View Full Version : Comp Chicken

05-21-2013, 07:54 AM
I love preparing chicken for a competition. :doh: I do what a lot of others do, I think, and remove the skin, scrape the fat, etc... The last contest we did I prepared the chicken at home before leaving town. This made life easier once I was on-site and plan on preparing my chicken at home from now on.

When I prepared my chicken and got the skin back on the thighs, I placed the pieces in a Pyrex dish, covered it with plastic wrap, and placed it in the fridge. I did all of this the evening before I left for the competition, so total refrigeration time was about 36 hours.

This is the first time I've ever prepared chicken at home prior to cooking it at a competition, so I was not real sure what to expect. I know I should have done a few test runs at home before the comp..... Once cooked, my chicken was good, but not nearly good enough and I knew this at first bite. It had the flavor, but the chicken was dry around the edges. Next to the bone, nice and moist.

After thinking about it, I'm wondering if by preparing the chicken at home, removing the fat, then sitting in the fridge for that amount of time, if the chicken is not just drying out from the time I remove it from the package.

So my question is, because I know I'm not the only one preparing chicken at home, how do you keep the thighs, and skins, from drying out? There are a few products out there I can think of that would probably keep it from drying, such as olive oil, but it seems to me that these products would be considered a seasoning.

I do not brine my chicken, but I'm not opposed to it. Could a brine rehydrate the meat?

05-21-2013, 07:57 AM
I prep at home and then freeze. Take out top thaw on Friday morning. I think sitting in the fridge for 36 hours would cause the edges to dry unless vacum sealed or something similar. Keith

05-21-2013, 08:13 AM
I typically prep on Wed's nights. I then vac seal. No problems with being dry.

New Pal Frank
05-21-2013, 08:22 AM
I buy my chicken on Tuesday of the comp week and take it home and prep it right away with a couple Bud Lights. (they are for me, not the chicken)

When done making a nasty mess of the kitchen. I place thm back in clean foam tray, wrap with plastic wrap then Suck and Seal them with my Food Saver.

Have had no problems. Just keep good and cold in the fridge.

Balls Casten
05-21-2013, 09:20 AM
Much like aging beef, your home fridge is not a great place to pull this off.
Get the chicken in a ziploc if you can not vac-seal. Also pack in ice in a cooler if you have a busy fridge.

05-21-2013, 09:59 AM
I didn't know you were allowed to prep chicken at home. Is it just marinading you're not allowed to do, or prep butts and brisket and such?

05-21-2013, 10:03 AM
I didn't know you were allowed to prep chicken at home. Is it just marinading you're not allowed to do, or prep butts and brisket and such?

Just no seasoning or marinating. You can prep however you want (KCBS, anyway).

05-21-2013, 10:17 AM
I buy the chicken and prep it Wednesday night. I put it in a ziplock until Friday and then add the brine to the bag ASAP on Friday.

05-21-2013, 10:29 AM
I trim them on Monday/Tuesday and freeze them in a ziplock. Or if I have an off weekend between contests, I will trim them then and freeze them. I think if you put them in a ziplock or vac sealed them that you should have no problem.

05-21-2013, 11:02 AM
I trim chicken on Wed. night before a comp. I do not remove the skin and scrape and I get bite through every time. After trimmming I place in a ziplock bag and into the fridge until I leave for the comp. I do not brine my chicken either.

They could be drying out from your cooking method and not your trimming method...

John Bowen
05-21-2013, 11:29 AM
I buy and prep on Wednesday before the comp and vac seal. I keep them in the back of the fridge against the wall. When I started doing this my stress levels dropped to near nothing at comps - I even got some sleep.

I had not thought about freezing - thought it would make the chicken rubberey.

Alexa RnQ
05-21-2013, 11:56 AM
We're all in favor of pretrimming chicken at home. We did it in the field for years, when life was just too busy in the week before the contest, but given the choice of having it in a clean, controlled environment, I'll vote for home every time. We also vacuum-seal the pieces once trimmed.

Badlands BBQ
05-21-2013, 12:24 PM

Vacuum sealing is the ticket...

Good luck...

05-21-2013, 04:42 PM
I don't think I would re-freeze previously frozen chicken. I start with fresh and then freeze those. I am a one person team most of the time so I have to roll in with everything pretty much trimmed and ready to go. Hence the chicken trimming on Mon/Tues.

05-21-2013, 08:17 PM
Thanks everyone for the replies. Good info here.

One thing I would like to recommend to some folks is an Engel fridge/freezer. I use one of these for comps. If you don't know what an Engel is, here is a link to some good friends of mines website talking about the Engels.

Don't let the price scare you. I promise you it's worth every single penny!

I have the Engel 35 quart. I bought it new in 2002 and have never had a flicker of trouble out of it. In fact, the thing ran for about 3 years continuous. There is only one moving part on a swing motor, so it's pretty reliable. And it will freeze! I've gotten it down to -13 before. I bought this to use in my truck when was traveling to off-road parks on a regular basis. The 35 worked great for that application, but now I'd like a littler bigger one.

The reason I bring this up is because it works well for competition BBQ. It has both a AC and DC power cord, so you can store your goodies in the Engel at home while packing, then move it to your car when you're ready to go. With the 12v plug, it will maintain your desired temp for about 2-days on a car battery without killing the battery. It only pulls something like .5 amps.

But the Engel is what I store my chicken in after trimming. It sits out of the way and stays closed.

Other companies make a similar product, such as ARB. The Engel and ARB share the same swing motor. I'm not sure about other brands.

I about got killed when the wife saw the purchase on the credit card. Even in 2002 the price was just shy of $800. But after a few trips to the grocery store, the wife was hooked. Ice Cream in the Engel allows you time to make other stops on the way home. Soon after, we had two Engels, one in her car 24/7 and mine. Then we got a divorce so I lost one. It was worth it.

Anyway, thought I'd toss that out there.

05-21-2013, 08:22 PM
I had no idea at all you were allowed to prep any of the meats at home. I just assumed it had to be done on site. Man, that makes things much much easier.

05-22-2013, 05:07 AM
never use frozen chicken for a comp..just my feelings

05-22-2013, 07:22 AM
I initially was under the impression that I had to prep my chicken onsite to get a call as far as freshness matters. Of course doing chicken prep onsite is alot of work and much easier at home. Our last contest I decided to just prep at home. bought the thighs thursday afternoon and trimmed them and Vacu sealed them and into the fridge. they were cooked saturday morning for turn ins and 1st place. I will never prep chicken onsite again

05-22-2013, 07:56 AM
I buy chicken on Tuesday (fresh), trim, vacu seal & freeze until Friday morning. Move from freezer to cooler to thaw on the way to the comp. As long as you don't season, marinade or brine, trimming before a comp is much easier than on-site.