View Full Version : Help - chicken

07-07-2009, 02:15 PM
Hello, my name is KC Bobby and I hate chicken. :icon_pissed My hatred for chicken started with my very first competition.:mad: I started out brining chicken and all my turn ins were dry. :evil: Then I tried marinating chicken and the results were the same. :frown: I've even tried injecting and the darn thighs are still dry. :oops:

This year we're cooking them in a Country Smoker at about 300 til 160. Start them in butter with spray with AJ, then directly over the cooking surface and then brush a glaze over them.

Here's an outline to what we've done earlier this year:
________ 6:00 pm inject with commercial product
________ 7:00 am take out of baggie and pat dry – put on pan and back in refridge
________ 9:00 am season
Meat side up
Medium coat of rub

Skin side up
Sprinkle light coating of rub under skin
Straighten out skin
Med coat of rub

Put in pan skin side up with butter around each piece (back in refridge til ready for smoker)

____________ 9:30 start WH with Pecan pellets
____________ 10:00 on WH @ 300
____________ 10:20 turn pieces over and spray with apple juice (bottoms up)
____________ 10:25 sauce in smoker to warm
____________ 10:40 turn pieces over and spray with apple juice warm in smoker
____________ 11:05 out of pan and glaze with sauce on skin side
____________ 11:20 flip - glaze meat side up (bottoms up)
____________ 11:45 dust bottoms, flip and lightly glaze skin sides
____________ 11:50 very lightly dust with rub
____________ 11:51 arrange 2 rows of 3
____________ 12:00 turn in

Here's whats happening:
App scores - averaging a 41 of the possible 45 (top 5 judge overall scores)
Taste - averaging 38 of the 45
Tenderness - averaging 38 of the 45 again
Total score average - 155.8095

These are coming out very dry and doesn't taste all that well either. Don and I have discussed making taste and technique changes are are thinking of something like this:

________ 6:00 pm put in brine
________ 7:00 am take out of brine and pat dry – put on pan and back in refridge
________ 9:00 am season
Meat side up
Medium coat of rub

Skin side up
Sprinkle light coating of rub under skin
Straighten out skin and pin
Med coat of rub

____________ -0:30 start WH with Pecan pellets get up to 400* (to help mark skin)
____________ 0:00 on WH no pan, skin down for marks – turn down temp to 300* right away
____________ 0:10 put in butter pan (skin up)
____________ 0:30 turn pieces over and spray with apple juice (bottoms up)
____________ 0:35 put sauce pan in smoker to warm
____________ 0:50 out of butter and into sauce pan on skin side down (around 135-140* internal)
____________ 1:10 flip in sauce pan (check temp and change temp as needed)
____________ 1:30 very lightly dust with rub and take out of pan/direct grill to set sauce
____________ 1:35ish (at 152* internal) take off grill
____________ 1:40 arrange in box
____________ 12:00 turn in

Were thinking of switching rubs (less salty), change from an injection to a brine and go from directly on the grate after the butter bath to a sauce bath and just back onto the cooking grate for the last few minutes to set the sauce.

For those of you who use the butter pan technique, would you provide the temps you use to turn over in the butter and take out of the butter? This is going to be a trial and error process but we're wondering if less time over direct flame and more time in moisture will help.

Any thoughts from the experienced competitors who are familiar with these or similar techniques and ideas would be most helpful. Or if it's easier to just list your steps and timeframe ...:biggrin:

07-07-2009, 03:31 PM
Bob, I don't think you have a bad method going there. In my opinion, I would turn the heat down even more than 300. It's only on for an hour before you put it in sauce? Leave it go a little longer to get some smoke into it.

P.S. We've been fighting dry chicken this year too. Maybe its the chicken?..

07-07-2009, 03:49 PM
Here is a big problem:

____________ 1:40 arrange in box
____________ 12:00 turn in

That is 10 hours and 20 minutes. Anthing would dry out by then! :biggrin:

07-07-2009, 05:44 PM

There are lots of places you can get ideas for cooking chicken - the best that I know of is The Pickled Pig's site. We don't use the same method as Lee does but reading his information gave us a lot of ideas to try on our own chicken.

One thing that I have found is that putting rub under the skin is not a good idea. It sounds like it would be a good way to get the rub flavor to the meat but here is what I think happens - the rub mixes with the fat that is under the skin and it turns to mush - and tastes like mud! You might try your method without putting the rub under the skin and see how it works.

Your mileage may vary.

07-07-2009, 08:28 PM
I used to have a problem with chicken, but I have been saved.

07-07-2009, 08:44 PM
I took a first in chicken earlier this year. This is what I did, I know it is simple, but I have the trophy to show.

1) Marinate chicken thighs in Mojo as early as possible.
2) Apply rub on bottom, under skin and on skin
3) Smoke @ 225 for 2 hours
5) Finish on indirect grill @375
6) apply finish sauce at 147-150 degrees
7) pull at 155 degrees
8) box up

07-07-2009, 09:29 PM
That's why I make Vern do the chicken! He got 6th last time out. I agree with Meathead, no rub under the skin.

Smoke'n Ice
07-07-2009, 09:40 PM
After our first contest when we were 100 out of 132 starting using the following:
Brine in Kosher salt, suger, msg and water for at least two hours
place on 300 degree indirect heat bone side down for 20 minutes to set shape flip and
place on 300 degree indirect heat skin side down for 15 minutes and apply sauce flip and
place on 300 degree indirect heat bone side down and sauce skin side
cook until internal reaches 155 to 160
remove sort, select, place in box and touch up.
We are currently 28th in chicken on the PP List using this technique. No 1st but some decent finishes.

07-08-2009, 08:22 AM
Try injecting right before cooking.

Big Mike's BBQ
07-08-2009, 01:44 PM
What are you using to inject with? (rhetorical question) if it is thin it will not stay in the chicken while cooking. Also are you actually getting the injection in the meat? I know this sounds stupid but it is easy to inject next to the bone and not in the thick of the meat. I have cooked chicken to 170 in the breast before and had it juicy. Also if you are using and indirect heat why are you flipping so much. I cook my chicken on the bottom rack of the backwoods and never turn it. I think it looks better than having those grate marks on them. Also if you do not like the taste of the chicken try different rubs and sauces. I know the original question was the dryness of your thighs (sorry could not resist).

07-08-2009, 03:23 PM
BWS brethren to another: trim them thighs.

Fat Woody
07-08-2009, 05:04 PM
What Mr. Meathead said! We had never gotten a call before I watched Paul Ostrom of the Pickled Pig's very detailed chicken tutorial. Next time out we took an eighth in Chicken at Osage City (THANKS Paul!).

Hard to believe it takes that much work (and somehow it doesn't quite really seem like BBQ to me) but that's how folks is winnin' and you can't argue with that!

07-09-2009, 10:13 AM
Bob, Sounds like your doing the pickled pig method. I have tried the braising in butter and my problem with that is your basically cooking it before you smoke it. Braising comes out fine, but dont expect alot of smoke. You also need to get your temp up on the meat 152-160 is to low for Thighs.

07-09-2009, 10:54 AM
Jay, too low? Doesn't the thigh dry out after taking it above 160? I've heard from a few different cooks that do well with thighs to keep the final temp low.

07-09-2009, 02:40 PM
I thought the juices wont run clear unil 165

Smoke'n Ice
07-09-2009, 03:05 PM
I take my thighs to 155-160 and probe. If at temp pull from pit and arrange before plating. Usually finish top ten except first time this year 100 out of 132 when I over cooked them.

They will continue to cook a little after removal and juices run clear. I cut a large non-turnin piece with enough time to continue cooking if a problem exists.


07-09-2009, 05:45 PM
I'm about ready to head home for a chicken practice cook. Put the thighs in brine this morning before leaving for work.

Wish me luck.