stays tender and juicy throughout the cooking process.
The salty liquid will break down the muscle fibers to tenderize the chicken parts and lean cuts of meat, like pork chops and it really doesn’t take much time. It’s worth a couple of hours of planning for a fantastic meal.
A dry brine can also be used for grilled chicken. Using this method, chicken is rubbed down with spices and refrigerated 24-72 hours before cooking. The skin dries out and is a great way to achieve crispy skin.
HOW TO SMOKE A WHOLE CHICKEN:
- Brine your chicken for at least 2 hours.
- Prepare grill with hickory wood chunks for a medium – hot fire. We use an offset smoker on our charcoal grill.
- Pat chicken dry with paper towels.
- You can apply a dry rub or mix ½ cup butter and 2 tablespoons of blackened seasoning (or your favorite grilling seasoning) and rub under the skin and in the cavity of the chicken. This is optional.
- Place whole chicken on grate with indirect heat. We like to do 2 at a time, it’s just as easy and has endless recipe possibilities.
- Smoke chicken over indirect heat 300-350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 ½ hours until internal temperature reaches 165°.
- Remove chickens from grill and allow to rest 10 minutes before carving and serving.
HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER CHICKEN:
- Let chicken cool slightly, until it is no longer steaming.
- Wrap whole chicken in a deep dish and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate up to 3 days.
- You can also remove chicken from the bones and store in a zip top bag for up to 2 days.
- Leftover chicken makes great sandwiches! Try substituting leftover chicken in our favorite Turkey Salad!
We often grill or smoke a little extra chicken on the weekends and it makes dinner time so much easier for the week. Monday’s are especially hectic and having the main dish already cooked makes dinnertime a snap.
If you are grilling or smoking chicken, you have to give this White Barbecue Sauce a try. Just brush or drizzle it over your cooked chicken. It’s tangy and all kinds of delicious!
We had enough of our smoked chicken leftover that I made Smoked Chicken Tacos for dinner the next night. Best idea to change up Taco Tuesday! Just add your favorite toppings to the shredded chicken served on flour tortillas.
We just couldn’t get enough of this smoked chicken. I immediately picked up another chicken and we brined and smoked it as well. I had this Smoked Chicken and Black Bean Chili in my mind that I just couldn’t wait to try.
These Philly Chicken sandwiches are another favorite when we smoke chickens. They are filled with delicious sautéed onions and peppers and topped with lots of melted cheese.
There are endless possibilities for smoked chicken, I’m actually adding to my recipe idea list as we speak. Let me know if you have ideas that you would like to see. I’m alway brainstorming recipe ideas.
Be sure to save your chicken carcasses and make a batch of homemade chicken broth. It is incredibly flavorful and budget friendly. Perfect for your favorite soups and casseroles.
The simple brining method was so good that we always use it for our Thanksgiving Turkey and we made a video for Easy Smoked Turkey! Add it to your holiday menu!
Delicious Dishes to Complete Your Meal:
More Chicken Recipes to Try:
- Grilled BBQ Chicken
- Hickory Smoked Chicken Wings
- Smoked Sausage Chicken and Potato Kabobs
- Spicy Honey Grilled Chicken Tenders
- Simple Grilled Chicken Salad
- Easy Grilled Chicken ~ Crunchy, Creamy, Sweet
Add this wet brine to your list to try the next time you have chicken on the menu. Rather you grill, fry or roast, this simple brine is going to add tons of flavor and you’ll never have dry, bland chicken again.
If you love this Recipe as much as I do, please leave a comment and a five star review, and be sure to help me share on Pinterest!
- 5 pound whole chicken
- 4 quarts warm water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced in half
- peel of a fresh lemon
- 1/2 cup butter *optional
- 2 tablespoons blackened seasoning *optional
- Add water and salt to a large bowl or deep pan. Mix until salt is dissolved.
- Add peppercorns, rosemary, garlic and lemon peel.
- Carefully lower chicken into water.
- Cover and refrigerate 2 hours- 4 hours.
- Prepare grill with hickory grilling wood for a medium-hot fire.
- Smoke chicken over indirect heat 300-350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes - 1 1/2 hours until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Remove from grill and allow to rest 10 minutes before carving and serving.
Store leftover chicken in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Shred chicken and reheat over medium heat in a skillet with a bit of olive oil or mix into your favorite soups or casseroles.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1260Total Fat: 80gSaturated Fat: 29gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 43gCholesterol: 448mgSodium: 1461mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 125g
Nutritional calculations are estimated and may not be accurate.