View Full Version : Competition Chicken: Advise and Guidance Needed

Evergreen Smoker
08-26-2013, 11:43 AM
I recently competed in my first KCBS event and got crushed on chicken. I did cupcake chicken..... removed skin and scraped them( what a whip) and cut off the knuckles. Cooked in mixture of chicken broth and butter in silicone muffin tin and finished out of the tin to get color. I overcooked them trying to get a 180 internal temp....should've trusted my touch and clear juice. My scores were:
887, 787, 797, 767, 888, 767


I would love to hear successful approaches to chicken for competition because I don't want to repeat the results from the last performance. Even if I cooked it perfectly, my appearance score wasn't good w/cupcakes.

Thanks in advance brethren!!!

08-26-2013, 12:08 PM
First, 180 IT is too high for thighs. I cook mine to 165. You need to find a way to make the sauce less goopy and add some shine to it. Personally I do not like chicken that looks like meatballs.

08-26-2013, 12:12 PM
If you cooked to 180 then your chicken was likely dry, all you need is 165. Also, although some may still do it, round chicken in general seems to be a fad that has come and gone. You might want to try out rectangles. Good luck

08-26-2013, 12:13 PM
Sorry Teamfour, must have hit "submit" at the same time. Great minds think alike!

08-26-2013, 12:18 PM
Not sure how you applied the sauce but dunking then fully in sauce helps to make a nice even coating. I used to brush, but after my first attempt at dunking I never looked back. I don't think 180 is too high for thighs in general, but for thighs that small I think it can be too high. I don't know exactly why, but when I did round muffin pan chicken they were trimmed about that size and I shot for 165.

Also if they are that small try and get 9 in a box because 9 look awesome. Judges are used to seeing 6 and most of the time that is all you can fit, but if you want to keep that size put 9 in there.

dr pearl
08-26-2013, 12:21 PM
Seems more natural looking, yet nicely trimmed is more popular these days. Try margarine instead of butter. Butter can be strong and very distinctive. Try brining beforehand or injecting for getting max punch of flavor in there. Nothing so wrong with going to the higher internal temp if you want to try wrapping the chicken which will braise the chicken. Dries out in the straight up heat. Thin out the sauce a bit with something that will complement or enhance a certain flavor profile you want. Don't forget, you are cooking for the masses, not your best friends. Have fun!

08-26-2013, 01:07 PM
We need to find a sanctioning body that doesn't cook chicken!!!!

Jacked UP BBQ
08-26-2013, 01:28 PM
I would give you my input, but with my chicken results lately, I have no right!

Kave Dweller
08-26-2013, 01:36 PM
We need to find a sanctioning body that doesn't cook chicken!!!!

Its basically a vegetable to me, so I agree, not needed in competition.

08-26-2013, 02:04 PM
My vote is for keeping the chicken category but tweaking the chicken box size to allow us to turn in half-chickens. No more BS thigh prep, just hack a few whole chickens in half and throw them on the smoker. It is a better test of skill and is how chicken is served in BBQ joints across the country. The box could be a full size aluminum pan with a lid.

Sorry for the hi-jack evergreen!

08-26-2013, 02:06 PM
We need to find a sanctioning body that doesn't cook chicken!!!!

South Carolina BBQ Association:clap:

08-26-2013, 02:16 PM
Damn.. hungry for speghetti again!.. I like my chicken to look and taste like chicken.

John Bowen
08-26-2013, 02:25 PM
From what I see of your box posted IMHO most of your issues are very fixable. For a first time out I feel you did very well. What I would fix:

· Tighten up your parsley and make the color more uniform – make all the chicken as symmetrical as possible.
· Pull chicken before 165 and consider that it will rise in temp as it rests.
· Smooth out your sauce and dunk your thighs for a cleaner coating.
· Consider putting another row of thighs in to make it a fuller looking box.

I am not expert in this area but you can at least rise your score in presentation and give your technique and flavor profile another chance since the consensus is you over cooked your chicken.

Evergreen Smoker
08-26-2013, 03:08 PM

Thank you all for your feedback......although the spaghetti and meatball comments were a little hurtful :sad: Kidding. I'm glad to hear that ya'll think cupcake chicken is out of date....I wasn't the biggest fan either, but I'm the newbie trying to figure it all out. Two questions:

1. Do you all remove and scrape the fat off the skin or can you go unscraped and still get good results and bite thru skin?
2. Has anyone submitted something other than thighs with a high success rate? Perhaps breast slices along w/small drums?

Thanks again for your help and support!!!

08-26-2013, 03:20 PM
Short answer is 1) you can get bite thru skin multiple ways. I would go into it but you might want to use the search tool at the bottom of the page, there are multiple threads on bite thru, read and test what works for you. 2) Yes, teams have success with other cuts than thighs, although breast meat can be challenging. I would stay away from white meat until you have a comfort level with dark meat.

Also- Google "BBQ Critic" and check out the website.

08-26-2013, 03:22 PM
1. You can get bite through skin without scraping by braising.
2. Breast meat dries out to easily.

08-26-2013, 10:40 PM
I'm going to go against the consensus and say that a 180 degree thigh is not necessarily overcooked. A breast is best at 160ish, but a thigh can take some heat, depending on your method.

08-27-2013, 07:01 AM
I'm going to go against the consensus and say that a 180 degree thigh is not necessarily overcooked. A breast is best at 160ish, but a thigh can take some heat, depending on your method.

I agree. I checked temp on my thighs one time and it was well over 180, but the thighs were not overcooked. In fact they were very juicy and took 1st at the Burlington KS contest in 2010.