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View Full Version : IBCA comp and chicken size to buy.


Smokey Bones
04-08-2013, 01:52 AM
I will be doing my first IBCA comp and have a question on Chicken. It is to be a half chicken, but what is a good size? What size full chicken should I buy to cut in half so it best fits the styro? Not to small that more could be included for the judges, by not so large it gets crammed in and doesn't fit right?

jmoney7269
04-08-2013, 06:14 AM
We cook 4.5-5 lb birds if its just one half to turn in. You can fit a pretty big half in a box diagonally

gmholler
04-08-2013, 07:18 AM
Jmoney is correct - 4.5-5 lbs is a good size, if you're turning in one half. But keep in mind - the box MUST close. I've seen some HUGE half chickens, even with the backbone cut out, and I know the judges struggled to get those boxes closed after they took their sample! Depending on the number of teams in the contest, tho, you may have to turn in two halves (50+ teams usually requires 2 half chickens) - your box will be larger. Both halves laid diagonally will fit and display nicely.

Lynn H.

bruno994
04-08-2013, 08:15 AM
J$ is right on the $...as is Lynn. I always cook 2 birds (4 halves), this way I have several choices for turn ins, plus some eating when friends show up midday Saturday.

Smokey Bones
04-08-2013, 09:29 PM
Thanks, so I will look for 4-1/2 to 5 lb birds. Agree that two birds and four halves gives the best option for picking one to turn in.

In my practice, I can get juicy meat, but as always skins are the issue. For KCBS thighs I can scrape, but not with the full halves. Any suggestions for rendering out the fat for more "bite-through" skin texture?

gmholler
04-09-2013, 07:24 AM
Higher heat, for a short time, works for me. And don't use a hen(but then again, that too could be just another part of the crappy meat we get in this town...).

Lynn H.

bruno994
04-09-2013, 08:40 AM
Honestly, I'm not sure how much the skin plays a part in the judging process. The judges are using plastic knives and forks to get a sample bite off your bird, so as long as they can cut through or pull back and expose the meat, you should be fine. Higher heat does work, I have been playing with a long smoke, then a high heat finish to set sauce and tighten up the skin, so far it's been a success.

QTEX
04-09-2013, 01:52 PM
Some judges can and will DQ a try if it will not close. We always tell them at the cooks meeting the tray "MUST" close, i can never figure out why some. Ooks just dont pay attn.
Good advice above, i like 4.5ers

jmoney7269
04-09-2013, 07:41 PM
In my practice, I can get juicy meat, but as always skins are the issue. For KCBS thighs I can scrape, but not with the full halves. Any suggestions for rendering out the fat for more "bite-through" skin texture?

Your not be able to get crispy skin to where the judge is gonna be able to cut it, it usually all comes off in one piece. We started doing better focusing on cut through skin rather than crispy. Mayo or olive oil really helps. My buddy uses mayo, I use olive oil and we go back and forth beating each other.
One I did last night. I didn't spritz or do anything to it like I normally do at a comp but the skin was still cut through. 350 and it took 1hr 10 min like usual.
Looks dry right there, but boy does it shine up once I spritz my magic juice in there.
http://i897.photobucket.com/albums/ac174/justinmargist/F0D734B3-C577-4A3E-8332-F535CCE8272C-1279-00000174DC332CC8.jpg

Crash
04-09-2013, 11:55 PM
We prefer them just a bit smaller. 4lbs is our preference but we've never used a bird larger than 4.5lbs.

QTEX
04-10-2013, 09:59 AM
Have seen many many judges eat the skin especially men so its best imo if they. An cut through it although crispy tastes better always. Try to find a balance there.

rooster445
04-10-2013, 05:19 PM
After I cut the bird in half I can slide the skin down the leg and thigh and away from the breast. I remove fat from the underside of the skin season the meat pull the skin back in place and attach it with tooth picks then season and olive oil the skin... Cook at 350 and always works for me.

Rich Parker
04-10-2013, 07:21 PM
Jmoney is correct - 4.5-5 lbs is a good size, if you're turning in one half. But keep in mind - the box MUST close. I've seen some HUGE half chickens, even with the backbone cut out, and I know the judges struggled to get those boxes closed after they took their sample! Depending on the number of teams in the contest, tho, you may have to turn in two halves (50+ teams usually requires 2 half chickens) - your box will be larger. Both halves laid diagonally will fit and display nicely.

Lynn H.

Wow... how in the world do you get two halves in a box? Would love to see a pic of that.

gmholler
04-11-2013, 07:14 AM
Wow... how in the world do you get two halves in a box? Would love to see a pic of that.

You've never seen a crawfish box (aka "super jumbo foam hinged container")?

http://www.genpak.com/product-info/SN270/

(basically, they're 10x13 rather than 9x9. If I can get them in THIS backwater town(where I spent hours yesterday looking for a decent sized fresh whole chicken without its wingtips cut off!), they must be available all over)

Lynn H.

jmoney7269
04-11-2013, 07:35 AM
Man that burns me up when I open up the chicken and it don't got the wing tips. I look carefully now.

Swamp Donkeyz BBQ
04-11-2013, 09:45 AM
Sanderson Farms rarely have missing wing tips and the packages are easy to check.

JS-TX
04-11-2013, 11:47 AM
I've noticed the HEB natural chicken has thinner looking skin, mainly cause the skin looks grey/pinkish, which I assume is the meat under the skin. Is this a fair assumption? Thanks!

jmoney7269
04-11-2013, 12:02 PM
I have seen the natural chicken but only peices. where are you finding heb natural halves or whole chicken?

gmholler
04-11-2013, 12:45 PM
What we finally got was a Sanderson Farms-brand chicken, about the size I wanted (what is the deal with all these 5+ lb chickens?!) - but it was only that particular type that had a see-through bag; the others had colored bags, or the part of the chicken you could see was ONLY the breast and maybe part of a thigh. I'd heard that wingtips are supposed to be a delicacy somewhere and can sell for a better price than the whole bird...

Lynn H.

JS-TX
04-11-2013, 01:05 PM
I have seen the natural chicken but only peices. where are you finding heb natural halves or whole chicken?

Handful of HEB stores here in SA carry them. They carry the pieces and whole chickens. These natural whole chickens are usually smaller but you can find a 4.5lber on most days.

jmoney7269
04-11-2013, 01:10 PM
So have you cooked one yet in comparison? I'm gonna ask the store manager at ours if he will get some. They are really good at gettin what the customers want there.

Swamp Donkeyz BBQ
04-11-2013, 01:28 PM
The HEB in Conroe has them as well.

JS-TX
04-11-2013, 01:38 PM
So have you cooked one yet in comparison? I'm gonna ask the store manager at ours if he will get some. They are really good at gettin what the customers want there.

Not side by side, but I notice they have less fat than Sanderson/Hill country fare brands. As far as a better skin, there is some improvement. I still need to improve my method to get me over the hump though. They are tasty, that's for sure. HEB owns Central Market and CM carries air chilled whole chickens, but they are about $18-20 a bird! This guy I know that works at CM cooking school says they taste more like chicken..:twitch:

jmoney7269
04-11-2013, 01:51 PM
Not side by side, but I notice they have less fat than Sanderson/Hill country fare brands. As far as a better skin, there is some improvement. I still need to improve my method to get me over the hump though. They are tasty, that's for sure. HEB owns Central Market and CM carries air chilled whole chickens, but they are about $18-20 a bird! This guy I know that works at CM cooking school says they taste more like chicken..:twitch:

What the heck, we already feedin them judges $50 briskets, what's a $18 bird? :becky:

JS-TX
04-11-2013, 02:11 PM
What the heck, we already feedin them judges $50 briskets, what's a $18 bird? :becky:

Yep, similar thoughts have crossed my mind.. :laugh:

QTEX
04-11-2013, 10:54 PM
Have done very well with both the heb and the sandersons, have not tried those high dolla's though.

QTEX
04-11-2013, 10:56 PM
Btw, Butterballs are the absolute best imo, Albertsons used to carry them, we havent had an Albertsons in about 10 yrs though.

JS-TX
04-12-2013, 07:46 AM
Btw, Butterballs are the absolute best imo, Albertsons used to carry them, we havent had an Albertsons in about 10 yrs though.

Yea, HEB ran them out of town a long time ago too. What about really small butterball turkeys? :wink:

bruno994
04-12-2013, 07:54 AM
No Albertsons' around here either, it's either Wal-Mart or HEB or a few local stores like Market Basket (carries Tyson) or Brookshire Bros. (carries Pilgrims Pride).

jmoney7269
04-12-2013, 08:05 AM
I watched this movie the other day called "food inc." and all I can say is wow. It's crazy how they grow full grown chickens, and what they pump into our food. Anyways now I understand why chicken don't taste like chicken anymore if that makes sense. We grew our own and I do remember them just tasting better. Ongoing I notice how the Sanderson have such a large breast and the movie explained it. I like plump breasts on chickens because alot of judges like white meat better If its cooked right with alot of flavor.

JS-TX
04-12-2013, 09:03 AM
I find this interesting for comps. We all want/think chicken should taste like chicken, (same goes for beef and pork), however do you give the judges this natural tasting meat or give them what they are used to eating, which is probably ordinary chicken?

jmoney7269
04-12-2013, 09:13 AM
We really started doing better with KISS BBQ instead of all the elaborate junk! I vote Plain old fashioned BBQ. Definitely not butter boiled chicken thighs with the stickiest sauce in the world with green junk stuck to it :loco:

Smokey Bones
04-13-2013, 12:10 AM
So if we're looking for "chicken" flavored chicken, what's with all the injecting, infusing, butter/broth bath methods beyound trying to just keep moist?
Is there a method to get more "chicken-y" tasting chicken, or is it just moister?

And the better question is how to progress moist chicken to juicy squirt in your face chicken?