480 Bobwhite quail were sacrificed at 16 wk of age to study the effect of brine-chilling and smoking on carcass cooling rate during chilling, water uptake, thawing losses after frozen storage, cooking yield after smoking, tenderness and organoleptic characteristics of the smoke meat. Equal numbers of male and female carcasses were chilled in 0%, 5% or 7.5% brine solutions for 1, 2, 3 or 4 hr, in a 2 × 3 × 4 factorial experimental design. Removal of body heat of the carcass during chilling was accomplished at a much faster rate when brine-chilling was used. Increasing the brine concentration from 5 to 7.5% resulted in a faster cooling rate. Brine chilled carcasses had significantly (P < 0.05) greater percent water uptake during chilling, lower thaw losses and higher cooked yield than the slush-ice chilled (control) carcasses. Smoked meat from brine-chilled carcasses had significantly (P < 0.05) lower shear force readings (indicating more tender meat) and better organoleptic scores when compared with smoked meat from the control carcasses. Increasing the chilling time resulted in significantly more tender meat and better juiciness scores. Tissue NaCl concentration was increased when higher brine concentration or longer chilling time was used.