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I'm trying to ride a balance b/t this awesome opportunity to ask grilling/smoking questions, but also not being a pain in the saddle.

Jamie, truthfully, do you brine? As a cookbook author, I'm sure you HAVE to cover the subject - but do you actually do it when cooking for your family? Reason I ask: Did two rotisserie chickens, one brined overnight, and the other no brine. As soon as I took them off, my wife and I tasted 'em and couldn't discern a difference so I sort-of thought it's not worth all the effort (and drying the skin so it will be crispy, etc.).

Also, another brining question if I may: My buddy and I have debated this (and he's probably following your discussions so I have to present this fairly, dang it). He buys a packaged corned beef (packed in brining liquid), and then brines the sucker for 4-5 days before simmering for something like 5 hours. I just don't understand the logic of brining an already-brined brisket, but he insists it produces the best corned beef ever. Does this make any sense to you? Would it be worthwhile to brine a packaged corned beef?

Thanks again, Jamie, for sharing your expertise with us!

Jamie Purviance

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Truthfully, I do brine ... sometimes, but not often. Brining is an awesome technique for really lean meats (like chicken breasts, which you can brine successfully in a matter of minutes) and long-cooked meats (like pork roasts), but I only brine when I really need to. That is, if I am throwing a party where the food has to be off-the-charts good and juicy, I'll spend the time and effort to brine. But for a regular Wednesday night dinner, like tonight, I don't brine. Tonight I'll be smoking some chicken on the rotisserie -- without a brine. I know that will the right seasonings, the right cooking temperatures, and the right amount of smoke, the chicken will be delicious. Having said that, one of the best rotisserie chicken I've ever tasted was brined. You can see it here:

As for the debate between you and your buddy, I'm not sure where I fall. I guess the bottom line is, how does it taste? If he insists it's the best corned beef ever, enough said. He should keep on doing what he's doing. Just between you and me, I wouldn't brine a pre-brined brisket. So there you go, the debate rolls on. This is part of fun of barbecue. Everybody gets to have an opinion.


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Wow, Jamie! I definitely should have watched that "Rotisserie Chicken" video AFTER I had lunch, b/c now I'm too hungry to reply properly...

Seriously, thanks for your candor about brining. Your video barely mentioned that the chicken was brined though - and it never says how it was brined (the ingredients, time, etc.). Could you share that (or point in right direction)? You have inspired me to try a brined rotisserie chicken this weekend. If you say it makes a "off the charts" difference, then that's good enough for me. Thanks!

Oh, could I ask also why you cooked the chicken at 300deg (indirect) for about an hour before cooking it for about another hour with the infrared burner? I've done rotis birds with indirect only on a grill that didn't have an infrared, and I've done 'em with just the infrared, but I've never done both simultaneously. Is there a reason for doing it that way?

Sorry for so many questions, but your input is SO helpful and we're VERY grateful. Could I ask if injecting a chicken with a flavorful marinade would accomplish the same (or nearly the same) effect as brining it, but in much less time? I was thinking of injecting something like your 5-spice chicken marinade here:

Jamie's Rotisserie 5-Spice Chicken

(BTW, I still truss chickens using your method and I still enjoy giving it a good Medieval spin over a fire...)

Sorry this is so long. Re: My buddy's double-brined corned beef, I must say you are quite a diplomat, Sir! A little bit to make ME happy, and a little bit to make HIM happy.
You're right, of course, that if he thinks it's better than he should do it. I just wondered if there was any culinary reason why it would be "better" or "just a waste of time".

Thanks again, Jamie, for all your great ideas and tips! Have a great day! -Mickey