PDA

View Full Version : soooo, natural looking thighs


boogiesnap
09-24-2011, 10:31 AM
after spending 6 months working on a boneless, heavily trimmed thigh for competition, there seems to now be a backlash against them.

i would like to add another tool in box.

can anyone please offer some suggestions on trimming a bone in thigh for uniformity?

with my experience, it would seem to take like 50 thighs to find 6-9 that are of equal size.

any thoughts?

thanks all!

Lakeside Smoker
09-24-2011, 10:52 AM
Yep. I buy 4, sometimes 5 family packs of chicken for trimming. About 40 pieces of chicken to get 12 for cooking.

Coz
09-24-2011, 10:53 AM
after spending 6 months working on a boneless, heavily trimmed thigh for competition, there seems to now be a backlash against them.

i would like to add another tool in box.

can anyone please offer some suggestions on trimming a bone in thigh for uniformity?

with my experience, it would seem to take like 50 thighs to find 6-9 that are of equal size.

any thoughts?

Not that I do very well in chicken but we have been able to come up with a decent box by trimming 24 and pickin the best 16 to cook. I try to buy the biggest thighs I can get. Our best appearance scores came from the ones I would trim square . Seems that they never look exactly the same but we rarely get worse then an 8 in appearance.

INmitch
09-24-2011, 10:56 AM
I buy 10 quarters. Usually only 1 or 2 that aren't close in size. By starting with quarters you can square them up & get them pretty close in size. I only cook 8 pieces & turn in 6.:thumb:Today is an exception.:mad2: I've got 30 I'm going to trim (if I could find one of them puking smilies I'd insert here). 2 batches for the Royal & 1 for Bentonville. After today no more trimming farking chicken till next year.:clap2:

indianagriller
09-24-2011, 11:48 AM
I buy 10 quarters. Usually only 1 or 2 that aren't close in size. By starting with quarters you can square them up & get them pretty close in size. I only cook 8 pieces & turn in 6.:thumb:Today is an exception.:mad2: I've got 30 I'm going to trim (if I could find one of them puking smilies I'd insert here). 2 batches for the Royal & 1 for Bentonville. After today no more trimming farking chicken till next year.:clap2:
Interesting... :idea::thumb: Good luck !

Brauma
09-24-2011, 01:35 PM
We went back to basics and place 6, big, natural-looking thighs in our box. Bite-thru skin, juicy as heck, full of flavor, and tastes like BBQ chicken. This year we placed 2nd in Chesapeake, VA, 4th in West VA, 6th at the Sams Club comp in Chesapeake, and 14th in Louisa, VA. (That's all the comps we did this year). So, to say the least, we feel we have some traction in the chicken category.

Rich Parker
09-24-2011, 03:46 PM
I buy a family pack of 12 thighs and just go with it. There have been a couple of times that i have accidentally picked up a 9 pack and went with it to.

boogiesnap
09-24-2011, 05:45 PM
thanks guys.

how do you go about trimming? i've tried trimming bone in, but seem to mangle the bone and the meat.

what the heck do y'all do with ALL that extra chicken?

rich, i appreciate your approach as well.

edit: i understand if i don't get too much traction on this, it's just i can make a pretty good pillow all day long, but just stare at a whole thigh dumbfounded with what to do to it. so was hoping for some help.:thumb:

Sledneck
09-24-2011, 06:43 PM
Mutha chicken http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=46375

QansasjayhawQ
09-24-2011, 09:48 PM
OK - what I've been doing is trimming back the 'long side' of the thigh.

When you turn it over and open it up along the bone, you'll see one side is kind of tapered down. I trim that side back to match the other side.

Once you do that, the skin should easily wrap around for the cook.

Have fun!

stan
09-25-2011, 09:06 AM
OK - what I've been doing is trimming back the 'long side' of the thigh.

When you turn it over and open it up along the bone, you'll see one side is kind of tapered down. I trim that side back to match the other side.

Once you do that, the skin should easily wrap around for the cook.

Have fun!

This is very similar to what I do.. I also do it when they are partially frozen if I can by just putting into the freezer when trimming meat and trim them last. It makes it easier to see the shape and trim it. It has worked well for me this year..

mwert
09-25-2011, 10:03 AM
Don't forget to remove the blood vessels and small tendon. If a judge thinks its not cooked when they see "red" of any sort, remove the "red" before you cook(or at least as much as possible). I do everything I can to help the judges enjoy their sample of my BBQ. No matter how you trim, take the time to make it perfect and intentional.


thanks guys.

how do you go about trimming? i've tried trimming bone in, but seem to mangle the bone and the meat.

what the heck do y'all do with ALL that extra chicken?

rich, i appreciate your approach as well.

edit: i understand if i don't get too much traction on this, it's just i can make a pretty good pillow all day long, but just stare at a whole thigh dumbfounded with what to do to it. so was hoping for some help.:thumb:



Extra chicken: chicken noodle soup.

CivilWarBBQ
09-26-2011, 01:10 AM
When I trim chicken, I keep one of those Gladware/Ziplock containers on the counter and pack the trimmings into it. When I'm done, it goes straight in the freezer. Takes no extra time at all and easy to thaw later for use in stir fry, pasta sauce or whatever application you have for bite-sized chicken pieces.

GreenDrake
09-26-2011, 05:35 AM
I trim them by first knocking off half the knuckles with a cleaver, then the vein, then square up, fold and see how they look before trimming down any more. Got 4th place this last weekend with this batch. I'm a scraper but after deciding chicken wasn't gonna beat me, I practiced...a LOT. Now the chicken prep is easier for me.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v462/motorcade1/Food%20Porn/basinchick.jpg

boogiesnap
09-26-2011, 07:41 AM
thanks again guys.

i suppose i should get myself a family pack and have at it.
more specifically, my issues have been:

shattering the bone with a cleaver trying to get off that knuckle.
way different bone lengths.
way different thigh thicknesses.
skin not big enough to wrap around bone in.

last, is meat to seasonings ratio. changing the amount of meat per thigh is a complete re-tool of that balance.

looks like i got more chicken practice ahead. :roll:

i guess i'm just rambling at this point. maybe i should just run with these and be done with it:

57855

bover
09-26-2011, 08:00 AM
after spending 6 months working on a boneless, heavily trimmed thigh for competition, there seems to now be a backlash against them.

Out of curiosity, where have you heard the backlash? Only place I've seen/heard it is on the boards here. Haven't heard anything of the sort actually in the judging tent or over on bbqcritic.

boogiesnap
09-26-2011, 08:11 AM
Out of curiosity, where have you heard the backlash? Only place I've seen/heard it is on the boards here. Haven't heard anything of the sort actually in the judging tent or over on bbqcritic.

admitedly, it was only here, and i realize we are a specialized bunch. :becky:

but, my thoughts being, if the goal is to offend the least number of judges, lowering the entry to the lowest common denominator might be the best approach.

i.e, no one will score down a decently trimmed "natural" thigh, but some MAY score down a "pillow".

OOOOORRRRRR

i'm overthinking the farker. early cabin fever mod?

CBQ
09-26-2011, 09:00 AM
Try poultry shears. Just be sure to remove any bone chips.

Alexa RnQ
09-26-2011, 10:41 AM
way different bone lengths
way different thigh thicknesses.
skin not big enough to wrap around bone in.
Shop around. Try different brands available in your area. Chicken is one of the most consistent products there is, chicken is chicken is chicken, but getting the sizes grouped is always a chore. We pulled down many a call with plain old Costco thighs -- our Jack chicken call was one, we'd stopped at the Costco in Brentwood to pick up the chicken.

One of the benchmark groups lately had VQ only trimming a couple dozen thighs -- there were two or three with long bones, and two or so that were skimpy, but the rest all came in at about the same shape/size/weight. That was about as happy a day as chicken trimming can be.

Oh, and the extra chicken goes to the happiest dog ever!

ETA: I just looked and noticed that we're 13th in chicken! http://www.divaherself.com/funny/shiner.gif

Bourbon Barrel BBQ
09-26-2011, 10:46 AM
admitedly, it was only here, and i realize we are a specialized bunch. :becky:

but, my thoughts being, if the goal is to offend the least number of judges, lowering the entry to the lowest common denominator might be the best approach.

i.e, no one will score down a decently trimmed "natural" thigh, but some MAY score down a "pillow".

OOOOORRRRRR

i'm overthinking the farker. early cabin fever mod?

I believe there is a backlash against them as well. First 3 contests this year our chicken was mid pack at best. The previous year that same chicken was one of our best categories with some wins and top 5s sprinkled in. After our third contest I simply changed the shape of the chicken and we have had a chicken call in every contest since.

chambersuac
09-26-2011, 02:41 PM
Does anyone have a pictorial of how to that doesn't involve deboning the meat first? Or....do you all debone when trimming?

Bigmista
09-26-2011, 02:57 PM
thanks again guys.

i suppose i should get myself a family pack and have at it.
more specifically, my issues have been:

shattering the bone with a cleaver trying to get off that knuckle.
way different bone lengths.
way different thigh thicknesses.
skin not big enough to wrap around bone in.

last, is meat to seasonings ratio. changing the amount of meat per thigh is a complete re-tool of that balance.

looks like i got more chicken practice ahead. :roll:

i guess i'm just rambling at this point. maybe i should just run with these and be done with it:

57855

Try using Poultry shears instead of a cleaver.

roksmith
09-26-2011, 03:22 PM
Maybe we're just lazy, but we do very little trimming. About 15 seconds per thigh.. just to clean up and remove excess skin and hunks of meat that are hanging out. The less you remove the bigger and more natural the look. Works for us.

CivilWarBBQ
09-26-2011, 04:26 PM
About bone shattering:

I usually only cut knuckles if the thighs are larger than normal, but one time that I did all of the bones would shatter instead of cut, leaving jagged edges and lots of bone shards in the meat. Very uncool. I had never had this happen before, but on that occasion had not been able to get the premium organic chicken we usually cook, so I had to go with regular supermarket family pack thighs.

Obviously the change in brands was the source of the problem, but I had no idea why chicken bones would shatter like that. At the contest that weekend I saw my friend Bobby Cresap of Team Bobby-Q. Knowing he was a professionally trained Chef, I asked him about my problem, and he knew exactly what had happened. I'll do my best to paraphrase the explanation Bobby gave me:

"Chicken raised for the mass market is given feed and hormones designed to make the birds gain weight much faster than normal. They do this because bringing the animal up to salable size quicker means lower cost per bird and therefore higher profit. However, bones take time to thicken, so the strength of the bones does not keep pace with the accelerated meat growth. As a result, when the bird is slaughtered the bones are still those of a much younger chicken and relatively fragile."

"Organically farmed chickens are allowed to mature naturally, so when they go to market the bones are fully formed, which is why you didn't have a problem with shattering with your premium brand."

Thanks to Chef Cresap for filling me in. I pass it along in the hope that this info helps out other folks our there having problems with chicken bone shattering.

-GF

boogiesnap
09-26-2011, 04:48 PM
About bone shattering:

I usually only cut knuckles if the thighs are larger than normal, but one time that I did all of the bones would shatter instead of cut, leaving jagged edges and lots of bone shards in the meat. Very uncool. I had never had this happen before, but on that occasion had not been able to get the premium organic chicken we usually cook, so I had to go with regular supermarket family pack thighs.

Obviously the change in brands was the source of the problem, but I had no idea why chicken bones would shatter like that. At the contest that weekend I saw my friend Bobby Cresap of Team Bobby-Q. Knowing he was a professionally trained Chef, I asked him about my problem, and he knew exactly what had happened. I'll do my best to paraphrase the explanation Bobby gave me:

"Chicken raised for the mass market is given feed and hormones designed to make the birds gain weight much faster than normal. They do this because bringing the animal up to salable size quicker means lower cost per bird and therefore higher profit. However, bones take time to thicken, so the strength of the bones does not keep pace with the accelerated meat growth. As a result, when the bird is slaughtered the bones are still those of a much younger chicken and relatively fragile."

"Organically farmed chickens are allowed to mature naturally, so when they go to market the bones are fully formed, which is why you didn't have a problem with shattering with your premium brand."

Thanks to Chef Cresap for filling me in. I pass it along in the hope that this info helps out other folks our there having problems with chicken bone shattering.

-GF

very nice info.

makes alot of sense. seen mass market food industry films. frightening stuff.

here's the rub with that for me however...

premium organic chicken also has a more developed and difficult to render skin. also, in the super free range organic genre of chicken, the meat is less moist, and further away from flavor of the mainstream judge.

but, thats extreme bird, not your typical bell and evans organic.

maybe i'll give bell and evans another shot.

their whole organic bird is QUITE tasty.

Slamdunkpro
09-26-2011, 05:30 PM
About bone shattering:

I usually only cut knuckles if the thighs are larger than normal, but one time that I did all of the bones would shatter instead of cut, leaving jagged edges and lots of bone shards in the meat. Very uncool. I had never had this happen before, but on that occasion had not been able to get the premium organic chicken we usually cook, so I had to go with regular supermarket family pack thighs.

Obviously the change in brands was the source of the problem, but I had no idea why chicken bones would shatter like that. At the contest that weekend I saw my friend Bobby Cresap of Team Bobby-Q. Knowing he was a professionally trained Chef, I asked him about my problem, and he knew exactly what had happened. I'll do my best to paraphrase the explanation Bobby gave me:

"Chicken raised for the mass market is given feed and hormones designed to make the birds gain weight much faster than normal. They do this because bringing the animal up to salable size quicker means lower cost per bird and therefore higher profit. However, bones take time to thicken, so the strength of the bones does not keep pace with the accelerated meat growth. As a result, when the bird is slaughtered the bones are still those of a much younger chicken and relatively fragile."

"Organically farmed chickens are allowed to mature naturally, so when they go to market the bones are fully formed, which is why you didn't have a problem with shattering with your premium brand."

Thanks to Chef Cresap for filling me in. I pass it along in the hope that this info helps out other folks our there having problems with chicken bone shattering.

-GF

You might want to run that story by a biologist or veterinarian.

GreenDrake
09-26-2011, 07:46 PM
Odd, I really haven't noticed any shattering at all, usually the knuckles are pretty soft, so much that the cleaver initially starts slicing into them. Maybe it's the chicken I am using. I will have to look out for that. As it stands, my chicken has been improving with each comp in the placing so I am doing something right for the judges. We still don't have a GC to our credit but we're workin on it. Tough to do when you only do three comps a year I guess.

boogiesnap
09-27-2011, 07:37 AM
You might want to run that story by a biologist or veterinarian.

it has merit. watch the documentary food inc.

scary stuff.