How to Brine Chicken for Smoking

by liliana
Brine Chicken For Smoked

If you’re looking for the perfect way to add some delicious smoky flavor to your grilled chicken, brining is the answer. Brining chicken helps keep it moist and deliciously juicy, with great smoky flavors that penetrate deep within each bite. With just a few simple steps, you can easily master this flavorful cooking method that will take your grilled favorites up a notch! We’ll show you everything you need to know about how to properly brine a chicken for smoking—from creating your own homemade brine solution to knowing when your bird is smoked and ready-to-enjoy.

What Is Chicken Brine Made Of?

Chicken brine is a liquid mixture made with salt, sugar and spices, designed to add moisture and flavor to poultry. Brining requires the chicken to sit and soak in the brine for several hours before cooking, allowing the flavors from the brine mixture to penetrate deep into the meat, leaving it extremely moist and flavorful. Additional ingredients that can contribute towards a tasty chicken brine include citrus juice or zest, vinegar, honey, onion, garlic and any other desired herbs or spices. Many chefs swear by utilizing a pre-made store bought mix of spices with their chicken brine. With some creativity and experimentation, you can create an unbeatable flavor combination sure to take your loved ones by surprise!

What Is The Ratio For Chicken Brine?

Brining is an often overlooked cooking technique, but it’s a great way to ensure your chicken dishes are juicy and flavorful. To brine chicken, one should measure out 1 cup of kosher salt to every 1 gallon of water. This ratio will create a flavorful solution which helps the chicken retain moisture while cooking to form a more succulent final product. Brine can also be seasoned with other herbs and spices, leading to inventive flavor combinations that can really enliven traditional recipes. The key is always having enough salt; so use this ratio for maximum taste and juiciness!

Chicken brine for smoking

Chicken brine for smoking

How Does A Chicken Brine Work?

Brining is a tried and true method for ensuring that your chicken is juicy, flavorful and delicious. It’s a simple process which involves soaking the poultry in a solution of salt and water for several hours before cooking. This allows the salt to penetrate deep into the fibers of the chicken, leaving it thoroughly seasoned and tenderized. As an added bonus, this helps the chicken to retain the moisture that can so easily be lost during cooking. For anyone looking to impress with their next dinner or backyard BBQ, give brining a try! It takes little effort, but yields big returns in terms of flavor and texture.

The Nitty-Gritty Of Brining

Brining is a simple and powerful technique that adds flavor and moisture to proteins such as poultry, pork, seafood, and even vegetables. The process involves submerging proteins in a 12-24 hour bath of water, salt and other spices such as pepper or garlic to create a flavorful flavonoid called zingibain. The resulting protein has an enhanced texture due to the increased hydration and increased flavor thanks to the mix of seasonings. It’s a simple way to take your cooking to the next level and impress guests during your next dinner party. Be sure to understand all of the nitty-gritty involved with brining so you can get creative in the kitchen!

What You Will Need

To brine chicken, you’ll need a large enough container to contain the entire bird as well as the brine solution. This can be a food-grade bucket or pot–just make sure it’s clean and has ample space for the chicken and liquid. In terms of ingredients, all you really need is salt and water. You can, however, season your brine with all sorts of herbs, spices and flavorings to really take your dishes up a notch.

  • Water:m 1 gallon
  • Brown sugar: 1 cup
  • Tabasco sauce: 1/2 cup
  • Kosher salt: 1/2 cup
  • Herbs, spices and flavorings

How To Make A Smoked Chicken Brine

Smoked chicken is a delicious way to add big flavor to your dinner table.

  1. To make a smoked chicken brine, start by combining 1 gallon of water with 1 cup of brown sugar, ½ cup of Tabasco sauce, and ½ cup of kosher salt in a food-grade container.
  2. Stir the mixture until all the ingredients dissolve before adding any herbs, spices and flavorings of your choice.
  3. Submerge the chicken in the brine for 12-24 hours, depending on how intense you’d like the flavor to be.
  4. Finally, remove and rinse off the chicken before smoking according to your favorite recipe.

Video Step By Step Brine Chicken For Smoke

Can You Add Pink Curing Salt To Smoked Chicken Brine?

Yes, you can! Pink curing salt is a type of salt that contains nitrates and nitrites that help to preserve food. In addition, the nitrate/nitrite mixture helps to give smoked meats their classic pink color. When adding it to your smoked chicken brine, be sure to only use a small amount—too much can make the meat too salty. The correct ratio for brines is approximately 1 teaspoon of pink curing salt per quart of liquid, so start with that and adjust to your taste. As always, be sure to store any extra curing salt in a dry place away from heat or sunlight. With the right technique, you can create delicious smoked chicken every time!

Should Chicken In Brine Be Refrigerated?

Yes, it’s important to refrigerate the chicken when brining in order to prevent any bacteria growth. The brine solution should also be kept cold, so consider placing the container of chicken and brine in a larger vessel filled with ice or ice packs. It’s best to keep the chicken submerged throughout the entire brine process to ensure that it is evenly seasoned and tender. Additionally, the chicken should never be left in the brine for more than 24 hours as this could result in an overly salty or mushy texture. When you’re finished brining, remove the chicken from the solution and discard any remaining brine. Brining is a great way to add flavor and texture to your favorite proteins – just be sure to follow these guidelines for safe and delicious results!

Should You Brine A Chicken Before Smoking?

Yes, brining a chicken before smoking is recommended in order to add flavor and prevent it from drying out during the smoking process. Brines also help to tenderize the meat, ensuring an even and juicy texture once cooked. Additionally, brining can help to reduce cooking time as the salt helps to break down proteins within the meat. Be sure to only brine for 12-24 hours in order to avoid oversalting or making the chicken too salty. After brining, be sure to thoroughly rinse off the chicken before adding any additional seasonings or smoking according to your favorite recipe.

Do You Rinse Chicken After Brining?

Yes, it is important to rinse the chicken after brining in order to remove any excess salt. To do this, simply place the chicken in a colander and run cold water over it for several minutes until the water runs clear. Be sure not to soak or submerge the meat as this can cause it to lose flavor and become overly tender. Once rinsed, you can proceed with your favorite smoking or cooking method.

Smoked Chicken Legs

Smoked Chicken Legs

Why Does The Chicken Meat Not Finish Dry?

The brine helps to keep the chicken meat juicy and flavorful. This is because the salt in the brine solution helps to break down proteins, resulting in a more tender texture. Additionally, the liquid that’s absorbed during brining helps to keep the chicken moist while it cooks, ensuring you don’t end up with dry, flavorless chicken. Lastly, you may want to consider using a low-temperature cooking method like smoking as this will help to keep the meat tender and full of flavor. With the right technique, you can achieve juicy and flavorful smoked chicken every time!

How Long Do You Brine Chicken For Smoking?

The brining time will depend on the size and type of chicken you’re using, but generally speaking it should be around 12-24 hours for a whole chicken. Start with the lower end of that range if you’re unsure and check the chicken periodically to make sure it is not becoming too salty or tender. When finished brining, be sure to rinse the chicken thoroughly in cold water before smoking to remove any excess salt. For thigh or breast pieces, you should be able to get away with a shorter brining time of 30 minutes to 3/4 hours.

Seasoning Brined Chicken Meat

Once you’ve rinsed off the brined chicken, it is ready to be seasoned and cooked. You can use your favorite BBQ rubs or seasonings to add flavor to the meat before smoking or cooking. Additionally, if you wish to marinate the chicken before cooking, this can also help to increase flavor and juiciness. Keep in mind that marinating the chicken will also increase cooking time, so be sure to adjust accordingly.

How To Store Leftover Chicken

Leftover cooked chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If you plan on freezing, ensure that the chicken is wrapped tightly and placed in a freezer-safe bag or container before storing. Frozen leftover chicken should be consumed within 3 months for optimal flavor and texture.

More Similar Chicken Recipes


Chicken brine for smokingit is an essential step to getting moist, tender and flavorful meat. By brining your chicken in a solution of water, salt, sugar and spices, you can infuse it with flavor while also helping to keep it moist during the smoking process. Follow these simple steps of Liliana Kitchen and you’ll be on your way to the best smoked chicken you’ve ever tasted!

Brine Chicken For Smoked

Brine Chicken for Smoking

Serves: 1 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 703 calories 0 gram fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • Water:m 1 gallon
  • Brown sugar: 1 cup
  • Tabasco sauce: 1/2 cup
  • Kosher salt: 1/2 cup
  • Herbs, spices and flavorings


  1. Begin by mixing all of the ingredients together in a large pot or bucket until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved.
  2. Place the chicken into the solution, making sure that it is fully submerged in liquid. Place something heavy on top of the chicken to ensure that it remains submerged during brining. If necessary, add more water to the pot so that the chicken is completely covered.
  3. Cover the pot with a lid and place in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours, depending on how much time you have available.
  4. Remove the chicken from the brine solution and discard the liquid. Rinse off the chicken with cold water before cooking as directed.


  • Try experimenting with different herbs and spices to create unique flavor profiles.
  • If you don’t have enough room in your refrigerator for the brine solution and chicken, place it in a cool area such as a basement or garage. Make sure that the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.
  • For added flavor and sweetness, try adding a few tablespoons of honey or maple syrup to the brine solution.
  • Brine solutions can also be used for other proteins such as pork, lamb and even vegetables.

Suggested brine times:

  • Whole chicken: 12-24 hours
  • Boneless chicken breasts/thighs: 1/2-3/4 hours
  • Chicken wings: 1-2 hours

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