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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 05-28-2020, 07:43 PM   #1
Iroquois
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Default I've been challenged. Smoke skinless boneless chicken breast without drying them out.

First, I'm not a fan of smoking chicken breasts, even with skin and bone in, however, I volunteered to smoke pork butts and chicken for a friends party Saturday and I asked him to get chicken thighs, but he wants breasts. So now I have about 15 pounds of them and I'm having second thoughts. I know I need to brine them first, and I think I'm looking for a 225 or so cook temp. I'm used to 350 for chickens with bone and skin so I'm not sure now. Since I'm cooking off site, I will need to pull them early and get them to the party so they can be put on a grill for saucing a little later. I'm good with the butts, so no issues there.

Many questions here. How long should I brine, what cooking temp and how soon can I safely pull them so I won't over cook while adding the sauce (150 degrees?) or should I go ahead and sauce them and try to keep them warm and not worry about on site saucing. I do not have a cambro but I'm sure there are plenty of tips for safe storage. A good brine recipe would be helpful as well.

I know this is a big ask, but you all have pulled through in the past. Thanks!
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Old 05-28-2020, 07:53 PM   #2
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Skinless, boneless breasts on a smoker without drying out?

Have fun with that.

I'll pound them out to about 1/2" thick, marinade them, and grill them hot and fast. They maintain the moisture and rock.

Smoking? Let me know if you pull this off.
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Old 05-28-2020, 07:55 PM   #3
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Default I've been challenged. Smoke skinless boneless chicken breast without drying them out.

Dry Brine and grill to 145F is your best option .
If that is not an option, I’d still dry brine, but I would put the chicken in the hottest part of the smoker, wrapped foil and pull at 145
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:01 PM   #4
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Replace with thighs...
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:06 PM   #5
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What are you cooking on? here's the secret.. if your cooking on an offset, charcoal smoker of any kind. just smoke hot your still techincally smoking LOL.. cook 325-375 til you reach 155 and start watching them very closely to hit 162+.. I would always pull 165 no matter what. But they say you get 5 more degree's while it rests.. I've tried to watch for it.. never seen it happen. Brining will always be a plus for chicken breast..
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:34 PM   #6
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I use Kosher salt about 1.5 hours each side, 1 hour in a pinch on an elevated wire rack. Once the surface water is gone you can flip but a little time helps. Totally agree on smoking them hot and fast. Drum is good and they cook pretty fast at 325-350F on the drum and still pick up a good amount of smoke. I've tried to reverse sear with the pellet grill like I do steaks (175F for min an hour) but they aren't as juicy as grilling them or using the drum. Just not enough fat to extend the cook time, even with brining.
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:42 PM   #7
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Wrap in bacon.
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Old 05-28-2020, 09:30 PM   #8
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I've done before. Definitely brine over night. Any brine will do. I've used salt and Cajun seasoning. Worked great. Will keep them moist and can impart flavor. Pat dry. Before putting them on smoker, I put a light bbq rub on them. Then wrapped in bacon. And put more rub on, after bacon wrap. Put in smoker 225-250. Pulled them right at the first point that poultry is done, or slightly earlier if your going to glaze in sauce and put back on smoker. Bacon and brine should keep them from drying out. Make sure breast are on thicker side. When just done sauce them up, with or without bacon still on and back on smoker quickly for sauce to glaze. Should be great. Internal temp is your friend here. Good luck.
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Old 05-28-2020, 09:34 PM   #9
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I did some a couple of weeks ago. The Hunsaker was hot after cooking a pork loin, so I brined a family pack of breasts for an hour, seasoned them and cooked at 300 until they hit 155 and rested them. They were fantastic!
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Old 05-28-2020, 09:38 PM   #10
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No sweat, I've smoked boneless, skinless chicken breast and turkey breasts for years. It's called Texas style for turkey, Many BBQ joints do this. For turkey you need to slice each fillet off the ribs yourself... but for chicken I'm guessing you will buy family packs of 1/2 breasts.

I'm posting with my smartphone thru Monday, so no pictures. Brine or use injectable brine for 4 hours. Add rub to both sides. My favorite is cracked pepper, but a sweeter rub works too. Smoker around 250 - 275 tops, and keep chicken cold before going on. Indirect set up. I smoke with the previously skin side up until the internal is 140ish. Spray a couple times to set the bark. It will look like skin is still on.

Wrap in foil, skin side down on some butter, add a little broth, cook to 160ish. Rest and slice into medallions, not long ways which is against the grain. You can add some pink salt or Tender Quick to your brine if you want it pinker, but it's pretty juicy as is. I drizzle the butter broth from the foil on top of the medallions, or you can sauce them.

Google Malcom Reed Texas Turkey Breast video. I use less butter but get the same result.
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Old 05-28-2020, 09:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
I did some a couple of weeks ago. The Hunsaker was hot after cooking a pork loin, so I brined a family pack of breasts for an hour, seasoned them and cooked at 300 until they hit 155 and rested them. They were fantastic!
I haven't found anything that can't be cooked at 300F on the Hunsaker and not come out anything short of great. We also do a lot of done cooking of "what else can I throw on while it's hot".
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Old 05-28-2020, 10:07 PM   #12
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I’ve tried a similar approach as what Ronl and thirdeyes Recomended for a wedding I cooked for and it turned out good. Heck it may have been on their recommendation.


Yeah don’t feel you have to take to 165 for safety you are cooking at a lower temp and it will pasteurize and become safe at an even lower temp if your smoking at 275-300. Plus you’ll have holding time above 150*
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Old 05-28-2020, 10:13 PM   #13
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Basic chicken brine ratio is 1 cup of Kosher Salt Dissolved in 1 Gallon of water. Depending on how big your boneless, skinless, breasts are I would brine four to six hours but not any longer. When Chicken is brined too long it starts to get a weird rubbery texture.

If you want to slow smoke at 225 that should work well without too much loss of moisture, and I would take them to 150 to 155 internal depending on how you hold them. If you have 15 pounds of hot chicken in a covered tub or hotel pan you will see some carryover cooking, and then more when you finish them on-site with the grill. Alternatively hold them hot in sauce for service.

Good luck!
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Old 05-28-2020, 11:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoking Piney View Post
Skinless, boneless breasts on a smoker without drying out?

Have fun with that.

I'll pound them out to about 1/2" thick, marinade them, and grill them hot and fast. They maintain the moisture and rock.

Smoking? Let me know if you pull this off.
I can't read any further after this post. I would pound them out, or splice in half so they are half as thick (if that makes sense), and grill them hot and fast. Doing it over coals and wood will result in a smoked flavor WITH the juice. Not sure if it was mentioned, but doing it this way will maintain the moisture and it will rock.
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Old 05-29-2020, 06:07 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thirdeye View Post
No sweat, I've smoked boneless, skinless chicken breast and turkey breasts for years. It's called Texas style for turkey, Many BBQ joints do this. For turkey you need to slice each fillet off the ribs yourself... but for chicken I'm guessing you will buy family packs of 1/2 breasts.

I'm posting with my smartphone thru Monday, so no pictures. Brine or use injectable brine for 4 hours. Add rub to both sides. My favorite is cracked pepper, but a sweeter rub works too. Smoker around 250 - 275 tops, and keep chicken cold before going on. Indirect set up. I smoke with the previously skin side up until the internal is 140ish. Spray a couple times to set the bark. It will look like skin is still on.

Wrap in foil, skin side down on some butter, add a little broth, cook to 160ish. Rest and slice into medallions, not long ways which is against the grain. You can add some pink salt or Tender Quick to your brine if you want it pinker, but it's pretty juicy as is. I drizzle the butter broth from the foil on top of the medallions, or you can sauce them.

Google Malcom Reed Texas Turkey Breast video. I use less butter but get the same result.
Thirdeye has it right IMHO.
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