PDA

View Full Version : Chicken Thighs


Jeff_in_KC
08-29-2005, 08:09 PM
OK my first attempt at thighs to practice for contest (edited for relevance in this forum) didn't go as well as I would have liked. I had my fire on the WSM at 250* or so and then dropped it down a bit. Left the thighs on for three hours. Came out and the farkin skin was BLACK. I had brined them, then injected with a couple of kinds of marinade and finally put Jay's Hen n Hog Dust under the skin and on top of the skin.

The flavor of the meat was pretty good (although I was involved in my fantasy football league draft and the internal temp got up to 186* and dried them just a slight bit. I tried to crisp the skin up skin side down on the grill but it left nasty grill marks. The skin also had pulled away so it didn't evenly cover the thighs any longer. It was difficult to glaze them on the grill because the skin kept pulling off.

Can some of you give me some pointers on thighs... things to try, to do differently and not do at all?

Thanks!

icemn62
08-29-2005, 09:09 PM
I never do well when cooking chiken pieces, I feel your pain. If i have to cook chicken and can not convince the wife to do it, on the grill, or pull out the little deep fryer.

How long till you have to perfect your technique?

jminion
08-29-2005, 09:11 PM
Jeff
I cook thighs at 250 or slightly higher, they stay on till I get the color I want, the internal normally will range from 170 to 175. At that point they go into a pan of sauce skink down for about one hour. During this part of the cook the skin tenderizes (not crispy). They come out of the pan of sauce and go back onto the grates to set the glaze.
The sauce is a mixture of sauce, some hot sauce, honey, cayenne, pineapple juice and a couple of pats of butter.
You end up with great looking skin that is nice and shinny. The skin you can get a clean bite without having to crisp it up.

Jeff_in_KC
08-29-2005, 09:24 PM
Thanks, Jim... GREAT ideas! Can't wait to give it another shot using that method. I assume that pan of sauce needs to be over charcoal at contests, huh?

The_Kapn
08-29-2005, 09:41 PM
Thanks, Jim... GREAT ideas! Can't wait to give it another shot using that method. I assume that pan of sauce needs to be over charcoal at contests, huh?
Jim is real busy and has left the Forum for tonight.
On his behalf--"YES--in the smoker still" during the pan/sauce phase.

TIM

The_Kapn
08-29-2005, 10:47 PM
Jeff,
Jim's recipie is very similar to what Chad and I do now.
It will score well if done correctly.
But, Jim has done this for years and we have for over a year.
This type of cooking technique has many variables.
Easy to get unreliable results till you "work up to it" and develop your own version and reliability. You will die in Comp if you are not consistant :wink:

May I suggest you establish a "base-line" of taste and texture, then move forward in complexity as you learn?
Thighs are cheap, cook times are short, and they are predictable. Easy to practice, even after "work"!

Try this to start:
Marinade some thighs in Italian Dressing for 3 hours.
Put the WSM at 240-260 degrees using KingsFord and some small wood chunks. Pecan, Oak, Cherry, Apple, and other small chunks all work fine.

Put the Chickie Thighs on the grate, skin side up, and cook for 3 hours at 240-260. Or use 275-300 for 2.5 hours. It don't matter.

Leave the darn lid closed--do not peek--do not spray--do not mop--do not go off and do other things and ignore the temp :lol:

At 3 hours (or 2.5 hours)--remove the thighs carefully (do not mess up the skin--use the sides to lift).
Apply a light coat of your favorite sauce and let sit for 15 minutes.

Sample and enjoy :lol:

We have placed well in highly competetive fields doing nothing more that this!
Now, we are doing the more complex panning technique and using advanced flavors.
But, this is to "move up" a point or two--not to get a basic product started :twisted:
And, as it gets more complex, it gets easier to screw up--believe me :oops:

Do it simple--get a base line taste and texture--then modify one item at a time till you get where you want to go :lol:
FWIW.

TIM

jminion
08-29-2005, 11:38 PM
Tim
I've cooked thighs and breast that way for a number of years, the reason for the switch to the pan tecnique is to be sure to get the skin tender. Like any cooking technique the more you practice the more you can build on the overall recipe. Great advice.

chad
08-30-2005, 06:45 AM
Jeff;

Jim and Tim are giving you the kind of information that is actually discussed around the cookers and cook offs. We're ALL looking for the "secret" to chicken skin. The chicken meat is pretty forgiving - the skin is the problem.

You have to treat the pieces gently - we never use tongs during a cookoff.

And, you have to watch the color of the chicken - Jim, again, mentioned something that is "different" from the backyard cook - we check the color and take action - we KNOW we can finish the meat on time - but the color may develope differently from cooker to cooker (slightly different convection, different humidity, outside temps causing the cooker to fluctuate) - we KNOW our chicken will be done in 2.5 - 3 hours. We kNOW what our cooker temp is (and we check the chicken internal with a instant read) and so we shoot for the skin color and adjust everything else around that!!

drbbq
08-30-2005, 08:03 AM
Jeff,

You better get practicing if you're still planning on winning the American Royal!!

MoKanMeathead
08-30-2005, 08:14 AM
Good advice here. We cook our chicken on a weber (kettle) for the first hour or so - until we get the color we are looking for. Then we do as Jim mentioned and put itin a covered 1/2 pan with sauce. We do ours skin up but get the same results - soft tender skin you can bite through. Too many people try to get crisp skin - you don't need it and usually end up making it too dark.

Jeff_in_KC
08-30-2005, 08:17 AM
That's all good advice and exactly what I was looking for with this thread. More input is always welcome in my situation! :) I plan on doing thighs at least 5-6 more times before the Royal, maybe more. I'm thinking maybe the skin got too dark quickly because of the sugar content of the rub I used. (It's all Jay's fault! :lol: )

Question... if you don't use tongs, what do you do to move/turn thighs? Gloves? That would be the only option I see that would be more gentle on the meat.

drbbq, don't worry about me practicing... that's not a problem. My wife says our whole house is getting smoked as much as I've been cooking lately! :wink: I did change my outlook on the Royal from no illusions of winning to "by God, I'm gonna do it!" I believe in the power of positive thoughts and visualizing goals. I envision myself walking the stage at the Royal every morning when I wake up and each night when I go to bed! It may not carry me past all 400-500 teams entered but if it carries me past 100-200 of them, that's something to build on, right?

drbbq
08-30-2005, 08:24 AM
I think that's a much more realistic goal. Finishing in the top 100 is a serious accomplishment. But hey, anything can happen. See you there!

Jeff_in_KC
08-30-2005, 08:26 AM
dr, looking forward to meeting ya there! You're in the Invitational, aren't you?

Solidkick
08-30-2005, 12:23 PM
I think that's a much more realistic goal. Finishing in the top 100 is a serious accomplishment. But hey, anything can happen. See you there!

I'd go as far as saying the top 150........

U remember me saying that at Charleston, there were 63 teams, with 41 of them being state or grand champions? My guess there will be at least a 100 that were GC, RS, or state champs at the AR.....

ggeilman
08-30-2005, 12:48 PM
The few that I had room for turned out good. I used the 3-2-1 method, no brining at all, just a rub. They were tasty the next day.

Jeff_in_KC
08-30-2005, 01:16 PM
I think that's a much more realistic goal. Finishing in the top 100 is a serious accomplishment. But hey, anything can happen. See you there!

I'd go as far as saying the top 150........

U remember me saying that at Charleston, there were 63 teams, with 41 of them being state or grand champions? My guess there will be at least a 100 that were GC, RS, or state champs at the AR.....

But Kick, won't most of these champs be in the Invitational and not the Open? From what was said earlier, there may be 50-75 teams in the Open who just turn in crap (someone mentioned 70 and 80 point scores at the Royal) so they can be there to party. I will be able to knock off these teams without even trying and doing what I normally do at home. I'm quite positive the Royal is not going to be the place to really tell how good my product is (unless I go outta my head and get 2-3 best ever results to turn in). I'm thinking going to small contests is more likely to be a good barometer of my abilities.

icemn62
08-30-2005, 03:25 PM
Jeff if nobody else believes in him the Heavweight Boxing Champ of the world believes in himself. If you don't think positive, and believe in yourself nobody will. Stay in the right frame of mind, practice your art and go for what you know. The Brethren will be behind you all the way. "You Can Do It!"

tommykendall
08-30-2005, 03:43 PM
OK - I am not a moderator of this forum, don't want to be, but if I was this thread would move directly to Q-Talk where the original inquiry belongs. It wasn't until the 4th post that we snuck the term 'contest' in, and frankly, just like the inquiry on spices, belongs in Q-Talk. Equal or attention will be given to the thread there. If the topic matter was something like the following I could see it here in this forum:

1. How Can I Maximize Scoring on Chicken Thighs (luv the sound of that one huh?)
2. What Do Judges Look for on the Cook's Thighs 8)

Jeff_in_KC
08-30-2005, 04:17 PM
I disagree Tommy.. .I'm not looking for how to do them in my back yard. I'm looking for how to do them to best rate with judges. I also feel the same about the spices thread. I already know my common generic spices are fine for the back yard. I am interested to know the quality level of competition spices and if there is a difference. I guarantee you if I posted either of these in the Q Talk section, I'd have several people telling me they belonged in the Competition forum. Guess ya just can't make everyone happy. I've learned that in politics and I think it applies here just as easily.

tommykendall
08-30-2005, 04:56 PM
I guarantee you if I posted either of these in the Q Talk section, I'd have several people telling me they belonged in the Competition forum.



I disagree Tommy.. .I'm not looking for how to do them in my back yard.


Not so. You asked how to cook chicken thighs better because you were not pleased with what you did. That is Q-Talk - we get posts like that every week of the year Jeff and NO we don't move that stuff to Competition. It wasn't until later did you change the topic to ask how you would do it for a 'contest'. So just be more specific when placing a title on your posts. I gave you examples of how you could properly title your thread to avoid a move.

chad
08-30-2005, 04:58 PM
Jeff;

Yes, you use gloves. We have heavy duty Rubbermaid and heavy duty insulated as well as disposable latex gloves. I usually use the heavy duty Rubbermaid gloves when handling the chicken & ribs (sometimes doubled latex) and use the heavier insulated gloves for handling the brisket and pork and for pulling the pork.

BrooklynQ
08-30-2005, 05:03 PM
Of course there's the gloves and ice water method.

Pick up a piece of chicken in a latex triple gloved hand - move it and then immediately dip your hands in ice water to kill the pain.

MoKanMeathead
08-30-2005, 05:09 PM
When handling hot meat we use cotton gloves under the latex gloves. Works great for pulling hot pork and moving hot chicken thighs.

BBQchef33
08-30-2005, 05:25 PM
Of course there's the gloves and ice water method.

Pick up a piece of chicken in a latex triple gloved hand - move it and then immediately dip your hands in ice water to kill the pain.


yup.. that sounds familiar.

May I interject while here on vacation.

My spices for competition are the identical spices i use at home. I may by some fresh ones if the ones i have a more than amonth or 2 old,but i dont use different spices for competition. I may use unique ones that are "secret ingriedents" that i don tuse at home, but the common stuff is the same bottles.

Techniques are also the same.

And .... Not that this is big deal, to back up TK, questions about general cooking techniques, really should go in Qtalk... I use the same techniques at home that i do in comps and aside form the last clock cleaning we got, we have done very well. It may even get better exposure and better response. Alot of technique and ideas are discovered in the backyard.

Jeff_in_KC
08-30-2005, 05:41 PM
ok

chad
08-30-2005, 06:42 PM
But Kick, won't most of these champs be in the Invitational and not the Open?


Jeff: Most of the Invitational teams ALSO cook the Open - double the pleasure and double the payday. Nope, the higher numbers will dilute the field but nearly all the heavy hitters will be competing, too. Hey $10K is $10K no matter how you slice it! :D

Now, gents, I shouldn't have to remind everyone to keep this forum civil or it will be moderated.

Some have profered that this should be a Q-Talk thread and it could be, but it's here and I have no grief with that. It'll stay unless someone gets froggy.

Back on topic and to another part of this thread:

My cooking techniques vary at home. I don't sweat the small stuff. My spices vary some - but I tend to use the same seasonings but may not brine or marinade the same. Hey, I make 4 gallons of marinade at a time - I don't usually cook that much at home (catering, yes.) and I don't necessarily inject at home - depends on the mood I'm in. I also foil instead of panning the meat, etc. etc.

However, when I practice I'm usually practicing a technique rather than my time or seasonings.

Just my $.02 worth.

BBQchef33
08-30-2005, 09:55 PM
i neglected to add something(was in a hurry mod). The techniques, although pretty much the same at home and in competitions, in competitions, one will pay attention to LITTLE details. Sauce being smooth, ends trimmed, sizes are uniform....etc.. its the little things that count and make the cut. The other stuff like brines, marinades etc.. you do in comps when you have 20 hours to deal with it. At home.. i usually wont bother..

'cept chicken pieces for a few hours if I got the time to kill.