Having only competed in amateur competitions I have never had to do competition chicken. Since the Fatty Mac competition team intends to play with the big boys next year I thought it might be a good idea to use the off season to get in some practice. I used the Pickled Pig's guide as my inspiration.
The whole process as described on the Pickled Pig site can be found HERE
I was already a bit into the process before I decided that I should document my procedures. Just as described in the Pickled Pig guide I started with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. I removed the skin and cut out the bones and any cartilage. I left as much fat on the thighs as possible on the assumption this would add flavor to the chicken later on and would have plenty of time to render out.
After all that here is what I ended up with:
You can see all the "waste", however I intend to keep all of the waste from this and subsequent practice sessions and make a killer chicken soup.
Next up we scrapped down the reserved chicken skin:
As you can see there was quite a bit of fat on the skin. I would estimate that there was about 1/4 cup of fat from just 4 thighs. You can imagine how much there would be from 16 or so for a competition.
The thighs formed and seasoned before adding the skin:
I was very aggressive with the seasoning and I think it was too much as the end product was a little salty.
Here we have the thighs with the skin's back on and more seasoning on the outside:
Now up here in Canuckistan we don't have the competitors dirty little secret in the blue squeeze bottle. As a substitute I used some ghee, which is clarified butter.
I figured this would have to give that rich buttery taste since it is butter! A thought occurred to me that it might worth keeping the left over fat and any fat that would render out of the trimmings if you boiled them and using that fat for the brazing process, a double down on chicken flavor.
Since this was my first attempt I decided to use my Treager so that I could dial in the temp. I had the unit dialed in at 275F for the entire cook. First up was the braise in the ghee that had melted while the Treager was coming up to temperature.
The thighs were braised in the ghee for about 30 minutes.
Next the thighs spent about 15 minutes with the skin seam down and then about 15 minutes with the skin seam up so that we could get a little more color on the top of the thigh for a nicer presentation.
Now after all that work we come to the end, a finish with a guava based sauce that I have been working on.
Not too bad for a first time out if I do say so my self.
and I do!