Mix the water and kosher salt together in a large pot. Toss in the bay leaves and peppercorns and cinnamon sticks. Bring everything to a strong boil.
Once it's started boiling, take it off the heat and toss in 2 cups of ice water. Let the brine cool off totally, then put it into the fridge.
Remember, the brine must be chilled below 40 degrees before adding in any meat, and chicken must be at 165 degrees internal temp to be safe to eat.
Once the brine is chilled to below 40 degrees, add the chicken to the pot. One way to guarantee a correct safe temperature, is to make the brine the day before so it has enough time to chill.
Place a lid on the pot and pop it back in the fridge. Leave the chicken in the brine for 1 and 1/2 hours.
Take your chicken out of the brine, and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the chicken on a baking rack and let it air dry for a short while.
At this point you can do whatever you wish with the chicken and it will Put 2 Tbs of maple wood chips in the bottom of the smoker.retain its moisture. I decided to smoke the chicken over maple wood.
Brush the chicken breasts with 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup.
Place a foil lined tray onto to the wood chips. Lay the chicken on the tray.Close the lid of the smoker except for a tiny bit left open.
Turn the heat up to medium high. When wisps of smoke start to come out of the gap in the lid, (a sign the wood is smoking) close the lid all the way.
Smoke the chicken for about 30 minutes. Check the temperature with a meat thermometer. When it reads 165 degrees, it's done. Wrap them in tinfoil and let them rest for 5 minutes before slicing them.
The great thing about this recipe is that it makes excellent chicken for sanwiches and salads, and it can be made ahead and packs up perfectly for cookouts, potlucks, and picnics.
- 3.0 Boneless chicken breasts
- 8.0c Water
- 2.0c Ice water
- 1/2c Kosher salt
- 2.0 Bay leaves
- 1.0tsp Black peppercorns
- 2.0 Cinnamon sticks broken in pieces
- 1/4c Pure maple syrup