View Full Version : My chicken is holding me back

Meat & Heat
06-13-2012, 03:49 PM
Please help if you can.
My chicken is holding me back at comps:confused:. Ribs, butts and briskett are great, have placed with all but I can't seem to break through with chicken. I have tried brines, skinless, thighs, breast, whole, drumsticks, and numerous differen't rubs and sauces but can't seem to get a call. Everyone I ever cook for says it's great but at comps it's not good enough. Any secrets to great comp chicken.
Any help wolud be great.

06-13-2012, 03:54 PM
Our chicken scores take us on a long uncomfortable roller coaster ride.
I'll be of no help.

06-13-2012, 04:11 PM
I wish I knew. I'm getting close to subcontracting chicken to someone else. The day we get a chicken call in a decent-sized field, I might have a heart attack.

06-13-2012, 04:28 PM
Since we started using a brine, ours has gotten us a walk in every contest except 1(and that is when my dad had a great idea of making cupcake chicken...never again..lol)

06-13-2012, 04:37 PM
Welcome to the club!! Try CHOKIN IT!! :-o

06-13-2012, 04:40 PM
Welcome to the club!! Try CHOKIN IT!! :-o

I didn't know you could win awards for that. If only I knew that at 13 or 14.

06-13-2012, 06:19 PM
I didn't know you could win awards for that. If only I knew that at 13 or 14.

Bet Miss Mona would love this thread !:twitch:

Smokin' Gnome BBQ
06-13-2012, 08:21 PM
what is your method? that way "we" can try to help. share and share alike..what is your best catagory? share and share alike.

Meat & Heat
06-13-2012, 09:34 PM
Smokin Gnome

We have tried injection with apple juice and spices, brining as long as we could with a simple salt brine, [came out way jucy] I have tried hot and fast, slow and low, lots of smoke, little, smoke, rub inside and out, rub with lots of mopping, ect. The chicken tastes good but for some reson we can't get a call.

Best catagory right know woul be ribs and pork butt.
Ribs are easy, smoke @ 200-215 for 2 1/2 hrs then wrap with some brown sugar and more rub, return to the pit at 275 for the next 2 hrs or until done.

06-13-2012, 09:44 PM
1st, how long did you run each recipe before changing?

2nd, what exactly are you using? what rub, sauce, wood, etc....

06-13-2012, 09:50 PM
I find the less my chicken tastes like chicken the better I do. And I'm not joking.

Meat & Heat
06-13-2012, 09:59 PM
We will cook a recipe at least three times befroe we change. We use a custom built stick burner and apple wood with mesquite charcol.
Rubs have been everthing from brown sugar sweet rubs to more of a lemon pepper poulrty rub.
Just can't seem to dial it in and it's bugging the s*** out of me.

06-13-2012, 10:09 PM
the mesquite charcoal might be the issue.

06-13-2012, 10:12 PM
the mesquite charcoal might be the issue.

Doubt it. Mesquite Charcoal is good, it's really dense. Have you ever used it ?

06-13-2012, 10:31 PM
Doubt it. Mesquite Charcoal is good, it's really dense. Have you ever used it ?

i agree to stay away from mesquite charcoal. just use non mesquite lump and lots of fruit wood. weird that chicken is one of my better category. my brisket suck now...

06-14-2012, 12:40 AM
Not to start a regional battle here, but mesquite is not well regarded for BBQ this side of Texas. Grilling, maybe, but for barbecue, not so much.

This is not to say that it couldn't fare well in Western Colorado, but it would definitely be a problem at comps in the South.

06-14-2012, 03:04 AM
I would suggest taking a hard look at your score sheets. Are you consistently losing points in taste and tenderness? Be brutally honest with your numbers. If you are getting 6's,7's,and 8's, something needs to change. Regardless of the feedback you get from others, it is the judges opinion you are after at a contest. If you are getting primarily 8's and 9's across the board, you will walk. Google bite through chicken skin. Personally, I would stick with thighs, they are relatively forgiving and the most common turn in. How are your appearance scores? People eat with there eyes first, you may want to post some turn in box pictures here for input. I would be curious to see some of your scores, if you don't mind posting them.
Cook often, take good notes, try subtle variations of your recipes and techniques side by side for comparison. Once you can consistently cook tender bite through chicken, you stand a fair chance of getting a call.
Good luck.


06-14-2012, 06:07 AM
Try replacing the mesquite with hickory. Hickory and apple is a good combination.

06-14-2012, 07:06 AM
chicken eh?

06-14-2012, 03:46 PM
I HATE chicken

Meat & Heat
06-14-2012, 10:41 PM
As far as scores go they are all over the place. We will get 5s 7s 10s all in the same card, that is what has me stumped. Some comps will be poor on tenderness others will be low on taste, just can't figure it out. Talked with a buddy of mine and the only thing we can come up with is I live at 6,800 feet above sea level and will cook at comps that range from 1,500 feet to 8,000 feet so the cook times are always different. What is strange is that it only seems to affect the chicken, everythig else stays pretty cinsistant with the exception of the random f--- up but we all have those.
I will have to keep better notes on the next practice cooks and see waht i can find.

Still Smokin
06-14-2012, 10:46 PM
I HATE chicken

I will second that, just finished cleaning 32 pices and scraping skin.

06-15-2012, 09:20 AM
As far as scores go they are all over the place. We will get 5s 7s 10s all in the same card...
Do you trim them to be uniform in size?

06-15-2012, 01:11 PM
I trim them all to size, scrape the skins, de-bone them. I really HATE chicken. I've tweaked the seasoning a little here and there, but nothing too much. I have taken 4th with chicken, but like some of the other folks, my scores will be like a roller coaster from contest to contest.

Here is my chicken box from my last comp. All 9's in appearance, and mostly 8's in taste & tenderness, with the exception of one 7 in tenderness. I took 17th out of 38